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Lot 105*
Valery Koshlyakov
(Russian, born 1962)
Tower unframed
1 December 2021, 11:00 GMT
London, New Bond Street

Sold for £30,250 inc. premium

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Valery Koshlyakov (Russian, born 1962)

signed with Latin initials (lower right); further signed twice, titled in Latin and dated '1998'
tempera and acrylic on canvas
200 x 150cm (78 3/4 x 59 1/16in).


Oberhausen, Ludwig Gallery, Schloss Oberhausen, Valery Koshlyakov, Golden Age, November 2006
Baden Baden, Baden Baden Museum, Valery Koshlyakov, Golden Age, 2006

This lot is offered with a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

One of the most prominent representatives of the Russian art group Iskusstvo ili Smert [Art or Death], Valery Koshlyakov's oeuvre meditates on the nature of monumentality and the transience of art.

Trained in the art of stage design, Koshlyakov's background in the theatre emerges in the grand-scale and dramatic intensity of his work. From the late 1980s, the artist made a name for himself with cityscapes, architectural fantasies and spray-painted portraits.

Koshlyakov represented Russia at the 50th Venice Biennale and at the 25th Biennale in Sao Paolo in 2002 and in 2016, the Museum of Russian Impressionism in Moscow staged an exhibition of his work, Elisions.

The offered lot, Tower, is emblematic of the artist's oeuvre. In it, an architectural masterpiece evocative of an elision of the leaning Tower of Pisa with the Colosseum dominates the composition, looming large and unstable. The artist's trademark technique of paint dripping down the surface of the work smacks of form and order crumbling, suggestive of something ruined and unfinished. The incomplete details, washes and vigorous brushstrokes obscure our vision and undermine the solidity of the vast structure. The grand subject becomes fragmented and unhinged, dystopian even.

Koshlyakov's re-imagining of indistinct symbols of empire is not separate from the political. In it we discern a commentary on the deconstruction of myth and power and the unnerving beauty which emerges.

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