sots art

Erik Bulatov/ Erik Bulatov

Russian Federation 1933

Conceptual Art, Illustration, Hyperrealism

Erik Bulatov
Erik Bulatov
Male
Russian Federation
1933
March 29, 2015

Erik Bulatov is a Russian painter, graphic artist, and book illustrator. He numbers, along with Ilya Kabakov, among a small but significant group of Russian artists who, at a remove from the governmental regulations of the Soviet art system, attained completely independent forms of artistic expression.

Erik Bulatov’s early years

Erik Bulatov, born in 1933, graduated from the Moscow Middle Art School, for especially gifted children, where he studied with Oleg Vassiliev and Ilya Kabakov, who also became masters of the unofficial art scene in Moscow. In 1952-1958, he was a top student in the painting department of the Surikov Institute and was expected to graduate with the Gold Medal. Because he organized a student rebellion against the teachers’ curriculum, he was stripped of the award. He worked as an illustrator of children’s books in publishing houses together with Oleg Vassiliev. He could not exhibit in the USSR because of censorship, with the exception of brief shows at the Kurchatov Institute and the Blue Bird Café in Moscow in 1965 and in 1968.

Political and cultural background of Bulatov’s art

The meaning of his work and the symbolic codes he uses are products of his cultural background. Bulatov lived most of his life in Russia, only moving to Paris in 1991, and the emblems and typography of socialist glorification are unmistakable themes throughout his oeuvre.
Despite difficult working conditions, Bulatov did not emigrate, but continued to develop his work in Russia until the collapse of the Soviet Union, when he moved to France. Bulatov’s paintings can be situated in the realm of political art, despite their lack of unequivocal political or ideological messages. His particular modes of artistic expression are bound to a particular time and place, while also giving rise to multiple visual associations. It is characteristic of Bulatov’s manner of political commentary that he subversively unites opposing impulses.

Style of Erik Bulatov

Erik Bulatov has been considered to be affiliated with Moscow Conceptualism, Sots Art, and hyperrealism, but the artist maintains that that playing with the images and ideology of Soviet official culture is not as interesting to him as much more abstract and even formal subjects – the questions about what is a painting and how does the surface of a painting correspond to the surface of the depicted objects. Bulatov’s drawings and paintings have an extraordinary coherence. His unique, stringent pictorial system was first expressed in his word pictures of the 1970s, where he analyzed the interplay of contrasting symbolic systems, such as language and images or abstraction and illusion – a theme he is still concerned with today.
‘The picture is different. It is the only reality I trust and believe. The world around us is too active, too unstable for us to maintain any true belief in it; everything is in a state of flux, everything is changing. Only the picture is immutable,’ as Erik Bulatov stated in 1987.

Erik Bulatov’s exhibitions

A great part of his works are in the major public and private collections in Europe, Russia and United States. After 1989, his active artistic and exhibition work was based in New York until he moved to Paris in 1992. The year 2006 marked the first retrospective exhibition of his paintings in Russia, at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. In 2008, Bulatov became an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts.

Erik Bulatov lives and works between Paris, France and Moscow, Russia.



YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2013Our time has comeARNDT Berlin, GermanySolo
2013Erik BulatovNouveau Musée National de Monaco, Principality of MonacoSolo
2011East Ex EastBrand New Gallery Milan, ItalyGroup
2010Contrepoint, l’art contemporain russe – De l’icône à l’avant¬garde en passant par le museMusée du Louvre, ParisSolo
2010MamcoMusee d'art moderne et contemporain, Genf Solo
2009Erik BulatovArndt & Partner, BerlinSolo
20091968. Die Große UnschuldKunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany Group
2009Moscow BiennaleMoscow, Russia Group
20091989. Ende der Geschichte oder Beginn der Zukunft?Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna Group
2008Moscow – New York - ThawChelsea Art Museum, New York Group
2008Die Totale AufklärungSchirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt Group
2008Die Totale AufklärungFundacion Juan March, Madrid Group
2007Jour¬NuitArt Unlimited, Basel, Switzerland Solo
2007Jour¬NuitGalerie Skopia, Geneva, Switzerland Solo
2007La voûte celesteGalerie Pièce Unique, Paris Solo
2007Erik Boulatov. ICIMusée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris Solo
2007The Aggression of Beauty IIArndt & Partner, Berlin Group
2007Marilyn Monroe: I'am an artificial productDayton Art Institute, OhioGroup
2006Erik Bulatov - BOTState Tretyakov Gallery – The National Museum of Russian Fine Art, MoscowSolo
2006Erik Bulatov - BOTEkaterina Cultural Foundation, Moscow Solo
2006Erik Bulatov. Freiheit ist FreiheitKestnergesellschaft, Hannover, Germany Solo
2006Essence of Life ArtThe State Russian Museum – Marble Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia Group
2006RussiaMuseo Guggenheim Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain Group
2005RussiaSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Group
2005Essence of Life ArtLudwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art Budapest, BudapestGroup
2005Essence of Life ArtState Tretyakov Gallery – The National Museum of Russian Fine Art, Moscow Group
2005Angels of History – Moscow Conceptualism and its influenceMuHKA Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium Group
2005The Theatre of Art – Masterpieces from the Collection of the Ludwig MuseumColo Villa Manin, Centro d‘arte contemporanea, Codroipo, Italy Group
2004Moi - Autoportraits du XXème siècleMusée du Luxembourg, ParisGroup
2004Moi - Autoportraits du XXème siècleGalleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy Group
2004Eine kurze Zeit ... langDany Keller Galerie, Munich, GermanyGroup
2004Non¬Konformisten aus MoskauLudwig Museum, Koblenz, GermanyGroup
2003-2004Berlin – Moskau - Moskau – Berlin 1950–2000Martin¬Gropius¬Bau, Berlin Group
2003-2004Berlin – Moskau - Moskau – Berlin 1950–2000State Tretyakov Gallery – The National Museum of Russian Fine Art, MoscowGroup
2003-2004Traumfabrik Kommunismus Die. Visuelle Kultur der StalinzeitSchirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main, GermanyGroup
2003Erik Bulatov. The DrawingsState Tretyakov Gallery – The National Museum of Russian Fine Art, MoscowSolo
2003Painting: from Rauschenberg to Murakami 1964–2003Museo Correr, 50th Venice Biennial, Venice, ItalyGroup
2003ArtconstitutionMoscow Contemporary Art Museum, MoscowGroup
2002InaugurazioneTrevi Flash Art Museum, Trevi, ItalyGroup
2002Malevich and FilmCentro Cultural de Belém, LissabonGroup
2002Malevich and FilmFundación La Caixa, MadridGroup
2001Hypermental – Wahnhafte Wirklichkeit 1955–2000Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
2001Hypermental – Wahnhafte Wirklichkeit 1955–2000Kunsthalle Hamburg, Hamburg, GermanyGroup
2000CosmosPalazzo Grassi, VeniceGroup
1999Erik BulatovMusée Maillol, Fondation Dina Vierny, ParisSolo
1999Europe in Motion. The Berlin Wall Artists for FreedomThe Nicosia Municipal Art Centre, Nicosia, CyprusGroup
1999Forbidden Art - The Postwar Russian Avant¬GardeMuseum of St. PetesburgGroup
1999Forbidden Art - The Postwar Russian Avant¬GardeState Tretyakov Gallery – The National Museum of Russian Fine Art, MoscowGroup
1999Examining PicturesWhitechapel Art Gallery, London Group
1999Examining PicturesMuseum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USAGroup
1998Erik Bulatov. Das Bild ist tot. Es lebe das BildGalerie Berndt and Galerie Reckermann, Cologne, Germany Solo
1998Selection from the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet UnionCulturgest, Lisbon Group
1998Selection from the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet UnionMücsarnok Palace of Art, Budapest Group
1998Selection from the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet UnionArt Museum of Estonia, Tallinn Group
1998Selection from the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet UnionMuseum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, Florida, USA Group
