Komar and Melamid - Contemporary Art London Thursday, June 21, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc., New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, March 19 – May 27, 1987; and Fairfield County, Equitable Center, September 4 – November 4, 1987, Contemporary Diptychs: Divided Visions

  • Literature

    C. Ratcliff, Komar and Melamid, New York, 1988, p. 12 (illustrated) and p. 156

  • Catalogue Essay

    Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid were the founding artists of Sots Art
    a term coined from Soviet Realism and Pop Art), which was the first original movement to have emerged out of Russia in the late 1970’s. The artists of Sots Art were interested in ideology, mythology and political iconography in order to destroy the official imagery of Socialist Realism.
    The Anarchistic Synthesis series, painted in 1985-1986, were a deepening of Komar and Melamid’s work from 1984. Juxtaposing several panels in order to present different styles of painting from the East and West, the artists defined a new style in the satirical humor inherit to their work. “The right-hand panel of The Blue Cup shows Lenin dropping the eponymous piece of cockery, a freeze-frame in the artists’ dark manner. At left the cup has dissolved to a spot of blue in a field of paint splashed onto a crumpled tarpaulin – a mock – Abstract Expressionist canvas. The multipaneled paintings of 1984-1985 had often juxtaposed a Western avantgarde style with Socialist Realist propriety. The Blue Cup reenacts that clash, at a monumental scale and in slow motion. The 1985-1986 season was one of comparative calm. As Komar and Melamid grew more deliberate, the bitterness of their humor deepened and jokes gave way to grandeur – mocking, to be sure, but grandeur nonetheless.” (C. Ratcliff, In Our Art, There is Maybe Too Much, NewYork, 1988, p. 156-157).


The Blue Cup

1985 - 1986
Diptych: oil, acrylic and pigment on canvas and oil on panel.
Left: 60 x 36 x 3 1/8 in. (152.4 x 91.4 x 8 cm); Right: 60 x 31 7/8 x 1 1/2 in. (152.4 x 80.9 x 4 cm).
Signed “Komar & Melamid” twice on the reverse and again along the right edge of left panel.

£50,000 - 70,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £156,000

Contemporary Art

22 June 2007, 4pm & 5pm