Eduard Gorokhovsky - Important Contemporary Russian Art–Property from a Foundation London Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Livet Reichard Company, Inc., New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, Phyllis Kind Gallery, 1989

  • Catalogue Essay

    This painting by Eduard Gorokhovsky presents a characteristic painterly montage by superimposition: a portrait of a 19th century lady is laid over the image of a Soviet demonstration.
    The portrait almost completely blocks out the demonstration in the background, but one can still see that its members include people whose chests are decked out with medals and combat ribbons. In a sense, Gorokhovsky's use of the traditional modernist method of collage is not synchronic but diachronic: like fragments of a puzzle, images are not placed next to one another as equals. Instead, they overlap in layers, canceling one another out as though seen over time. In this sense, historicity plays a central role, though it has been inverted, since the earlier image actually wins out in the end.
    This superimposition can be read in a number of ways. The pre¬revolutionary past is better than Soviet reality; the image of an individual human being deserves more attention than an image of the crowd. As an autonomous work of art, the traditional portrait contains far more moral truth than a picture with an ideological message; if it is really painting, and not propaganda, painting is far more noble than photography (the piece's ‘bottom layer,' the image of the demonstration has clearly been painted from a photograph.)
    Needless to say, Gorokhovsky shares all these positions. Yet despite his obvious distaste for the images of Soviet propaganda, his own paintings are also ideological statements, and quite passionate ones at that. Only their spirit is liberal and even openly anti-communist. His montage criticizes the superficiality and falseness of the Soviet ‘façade,' but this critique actually works by creating a façade of its own falsehoods. The medals and combat¬ribbons on the demonstrator's chests are no coincidence; much in the same way, Gorokhovsky's painting wears a ‘medal' of its own, albeit in the form of a classical portrait painting.
    The present painting contains yet another truth: in the end, both image planes are reproductions, postcards, little more than rectangular pieces of paper, and nobody really knows which of them contains more traces of reality. After all, Gorokhovsky painted the demonstration from a photograph, while his 19th century portrait is clearly a copy of a postcard reproduction. He has never set eyes upon the original in either case, and neither have we.
    Dr Ekaterina Degot



Oil on canvas.
100 x 80 cm. (39 3/8 x 31 1/2 in).
Signed ‘E.Gorokhovsky 81 [in Cyrillic]’ lower right.

£30,000 - 40,000 

Important Contemporary Russian Art–Property from a Foundation

28 Feb 2008, 6pm