1998Selection from the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet UnionStedelijk Museum, AmsterdamGroup
1997Speed, Space, Hybrid, Power, BecomingKwangju Biennial, Kwangju, KoreaGroup
1997The Nonconformists. The Second Russian Avantgarde 1955–1988Sammlung Bar¬Gera, The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia Group
1997The Nonconformists. The Second Russian Avantgarde 1955–1988State Tretyakov Gallery – The National Museum of Russian Fine Art, Moscow Group
1997The Nonconformists. The Second Russian Avantgarde 1955–1988Städelmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany Group
1997The Nonconformists. The Second Russian Avantgarde 1955–1988Josef Albers Museum, Bottrop, Germany Group
1997The Nonconformists. The Second Russian Avantgarde 1955–1988Museum Schloß Morsbroich, Leverkusen, GermanyGroup
1996Flug – Entfernung – Verschwinden. Konzeptuelle Kunst aus MoskauStadtgalerie im Sophienhof, Kiel, Germany Group
1996Flug – Entfernung – Verschwinden. Konzeptuelle Kunst aus MoskauHaus am Waldsee, Berlin Group
1996Illusion – Emotion – RealityKunsthalle Wien, ViennaGroup
1996Face à l’Histoire. 1933–1996Centre Georges Pompidou – Musée National d’Art Moderne, ParisGroup
1996Zeitgenössische Kunst im Museum Ludwig. Neuerwerbungen. 1992–1996Museum Ludwig, Cologne, GermanyGroup
1995Erik Bulatov. Nicht verbindbare RäumeGalerie Berndt and Galerie Reckermann, Cologne, GermanySolo
1995Erik Bulatov. Nicht verbindbare RäumeGalerie Renée Ziegler, Zurich, Switzerland Solo
1995Kunst im Verborgenen: Nonkonformisten Rußland. 1957–1995Wilhelm¬Hack¬Museum, Ludwigshafen am Rhein, GermanyGroup
1995Kunst im Verborgenen: Nonkonformisten Rußland. 1957–1995documenta¬Halle, Kassel, Germany Group
1995Kunst im Verborgenen: Nonkonformisten Rußland. 1957–1995Staatliches Lindenau¬Museum, Altenberg, Germany Group
1995Kunst im Verborgenen: Nonkonformisten Rußland. 1957–1995Manez Gallery, Moscow Group
1995Our Century. Images of Man – A World of ImagesMuseum Ludwig, Cologne, GermanyGroup
1995Russian Jewish Artists in a Century of Change 1890–1990The Jewish Museum, New YorkGroup
1994Erik BulatovPhyllis Kind Gallery, New York Solo
1994Humanism and Technology. The Human Figure in Industrial SocietyNational Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, KoreaGroup
1994Das Jahrhundert der Avantgarde in Mittel¬und OsteuropaKunst¬und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, GermanyGroup
1993Do All Roads lead to Rome?Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome Group
1993The Russian Art Avant¬Garde in the 20th CenturyMuseum Ludwig, Cologne, GermanyGroup
1992Erik BulatovGalerie Dina Vierny, ParisSolo
1991Erik BulatovPhyllis Kind Gallery, New YorkSolo
1990U.S.S.R. TodayStedelijk Museum, AmsterdamGroup
1990The Quest for Self¬Expression. Painting in Moscow and Leningrad 1965–1990Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, USAGroup
1990Another ArtState Tretyakov Gallery – The National Museum of Russian Fine Art, MoscowGroup
1990Contemporary Russian ArtistsAuditoria de Galicia, Santiago de Compostela, SpainGroup
1989Les Magiciens de la terreCentre Georges Pompidou – Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris Group
1989Post¬Utopia. Paintings and Installations by Soviet Conceptualists: Bulatov, Kabakov, Komar & MelamidSoutheastern Massachusetts University, Dartmouth, USAGroup
1988Erik BoulatovKunsthalle Zürich, Zurich, SwitzerlandSolo
1988Erik BoulatovPortikus, Frankfurt am Main, GermanySolo
1988Erik BoulatovKunstverein Bonn, Bonn, Germany Solo
1988Erik BoulatovDe Appel Foundation, Amsterdam Solo
1988Erik BoulatovKunstverein Freiburg, Fribourg, Switzerland Solo
1988Erik BoulatovCentre Georges Pompidou – Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris Solo
1988Erik BoulatovInstitute of Contemporary Art, London Solo
1988Erik BoulatovList Visual Art Center, Boston, USA Solo
1988Erik BoulatovNewport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, USA Solo
1988Erik BoulatovThe University of Chicago, USASolo
198843rd Venice BiennialVenice, ItalyGroup
1988Ich lebe – Ich seheKunstmuseum Bern, Bern, SwitzerlandGroup
1988Erik Bulatow, Wladimir Jankilewski, Ilja Kabakow, Oleg WassiljewKupferstich¬Kabinett Dresden, Dresden, GermanyGroup
1986Sots ArtNew Museum of Contemporary Art, New York Group
1986Sots ArtGlenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada Group
1986Sots ArtEverson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New YorkGroup
1984Sots ArtSemaphore Gallery, New YorkGroup
1982Photography and PaintingCenter of Aesthetics, MoscowGroup
1976La nuova arte sovietica: Una prospettiva non ufficiale37th Venice Biennial, Venice, ItalyGroup
1973Avant¬Garde Russe. Moscou 1973Galerie Dina Vierny, Paris Group