Lot 116
  • 116

Arsen Savadov, b.1962

4,500 - 6,500 GBP
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  • Arsen Savadov
  • from the donbass chocolate project
  • executed in 2005, number 3 of 7
  • c-type colour print, mounted on aluminium, front-mounted on plexiglass 
  • 184.5 by 123cm., 71¾ by 47¾in.


Paris, Galerie Orel, 18 September  - 1 November 2003

Catalogue Note

The one-hundred photographs which comprise the Donbass Chocolate project (1998) form part of the much larger Deepinsider series, which synthesises and at the same time destroys the fundamental Soviet myths surrounding miners and ballet dancers.

Soviet propaganda equated miners to heroes. However, with the break up of the Soviet Union, they suffered great poverty and, in a cruel twist of fate, became one of the most poignant symbols of the failure of Communism. Similarly ballet, considered the leading example of Classical Russian culture, was woefully neglected in the mid 1990s, forcing many dancers to emigrate to the West. The brutal expression of the absurd, brought by the loss of social and individual identity, became the basis of the Donbass Chocolate project.

Savadov presents his subjects grimy and naked, trapped in the claustrophobic confines of their underground prison. The viewer is encouraged to come to his own disturbing conclusions about this grotesque subterranean culture, where the original stalwarts of Socialist society roll around the floor of filthy mineshafts in ill-fitting tutus.

But Savadov sees an additional, more personal resonance in the subjects of his art, ''Miners symbolise a huge tragedy. And never-the-less, this is the only social group whose power was equal to that of artists.''