Home Breaking Soviet Totalitarianism Was No Match For These Moscow Conceptual Artists

Soviet Totalitarianism Was No Match For These Moscow Conceptual Artists

211
0
SHARE

In the 1970s, two enterprising artists sought to improve dismal living conditions in the Soviet Union by producing a catalogue of luxury goods. Promising to provide “supercomfort for superpeople”, the catalogue included headgear to protect “the purity of your thoughts”, as well as a “language ornament”: a large pearl ring that fit over the tongue, ensuring that only positive words were spoken. Applying the logic of American consumerism to the conditions of Soviet totalitarianism, Komar and Melamid’s Superobjects were perfectly tailored to a society that was short on merchandise and long on ideology. Forty years later, their ersatz catalogue serves another purpose. The satirical photographs of absurdist objects provide unparalleled psychological access to the Soviet experience. Such is the case with much of the work made by conceptual artists in Soviet-era Moscow, now on view in an important exhibition at the Zimmerli Art Museum…. Essay by Jonathon Keats.

SHARE