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

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  • Provenance

    Livet Reichard Company, Inc., New York

  • Literature

    E. A. Peschler, Künstler in Moskau, die neue Avantgarde, Zurich, 1988, p.142 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Yuri Albert frequently quoted, either fully or in part, the Soviet caricatures of the 1960s that made fun of abstract art. In this case, a caricature is used from the French press that was reprinted by the popular Soviet magazine ‘Abroad,' but Albert replaced the original figures of the flabbergasted visitors to the museum of modern art with two of his favourite personages: a monkey (who often appeared in Soviet caricatures of ‘degenerate art,' though this very term was not used), revealing the secrets of modernism to a character named Pencil who is wearing a Rembrandt beret. Pencil was a popular hero of Soviet children's comics and who for Albert personified traditional art with its realistic drawing from real life. Working with the aesthetics of comics and caricatures, which by the way, makes his work close to that of Richard Prince and Raymond Pettibon, does not render this painting by Albert either humorous, or cynical; it does not refer us to Soviet mass media and does not proclaim the aesthetics of pop. Rather it is quite melancholic in nature.The painting belongs to the extensive series of the artist's works devoted to a critique of the project of modernism as an autonomous aesthetic sphere. From Albert's perspective, the modernist project is devoid of the profound artistic meaning that is inherent in classical art ("all of our activity is simply ritual gestures, metaphors, insinuations and winking around art," asserts the artist), but precisely because of this it is the only honest speech of a person of the 20th century. Being a staunch conceptualist, constantly describing the boundaries of art and the limits of its potentialities, Albert more than once attempted to try on Pencil's costume in his performances – only so that he could look at the fruits of his own modernist effort with the same genuine chagrin as did the hero of this painting.
    Dr. Ekaterina Degot


Dispute III

Oil on canvas.
130 x 100 cm. (51 1/8 x 39 3/8 in).
Signed, titled and dated ‘Y.ALBERT III 86 [in Cyrillic]’ lower right. Signed, titled and dated ‘Y.ALBERT DISPUTE III/86 [in Cyrillic]’ on the reverse.

£3,000 - 4,000 ‡♠

Sold for £14,900

Important Contemporary Russian Art–Property from a Foundation

28 Feb 2008, 6pm