IN MEMORY OF MALEVICH
signed in Latin and dated 2000 on the side of the coffin and the base of the Perspex box
oil and plaster on wood, papier-mâché, toy truck and Perspex box
Height: 14in., 35.5cm; length: 22in., 56cm; depth: 8in., 20.5cm
The wood and paint layer have split in places and there are some minor losses. There is a layer of surface dirt and scratches.
There are scratches and glue stains to the Perspex box. The edges of the base are uneven.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York
One of the unintended consequences of the unofficial ban on Russian avant-garde art by the Soviet censor was the mythologizing of Kazimir Malevich of his Infamous Black Square by the artists of the so-called Second Avant-Garde. By the 1980s however this reverential regard inevitably gave way to something more wry, particularly amongst the Sots-artists who attempted to pull the rug out from underneath. ‘For the generation emerging in the 1980s, the ‘Malevich complex’ was not so fraught. ‘Dethroning the idol’ was more like a fun contest in which the participants attempt to neutralise the enemy and employ him or her to their own ends’ (I.Karasik, The Adventures of the Black Square, St Petersburg: Palace Editions, 2007).
Sokov’s usual subject was Soviet symbols and ideology but here the same treatment is applied to Malevich’s po-faced Suprematism. The solemn pomp of Malevich’s Suprematist funeral with his Architekton sarcophagus and the crowd of mourners waving black square flags was not that far off Lenin’s state funeral. Sokov recreates this scene with roughly-painted papier-mâché figures and a child’s toy truck, topped with a crude approximation of his coffin, recasting ideology as folklore.