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Formule de survie // Erik Boulatov

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Erik Boulatov was a pioneer of contemporary art in Russia in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1989, he left Russia and decided to settle down in Paris where he still lives and works.

The exhibition Formule de Survie (Surviving Formula) presented at PRISME, in partnership with the Dina Vierny gallery, features a collection of drawings and paintings by Erik Boulatov, including a monumental 3-metre canvas made especially for the occasion. Boulatov’s painting, marked by a certain feeling of frustration, navigates between a figurative style descending from socialist realism and the use of text. In his works, the artist likes to create oppositions by placing an element on a motif, therefore contradicting the spatiality of his paintings. This may seem simple and brutal at first, but there is always a profound sense of subtilty.

Different types of works interact in the exhibition, thus allowing the view to discover several aspects of the artist’s work. Some artworks are figurative while others deploy words in an abstract space and on others still, the words overlap the figurative subject. The similarities with pop artists such as Ed Ruscha, contemporaries of Boulatov, is sometimes felt. However, unlike them, rather than questioning the reality and limits of our own society, Erik Boulatov questions the social space as a whole.

His paintings are ambivalent through the different gateways they offer. Through this, a duality always emerges between the pictorial space and the sensory reality, subject to a reflection on the ends and limits of our society and existence. For instance, on the same work, a text that creates a notion of space and inspires hope, coexists with another that brutally affirms a flat surface.

We could therefore refer to these profoundly speaking and meaningful works as «existential propaganda» tending to make us meditate on the societal formula in which we live in, or survive in..

Alexandre Lorquin

Exhibition from September 20 to November 2, 2019.

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