Erik Bulatov


Erik Bulatov is a painter in the classical sense, in that he is concerned with thinking out compositions. For him, a painting is a model of the universe, and painting means embedding the chaos that surrounds him in a structure. Bulatov is thus one of the few painters who still represent the tradition of philosophical art. The basis for Bulatov’s ‘O’ carpet is a drawing in which the artist strove to concentrate pictorial means to the extreme. Yet how can such a subtle form of expression be turned into a carpet of only two colours and in whose production the fine nuances of a precise coloured pencil drawing are necessarily sacrificed? The answer lies in Bulatov’s pictorial proposition, according to which the meaning of a picture lies in its surface. This surface becomes a space for us, the spectators, when it is raised and brought closer to us, yet also when it is moved away and recedes into the picture. Thus the carpet version of ‘O’ represents an intensified expression of pictorial principles: the relief-like raising and lowering of the circles, the constructive – or constructivist, and therefore absolute – handling of the colours and, lastly, the physical representation of the vowel O. Bulatov perceives the euphonic and expansive Russian O as a horizon and takes it to its point of origin, the circle.

Erik Bulatov was born in 1933 in Sverdlovsk. In the 1970s he became the leader of the famous avant-garde movement Moscow Conceptualists which stood in opposition to the official Soviet Socialist realism. In 1991 he emigrated to Paris where he has been residing since. His works were shown in all important exhibitions of Russian 20th century art, such as ‘RUSSIA!’, Guggenheim Museum in New York (2005) and Bilbao (2006); ‘Berlin–Moscow / Moscow–Berlin 1950–2000’, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (2003), and Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin (2004); ‘Traumfabrik Kommunismus. Die visuelle Kultur der Stalinzeit’, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt/Main (2003). He was featured at the 43rd Venice Biennale (1988) and the Third Moscow Biennale (2009), and recent solo exhibitions include Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (2003 and 2006); Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (2006); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2007); Musée d’art moderne et contemporain (mamco), Geneva (2009/2010) and Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (2013). In 2008 Bulatov became an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts. 


Artist: Erik Bulatov
Title: O
Material: Wool, Flax, Silk
Colors: White, Black
Size: W 200 x L 200 cm
Edition: 8 + 2 AP