Lot 47
  • 47

Vadim Zakharov, b.1959

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Vadim Zakharov
  • G.5.
  • signed in Cyrillic, titled in Latin and dated 1987 on reverse

  • oil on canvas
  • each canvas 200 by 150cm., 78¾ by 59in.


Sotheby's Moscow, Modern and Contemporary Russian Art, 7 July 1988, Lot 116;

Hapsburg, Feldman, Inc., New York, Soviet Contemporary Art: The Property of the Kniga Collection, Paris, 5 May 1990, Lot 116



Eric A. Peschler, K√ľnstler in Moskau, Die Neue Avant-garde, Schaffhausen, 1988, p.193 (illustrated)



Catalogue Note

The translation of the Russian is as follows:

''You, one-eyed creature! You ugly brute! I curse your vulgar hypocrisy''

LABO possibly an abbreviation for laboratory

This painting was originally sold in Sotheby's sale of Russian Avant-Garde and Soviet Contemporary Art held in Moscow in 1988.  Vadim Zakharov introduced his paintings in the catalogue with the line: ''When you speak too often of one thing only, you begin to realise the absurdity of what is spoken about and of what is passed over in silence''.  This is a theme addressed time and again in the harsh slogans included in his early works.  The use of the written word in art was popularised by the Moscow Conceptualists from the circle of Ilya Kabakov and Vladimir Sorokin in the 1980s. 

Zakharov has since worked using almost every artistic medium including: painting, photography, and video to book art, performance, and installation.  His dark sense of humour pervades all of his work and he takes on many personas for the process of their creation.  The persona identified with this work and other similar paintings from the 1980s is that of the one-eyed author. Others include the dwarf, the owner of the Madame Schlyuz ballet school and most recently Foolish Pastor Zond from Cologne, who unwisely attempts gets in a fight with a Japanese Sumo-wrestler dressed in a cassock.

Zakharov addresses the application of humour in his art in an interview in 2006:

''If an artist has a sense of humour, in the first place he's understandable and in the second he retains a certain distance to himself. All my artist friends from the Moscow Conceptualist School have a good sense of humour, but producing humorous pieces isn't our main objective. It's the inclusion of different or strange points of view that brings in the humour. Humour is a door opener, but underneath it all there are levels that even I don't understand. It's impossible to open all the doors. For me, it's very important to acknowledge that fact and to keep certain territories that I don't understand closed - I really cultivate this. I just leave those areas untouched and integrate them into my work. This is something I would call the ''conceptual unconscious.''