318

Details & Cataloguing

Art of the Soviet Union

|
London

Vitaly Komar
B.1943
NICHE SURROUNDING A DRUNKEN MAN
signed in Cyrillic and dated 1971 l.r.; further signed, titled and dated 1967 on the reverse
oil on canvas laid on board
59 by 50cm, 23 1/4 by 19 3/4 in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Catalogue Note

Painted in the year when Vitaly Komar began his famous collaboration with Alexander Melamid, the present image of a young man trapped in a niche, alone with a bottle and glass, is a haunting depiction of the claustrophobia of a regime which drove so many to excessive drinking and early graves. 'The white figure in this painting is the soul', explained the artist, 'crying out' against the oppressive Soviet surrounding represented here by the ubiquitous scarlet colour. 'Alcoholic protest was a form of non-conformism' and this painting is a tribute to the large number of artists and musicians from his immediate circle who did not survive. The work is closely related to a series of conceptual paintings Komar showed in the 1967 group exhibition, Retrospectivism, at the bohemian Blue Bird Cafe in Moscow. 

Art of the Soviet Union

|
London