Oleg Vassiliev - Important Contemporary Russian Art–Property from a Foundation London Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, Phyllis Kind Gallery, 1995

  • Catalogue Essay

    Almost all of the many portraits of Kira, the artist's wife – even in the best years while they were still in Russia and before the onset of her serious illness – are always filled with a presentiment of future loss. And even among them, Where are you? seems to be particularly dramatic. Protecting himself from the almost inevitable sentimentality in such plots, Vassiliev establishes a distance by foregrounding the resolution of the entirely formal task: the investigation of the mutual interaction between space and the object permits him to combine the past and the future without strain, to signify almost physically the distance that separates the artist and his model. "Through the work of memory, light comes from the past and delineates, illuminates from the gloom, that which does not belong to the moment, that will live not of time and space, that which is always close – all you have to do is extend your hand. The event happens so suddenly and quickly, that often it is possible not to notice how the heart misses a beat and the soul stands still." (Oleg Vassiliev, Memory Speaks, Moscow, p. 88). The iridescent wave of light bathing, surrounding the image transforms the space into a symbolic, lofty place where miraculous encounters happen that are then followed by inevitable partings. The figure, having stopped on the edge of the painting's plane, dressed in an old-fashioned dress, disappears in the rays of light and in time.
    Faina Balakhovskay


Where are you?

Oil on canvas.
101.1 x 75.8 cm. (39 7/8 x 29 3/4 in).
Signed and dated ‘O.Vassiliev 92 [in Cyrillic]’ lower right and signed, titled and dated ‘O.Vassiliev Where are you? 1992’ on the reverse.

£60,000 - 80,000 ‡♠

Sold for £162,500

Important Contemporary Russian Art–Property from a Foundation

28 Feb 2008, 6pm