Erik Bulatov - BRIC Theme Sale London Friday, April 23, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist; Private Collection, Europe.

  • Exhibited

    Wilhelm-Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen, March- April 1995; Documenta, Kassel, May-June 1995; Museum Lindenau, Altenburg, July-September 1995; Manezeh Gallery, Moscow, December 1995-January 1996

  • Literature

    A. Erofeer & J-H. Martin, Kunst im Verborgenen: Nonkonformisten Russland 1957-1995, Munich & New York, 1995, p.88 (illustrated) 

  • Catalogue Essay

    Pyatigorsk is far away
    Khripanka Pekhorka Macedonka too but you can jump off any hill you want
    By the bridge past the pines as high as you want
    Moscow is cool it is super cool but too bad it is red
    But that is how it is as long as it is red the sun sets it sets but if it sets
    it rises too
    It sets and so it rises
    Way in no way in but no but no a way in.
    Vsevolod Nekrasov
    Erik Bulatov's practice is charged with constant awareness of his background and a deep understanding of the historical circumstances shaping contemporry Russia. Being an émigré (based since 1989 in New York , then Paris) has not dettered him from using his homeland as subject-matter, nor does it lessen the subconscious empathy his work arouses in the viewer.
    The present work, entitled Entrance - No Entrance (Vhod - Vhod Net) was painted by Bulatov in 1994-95 after a request from the Russian Ministry of Culture. The Painting is a repeat version of Entrance - No Entrance (Vhod - Vhod Net) from 1974-1975 which was aquired by the Centre Georges Pompidou. The emotive juxtaposition of the words 'Entrance' and ''No Entrance' edges the observer towards catharsis by urging a personal reminiscence of the past experiences. It reduces human existence to simple formulaic journey consisting only of ways in and no ways in -  a string of positive and negative outcomes. Its dynamic composition and bold red, blue and white palette echo the impact of propaganda posters such as those created by Rodchenko and Mayakovsky, giving the written message an emphasis that is impossible to ignore. The sharp diagonals and the blue of the word Vhod (Entrance) are blocked by the horizontal of Vhoda Net (No Entrance), Creating a visual frustration at the inability to see beyond the phrase. As with Bulatov's other works, it demonstrates the artist's power to visualize the wall-like grid that can be created by the subconscious blockages, restraints and difficulties experienced in our lives. The three-dimensional effect created by the text and the use of perspective can be compared to Lucio Fontana's Attese canvases, Whose cut surfaces lead the viewers' gaze beyond the flatness of the picture plane and at the same time emphasize its boundries.
    "This work [the original painting from 1974-75] was decisive in shaping the artist's ideas, as it forced him to solve the problrm of space and flatness...The final mwaning of the phrase 'No Entrance' is that entrance is prohbited, yet it is placed in such a way that the end of the first word ('da' or 'yes') appears in the centre of the composition, which completely contradicts the prohibitory phrase. Free will, wishes and dreams are set in opposition to the omnipresent ban. A similar meaning can be found in one of Bulatov's most beautiful works, the 1975 painting I'm coming. The word is written as inner subjectivity. The white letters soar into a gloriously blue clouded sky."
    (B. Lorquin, 'Erik Bulatov: A Genealogy', Erik Bulatov, Moscow, 2006)
    One of Bulatov's main sources for inspiration was the poetry of Vsevolod Nekrasov, Whose poems have been described as visual and minimalist, with words in a carefully arranged pattern and often graphic elements. When discussing his work, Bulatov states: 'My goal is to represent our life in the ways that my eyes see it, not trying to interpret it in a specific way. As Vsevolod Nekrasov put it: 'Although I do not want it, do not seek it, I live and see...' To find an image for this life, to give it a name - that's what I see as my goal. Because in order to be freed from something, you need to call it by its name. And that name must be true, and not one that you would like to call it. So that everyone who lives now and in this place could say - yes, this is my life. And if it's liked or not - that's one's own affair' (translated from E. Bulatov, 'Of Painting and the Self', Iskusstvo, July/August 2003).


Entrance - No Entrance

1994 - 95
Oil on canvas.
180 x 180 cm (70 7/8 x 70 7/8 in)
Signed, titled in Cyrillic and dated 'Bulatov 95 ENTRANCE - NO ENTRANCE' on the reverse.

£350,000 - 450,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £713,250

BRIC Theme Sale

23-24 April 2010