Landscapes from Russia

On 07 November 2019, by Anne Doridou-Heim

This auction house’s first sale at Drouot was successful, with 98% of the lots sold. It also proved interest in Ilya Kabakov, an artist who is rare in the French market.

Ilya Kabakov (b. 1933), Landscape with Pines, 1990, mixed media on panel, oils, clothing and isorel, 210 x 150 cm.
Result: €124,950

Among the six works with heavy Slavic accents from the Jean Deleage collection, the one by Ilya Kabakov, an artist from the former USSR living in the United States, drew the most notice. Landscape with Pines was originally part of the huge installation He Lost His Mind Undressed, Ran Away, Naked, 2 at Ronald Feldman’s New York gallery in 1990 but here it appeared alone. The title may seem classic but the technique is not, mixing oil, Isorel and clothing—a pair of boxer shorts that seems to be casually slung over the edge. The work fetched €124,950 in Paris. Kabakov grew up under the totalitarian Soviet regime, graduated in 1957 and joined a movement of conceptual artists opposed to the official line. Like so many others living in communal flats in the 1970s, imagination was a way for him to escape reality. Another installation from the same collection, School Girl (34.5 x 166.5 cm, 2 to 10 cm deep), by Vitaly Komar (b. 1943) and Alexander Melamid (b. 1945), sold for €20,400. Working together from 1965 to 2003, these conceptual artists launched the "sots art" movement, the Soviet counterpart of pop art. They exhibited at Kassel in 1987 and were the first Russian artists to show their work at Documenta.

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