139
139

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, SWITZERLAND

Grisha Bruskin
MOONLIGHT
JUMP TO LOT
139

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, SWITZERLAND

Grisha Bruskin
MOONLIGHT
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Russian Pictures

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Grisha Bruskin
B.1945
MOONLIGHT
signed in Cyrillic l.r.; further signed, titled and dated 1982 on the reverse and bearing an exhibition label on the stretcher
oil on canvas
140 by 97cm, 55 by 38 1/4 in.
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Provenance

Acquired directly from the artist

Exhibited

Bern, Kunstmuseum Bern, Ich Lebe - Ich Sehe: Künstler der Achtziger Jahre in Moskau, 11 June - 14 August 1988
Bern, Kunstmuseum Bern, Avantgarde im Untergrund. Russische Nonkonformisten aus der Sammlung Bar-Gera, 3 February - 24 April 2005

Literature

Grisha Bruskin. Life is Everywhere, St Petersburg: Palace Editions, 2001, p.11, no.5 illustrated

Catalogue Note

Executed in 1982, Moonlight belongs to the body of work dating to the early 1980s which also includes Monuments, Monuments 2 and Partner, among others, some of which were sold at the 1988 Sotheby’s auction in Moscow, which brought Bruskin’s name to international attention.

Alongside Judaism, the mythology of the Soviet State is the other major theme of Bruskin’s work. Like any repressive political regime relying on ideology or the personality cult of its leaders, the Soviet regime erected countless statues and monuments in the public spaces of its villages, towns and cities. Growing up in the Soviet Union, Bruskin would have seen ubiquitous statues of Lenin and other political leaders and revolutionaries, as well as of workers, farmers and sportsmen, often mass-produced in cheap materials. By 1982, the year Brezhnev died, the Soviet Union had entered a phase of stagnation and the disjunction between the ideology of the Soviet State and the everyday reality experienced by its citizens had become obvious. As Alexander Borovsky points out, ‘the material with which Sots Art was dealing was already no longer an ideology in the classical sense of the word, but a certain conventional cynical position: a fully enlightened, reflexive false consciousness which, satisfied with ritual pseudo-sacrifices, had no pretensions whatsoever to being seen as the sole truth.’ (A.Borovsky, ‘Towards Bruskin’, in: Grisha Bruskin. Life is Everywhere, 2001, p.131)

In the present work, the two dancing figures have the same empty gazes as Bruskin’s sculptures from his Birth of a Hero series (1987-1990), each an architype of Soviet ideology holding symbols of the Soviet state. Like a monument brought to life, the couple, staring into the distance without emotion, appears to be dancing off their pedestal, about to fall into the abyss.

Russian Pictures

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