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Čís. položky 243


Adrian Ghenie *


(Baia Mare, Rumänien 1977 geb.)
Lenin’s Eyes, 2010, dedicated, signed on the reverse Ghenie, oil over a found painting (oil on canvas), 90 x 70 cm, framed

Provenance:
The artist
Private Collection, Berlin

Literature:
Juerg Judin, ed., Adrian Ghenie 19, Berlin 2020, p. 48, col. ill. p. 49

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I’m choosing a fragment from art history which I’m replying to. But then I wrap that into a subject or another situation which is more contemporary.
Adrian Ghenie in: Juerg Judin, Berlin 2020, p. 121

The founder of the Soviet Union Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924) is the first relevant “frontman” in Adrian Ghenie’s series of works and thus occupies a key position in his oeuvre. The Romanian-born artist’s paternal grandmother came from Russia and had already parlayed to him communist ideals through story-telling, as had also done his father. It is self-evident, therefore, that his pictures, too, would take up this fascination with the leader. For the work “Lenin's Eyes”, Ghenie used an official propaganda portrait that had been left behind when the Soviet forces withdrew from their garrisons in East Berlin in 1990 and eventually found its way into Ghenie’s studio.

Ghenie painted over the found portrait with wild brushstrokes in white, leaving only the eyes of the communist leader exposed and clearly visible. The intervention directs and limits the beholder’s attention to that specific part, challenging him to identify the expression of the portrayed person without external clues, such as the striking facial features or Lenin’s characteristic goatee. Directed to the right, the sitter’s gaze protrudes meaningfully from between the overpainted surfaces of the picture. White was a deliberate choice, so that no colouration would distract from the essential, namely the eye area. Yet his gaze seems almost gentle and, without the aid of the title, would unlikely be identified by viewers as belonging to one of the most frightening figures in world history. (Juerg Judin, ed., Adrian Ghenie – Paintings 2014 – 19, Berlin 2020, p. 48)
The work “Lenin's Eyes” also refers to the series “Monumental Propaganda” by the artist collective Komar & Melamid. This artist formation was a reaction to the destruction of socialist-realist monuments in Russia. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, many people gave in to their anger and resentment by publicly destroying monuments. At the invitation of Komar & Melamid, more than 200 Russian and Western artists created projects for the preservation of these monuments. Reporting on the project prevented the ongoing destruction of monuments in Russia. The work of Ghenie, too, takes up this fundamental nostalgia and allows Lenin’s historical presence to disappear behind a white façade. The so-called “whitewashing” of the portrait and the resulting attempt to prevent people from finding out the true facts about a certain situation can be traced back essentially to the historical context of the work. Immediately apparent in Ghenie’s works is a fascination with history overshadowed by the trauma of dictatorship.
“Lenin’s Eyes” remains his last preoccupation with the dictator. Ghenie took his fascination with the great ideologues of the 20th century on to other important personalities such as Vincent Van Gogh, Charles Darwin and Josef Mengele. In his use of official state portraits the artist is particularly vested in the disjunction between public and private appearance. Something very similar can be detected in “Lenin’s Eyes”, as work in which the official character of the picture is lost and a peaceful, almost private Lenin is revealed.

Expert: Dr. Petra Maria Schäpers Dr. Petra Maria Schäpers
+49-211-210 77 47

petra.schaepers@dorotheum.de

25.11.2020 - 16:00

Dosažená cena: **
EUR 94.050,-
Odhadní cena:
EUR 75.000,- do EUR 90.000,-

Adrian Ghenie *


(Baia Mare, Rumänien 1977 geb.)
Lenin’s Eyes, 2010, dedicated, signed on the reverse Ghenie, oil over a found painting (oil on canvas), 90 x 70 cm, framed

Provenance:
The artist
Private Collection, Berlin

Literature:
Juerg Judin, ed., Adrian Ghenie 19, Berlin 2020, p. 48, col. ill. p. 49

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I’m choosing a fragment from art history which I’m replying to. But then I wrap that into a subject or another situation which is more contemporary.
Adrian Ghenie in: Juerg Judin, Berlin 2020, p. 121

The founder of the Soviet Union Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924) is the first relevant “frontman” in Adrian Ghenie’s series of works and thus occupies a key position in his oeuvre. The Romanian-born artist’s paternal grandmother came from Russia and had already parlayed to him communist ideals through story-telling, as had also done his father. It is self-evident, therefore, that his pictures, too, would take up this fascination with the leader. For the work “Lenin's Eyes”, Ghenie used an official propaganda portrait that had been left behind when the Soviet forces withdrew from their garrisons in East Berlin in 1990 and eventually found its way into Ghenie’s studio.

Ghenie painted over the found portrait with wild brushstrokes in white, leaving only the eyes of the communist leader exposed and clearly visible. The intervention directs and limits the beholder’s attention to that specific part, challenging him to identify the expression of the portrayed person without external clues, such as the striking facial features or Lenin’s characteristic goatee. Directed to the right, the sitter’s gaze protrudes meaningfully from between the overpainted surfaces of the picture. White was a deliberate choice, so that no colouration would distract from the essential, namely the eye area. Yet his gaze seems almost gentle and, without the aid of the title, would unlikely be identified by viewers as belonging to one of the most frightening figures in world history. (Juerg Judin, ed., Adrian Ghenie – Paintings 2014 – 19, Berlin 2020, p. 48)
The work “Lenin's Eyes” also refers to the series “Monumental Propaganda” by the artist collective Komar & Melamid. This artist formation was a reaction to the destruction of socialist-realist monuments in Russia. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, many people gave in to their anger and resentment by publicly destroying monuments. At the invitation of Komar & Melamid, more than 200 Russian and Western artists created projects for the preservation of these monuments. Reporting on the project prevented the ongoing destruction of monuments in Russia. The work of Ghenie, too, takes up this fundamental nostalgia and allows Lenin’s historical presence to disappear behind a white façade. The so-called “whitewashing” of the portrait and the resulting attempt to prevent people from finding out the true facts about a certain situation can be traced back essentially to the historical context of the work. Immediately apparent in Ghenie’s works is a fascination with history overshadowed by the trauma of dictatorship.
“Lenin’s Eyes” remains his last preoccupation with the dictator. Ghenie took his fascination with the great ideologues of the 20th century on to other important personalities such as Vincent Van Gogh, Charles Darwin and Josef Mengele. In his use of official state portraits the artist is particularly vested in the disjunction between public and private appearance. Something very similar can be detected in “Lenin’s Eyes”, as work in which the official character of the picture is lost and a peaceful, almost private Lenin is revealed.

Expert: Dr. Petra Maria Schäpers Dr. Petra Maria Schäpers
+49-211-210 77 47

petra.schaepers@dorotheum.de


Horká linka kupujících Po-Pá: 9.00 - 18.00
kundendienst@dorotheum.at

+43 1 515 60 200
Aukce: Současné umění I
Datum: 25.11.2020 - 16:00
Místo konání aukce: Vídeň | Palais Dorotheum
Prohlídka: online


** Kupní cena vč. poplatku kupujícího a DPH

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