Vladimir Dubossarsky and Alexandre Vinogradov - The John L. Stewart Collection of Russian Contemporary Art London Friday, October 12, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Moscow Fine Art Gallery, Moscow

  • Exhibited

    Moscow Fine Art Gallery, The Project for the Russian Language Edition of Playboy Magazine, Dubossarsky & Vinogradov, 1996

  • Catalogue Essay

    Younger Brother, one of the very earliest, happiest, ambiguous and lyrical works by the artistic duo of Dubossarsky & Vinogradov, was done two years after their debut with their exhibition 'Paintings Made to Order'. Unlike those done for schools, places of confinement, tourist agencies and other invented clients of the monumental 'Paintings Made to Order', these six are relatively small works done for the duo’s second exhibition called 'Paintings for Playboy' and intended for home use. Under the cover of simple narrative plots of beloved Russian realists-artists and writers, Dubossarsky and Vinogradov continue the séance of psychoanalysis of classical painting and literature, they drag out into plain view the fears and complexes that were concealed by sanctimonious socialist culture. The very idea of an ‘order’ that for decades had determined the creation of works of art in the USSR, interpreted in the spirit of the times that had for a little while had gone crazy over forbidden and, until quite recently, still inaccessible erotica. Included in this long list of forbidden fruits, where one of the top places was occupied by the notorious magazine, were the Freudian theories at play in the painting, and the very artistic works themselves that were on erotic themes. The experience of the contemporary reading of old plots in this series became spread to other paintings in this series – in Uncle Mazay – where pretty naked girls and not the old animal lover came after the drowning bunnies. Eroticism for these artists, it turns out, is of the same quality as surrealism – not entirely serious, with a light but clear distortion of the meanings, a cheery game with an ideological cliché. The themes of this series reflected a new Russian paradise that then was seen via a
    corrected mould from a past mythos. Younger Brother is the story of the emergence of the Oedipus complex: a future playboy with a bunny in his hand watches as his father punishes his older sister. There is a bunny in the hand of the little boy who has hidden behind the tree – the symbol of Playboy. This painting has an entirely domestic, family plot, although ordinary attitudes also entered into the system, were controlled by it. The Freudian theme develops, as expected, against the background of a garden of paradise with apples scattered
    everywhere; this story clearly is striving in the direction of expulsion from this paradise. As in all their early works, in Younger Brother the artists imitated what had by that time virtually disappeared from use: the technique of classical surrealists, imitating the dense painting of the “Soviet Impressionists”. Meticulously, in tiny brush strokes elaborating the form, they earnestly and very successfully tried to achieve that sensation of the perfection of the painting that was demanded of artists by the Art Commissions a halfcentury earlier. The main object of imitation for Dubossarsky and Vinogradov became the paintings of the classic artist of the genre, the winner of the Stalin Prize, Arkady Plastov. In the works of that time, artists strove to demonstrate the sources of their inspiration as vividly as possible – for them the connection with the already forgotten tradition was important. Literally picking the original source into pieces, they copied not only the style, but also the plots, the personages for Younger Brother, they borrowed the tree loaded with apples. Causing old and new meanings to collide, themselves students of the Soviet realistic school, the artists also dealt with their own personal Oedipal complexes – the love of the painting that seemed to be almost indecent during the years of harsh Russian performance art. - Faina Balakhovskaya


Younger Brother

Oil on canvas.
55 1/8 x 71 in. (140 x 180.3 cm).
Signed and dated “Vinogradov Dubossarsky 96 [in Cyrillic]” lower right; also signed, titled and dated “Vinogradov A. Dubossarsky V. Younger Brother 1996 [in Cyrillic]”on the reverse.

£30,000 - 40,000 ‡♠

Sold for £57,600

The John L. Stewart Collection of Russian Contemporary Art

13 October 2007, 6pm