Lot 57
  • 57

Igor Makarevich, b.1943

15,000 - 20,000 GBP
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  • Igor Makarevich
  • I love ussr
  • signed in Cyrillic on reverse, titled in Latin and dated 1989 with measurements
  • mixed media on board
  • 89.5 by 69.5cm., 35¼ by 27¼in.


Levallois, La Base au Pays des Soviets, Centre d'art Contemporain, Paris, 8 August - 7 September 1991


R. Baigell and M. Baigell, 'Igor Makarevich', Soviet Dissident Artists: Interviews after Perestroika, New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1995, pp.285-93
M. Cullerne Bown, Contemporary Russian Art, New York: Allied Books and Phaidon Press Limited, 1989, pp.117-18
A. Monastyrsky, 'I. Makarevich', A-Ya (Unofficial Russian Art Review), 1981, no.3, pp.31-34
M. Tupitsyn, Margins of Soviet Art: Socialist Realism to the Present, Milan: Giancarlo Politi Editore, 1989, p.135 and pp.137-138

Catalogue Note

Igor Makarevich is one of the major Moscow conceptual artists, creating objects, installations, and photographs. Until 1951, Makarevich lived in Tbilisi, Georgia, and then moved to Moscow, where he attended the Secondary Art School. In 1968, he graduated from the Art Department at the Moscow Institute of Cinematography. Like many artists of the Moscow underground, he made his living illustrating books and creating theater designs. He was not able to exhibit his artworks until the mid-1970s, when he showed his works at Exhibitions, a club for sculptors. He was allowed to show his experimental works there only because the club was supervised by a liberal unit of the Union of Soviet Artists headed by the conceptual poet Dmitrii Prigov. In 1978, Makarevich became a member of the Collective Actions group (1976-89) and took part in their performances, while also creating hyperrealist paintings and working in photography. The artist has stated that his work never carried any overtly dissident message.

Makarevich figures among the founders of Moscow Conceptualism, which combined the Russian literary tradition with the image. Text often played the leading role in many of Makarevich's works, as can be seen in I Love USSR, a piece that abandons conventional forms of representation. As Makarevich explained: "Russian art has always been based on the word... Like many Russian artists, I am half writer and half artist." 

According to the artist, he produced I Love USSR in Paris in 1989. This was Makarevich's first trip to the West, a journey made during the era of perestroika, when there was greater opportunity for Soviet citizens to travel (both abroad and domestically) than during any other period of Soviet history. Makarevich was deeply impressed with Paris, and the city was a real "culture shock" to him. While there, the artist created a number of objects and small installations entitled I Love Paris. He also created the series USSR - The Safeguard of the World, which consisted of four works that included a slogan (whose text was the same as the series title) in both Russian and Hebrew as well as a depiction of a hammer and a sickle and a red star. The work I Love USSR is related to this series. It became Makarevich's nostalgic response to leaving (even if only briefly) his own country for Paris.