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 Erik Bulatov


Born:   September 5, 1933

Artist

      

‘Painting is my fulcrum, I can turn the world around with it; painting is my interlocutor helping me find answers’, - Erik Bulatov says in the documentary film timed to his current retrospective exhibition ‘Here’.

Russian artist Erik Bulatov is one of the leaders of Moscow non-conformist art. Combining traditions of Vladimir Favorsky and modern avant-gardism he has created his own style peculiar for blending Sots-art elements with subtle spatial play. His paintings of the 1970s featuring enormous Soviet emblems and mottos against the background of landscape expanses remind of ideological placards, with propaganda slogans besieging any kind of space. As opposition to those hostile cliches imposed by ideology the artist uses ‘free’ poetic words to expand the space and imbue it with inmost meaning.

“I Go” by Eric Bulatov Erik Vladimirovich Bulatov was born in Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg) city on September 5, 1933. After moving to Moscow he studied at the Surikov Art Institute and upon graduation in 1958 the artist started to relearn and – not without the influence of R.R. Falk and V.A. Favorsky – develop steady independence from the official doctrine of social realism. From 1959 Bulatov worked as an illustrator of books for children. In Soviet times his gifted illustrations (usually created in co-authorship with Oleg Vasiliev) enjoyed great popularity.

Erik Bulatov’s original post-avant-garde style was developed by the late 1960s, through experimenting with a variety of modernist manners. The artist attains powerful social grotesque effects by bringing standard naturalistic landscapes and large poster symbols together.

Eric Bulatov Thus, in his canvass Horizon (1971–1972) a red strap of an order of honours is cutting off the sea expanses; and the inscription ‘Glory to the CPSU’ (1975) in the same name painting is blocking up the sky like the bars. By emphasizing the contrast of propaganda and reality Bulatov approaches to Sots-art; however he does not limit himself to satire but ponders upon the limits of art and reality in general. Gradually satire gives place to more of epic contemplation in his works.

Erik Bulatov had become well-known in the West by the late 1980s as an “artist of Perestroika”, started to live and work in New York in 1989 and moved to Paris in 1992.

“Horizon” by Eric Bulatov The exhibition “Here” recently opened in the Tretyakov Gallery in Krymsky Val allows to fill in the gap in perceiving the scope of Bulatov’s gift. It is the first in Russia and the largest ever retrospective exhibition of the classic of conceptual painting.

Three years ago Moscow hosted a personal exhibition of Erik Bulatov timed to his 70th jubilee. It strangely turned out to be the first personal exhibition of the artist in his homeland which he left in 1989. That exposition included graphics mainly.

The current exhibition presents around 150 paintings, drawings and illustrations brought together from 29 major European and American museums and private collections. The works have been provided by Le Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Ludwig Museum, Fondation Dina Verny-Musee Maillol, Zimmerli Art Museum, and others.

Poster of the exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery in Krymskiy Val At the exhibition one can see his early realistic paintings, experiments in abstraction, book illustrations, drawings and sketches, ‘the red series’ works (with red paint highlighting the borders between the dimensions of reality and art), the famous ‘word’ paintings, and crayon paintings. A catalogue about Bulatov, containing his own articles, as well as reproductions of most of his works has been published for the exhibition. The visitors can watch a short version of the recently shot documentary film with the artist’s intervew.

‘Here’, the most complete retrospective exhibition of Erik Bulatov, runs at the Tretyakov Gallery in Krymskiy Val till November 19, 2006.

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Vera Ivanova and Mikhail Manykin

Photo portraits of Eric Bulatov by Mikhail Mikhal’chuk.

Sources:

    www.krugosvet.ru     www.dic.academic.ru     www.artsalon.ru     www.ng.ru     www.tretyakovgallery.ru
 

 


Tags: Russian painters Erik Bulatov Russian art   








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