Artist's lecture by vitaly komar


Socialist Realism and Symbolism

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

17.30, Research Forum South Room

Painting of Lenin on horseback with crownSelf-portrait of Vitaly Komar with mandalas

left: Vitaly Komar, Lenin with Crown; right: Vitaly Komar, Self Portrait with Mandala                 

Speaker(s): Vitaly Komar (artist)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Becky Haghpanah-Shirwan, Nadim Samman and Dr Sarah Wilson

“The consequences of world wars, of social and scientific breakthroughs, have eroded the connection between fragments of what once was a continuous experience of the world. In these conditions I turn to visual symbols and their mysterious quality of bringing together unrelated images and concepts.”  Vitaly Komar

Vitaly Komar was born in Moscow, USSR, in 1943. He graduated from the Stroganov School of Art and Design in 1967, and has been living in New York since 1978. He was one of the founders of the Sots Art movement (Soviet Pop/Conceptual art) and a pioneer of multi-stylistic post-modernism (1972-73). Komar worked in collaboration with Alex Melamid from 1973 to 2003 to widespread critical acclaim. His work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum (New York), MoMA (New York) and many more.

“New Symbolism is intended to suggest a movement. Even if it remains one artist's movement, it may work toward restoring a sundered connection between art and certain historical and timeless myths. In New Symbolism, symbols akin to mandalas and heraldic emblems are conceptual signifiers that coexist seamlessly with painting's reverie. Its images are visions of a yet unborn, unpronounceable word. They're related not only to the art of the Pre-Raphaelites and 19th-century Symbolists but, to a greater extent, to syncretic symbols that, thousands of years ago, unified the origin of written language and art. These works may be termed "conceptual symbolism" or "proto-symbolism".

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