The 1930s: A Triptych is a poignant memorial to this period of devastation and famine in Soviet history. Shukhaev may have evaded some of the earliest troubles of forced collectivization, having spent the first half of the 1930s traveling throughout France, Spain and Morocco, but shortly after his return to Russia he was sentenced to ten years in a labor camp in Magadan. The offered lot was then executed in the 1960s, representing the relaxed censorship of this period of the Krushchev Thaw.
In the form of a monumental triptych, its very format suggesting the significance of a religious icon, Shukhaev captures the fear and anguish that permeated the Russian countryside. Its outer panels depict peasants watching in distress as their farms are patrolled by Soviet guards, while its central panel depicts the aftermath of a village church's destruction. Large bells are strewn about in the snow in the foreground, evoking the carnage of a battleground, and another church is marked for demolition by a red Soviet flag in the background. All the while a propaganda poster at right underscores the government's foreboding and ever-watchful presence.
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