Post.at.MOMA interview with Anna Bitkina

February 17th, 2017

Anna Bitkina is one half of TOK Curators St Petersburg, Russia (Maria Veits is the other).  Anya recently did a video interview for post, the Museum of Modern Art’s online resource devoted to art and the history of modernism in a global context.  You can also see my response to Anya’s interview there, “Keeping the Baby While Throwing Out the Bathwater: Socially Engaged Art in Russia and the US Today.”

Panel 5 of Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin)

December 12th, 2016

Click on image for enlargement.

Panel 5 of Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin) . 68″ x 32″ . Acrylic paint and digital images on canvas and board

Click on image below to see enlargment.  These are actual items that the Soviet elite secretly enjoyed behind closed doors and hidden within special guarded, walled housing areas.

DETAIL of Panel 5 of Darling Godsonny Stalin

-

Panel 4 of Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin)

December 11th, 2016

Details are followed by an image of the entire Panel 4.

Panel 4 onion dome of Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin) . Acrylic paint and digital images on canvas and board

-

DETAIL: Left side of “The Noble Clans,” Panel 4 of Darling Godsonny Stalin.

-

Panel 4 of Darling Godsonny Stalin . 67″ x 32″ . Acrylic paint and digital images on canvas and board

Click on image above for enlargement.

Panel 5 is here.

-

Panel 3 of Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin)

December 10th, 2016

These are details of Panel 3 of Darling Godsonny Stalin, which is narrated in song by “fairy godfather” Ivan the Terrible.  Ivan gives his infant “godson” Stalin the blessings of Russia’s past and “advice” on how to follow the example of Ivan’s own 16th century terror against individual members of powerful clans, portrayed in the central onion-dome of the artwork.  (For more about Ivan’s terror, click here.)

__________

The left side of the triptych’s large onion-dome portrays Ivan’s Oprichniki (his private army) throwing Novgorod clan members off a bridge, then pushing anyone who surfaced back down under the ice.

Historians today all agree that Ivan the Terrible killed thousands of his own people during his terror.  But – due to the skimpy historical record – historians continue to debate exactly how horrific Ivan’s methods were.

The right side of the artwork’s central onion dome portrays the members of powerful clans whose land was expropriated, and who were exiled to live on estates in Ivan’s newly conquered territories around Kazan.  For more on these exiles, click here.

Stalin’s 20th century purges, remarkably similar in many ways to those of Ivan in the 16th century, peaked in 1937-8.  Stalin executed virtually all of the Bolshevik leaders who had led the revolution (Lenin had died of repeated strokes in the early 1920s).

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: Trotsky’s assassination.

 

Trotsky – who Stalin viewed as his most threatening rival – was expelled from the USSR.  Trotsky’s sons had both been killed at Stalin’s behest, and Trotsky knew the noose was tightening around him as well.  He was living in Mexico when he was assassinated, by means of a mountaineer’s ice pick,  in 1940.

Other Bolsheviks – whether careerists or dedicated, hardworking idealists – were arrested and transported on trains to slave labor camps in Siberia and other locations across the Soviet Union. Some died of starvation, thirst, or illness while being transported thousands of miles.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: Prisoner transport to GULAG slave labor camps.

Some prisoners were executed and buried in mass graves.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: Execution and mass graves.

Political prisoners were put to work building large-scale infrastructure projects: canals, mines, and cities in the far north (such as Norilsk).  Soviet Russia was overwhelmingly non-industrialized, so much of this labor was done by human power with non-mechanized equipment like picks and wheelbarrows.  Inadequately fed and clothed, this was a devastating experience for many who had once been leaders of the new young country.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: political prisoners excavating a canal and removing the soil with wheelbarrows.

 

The push for rapid industrialization required construction material.  The heavily-forested far north provided an unending source of lumber.  The cold, tens of degrees below zero, was unbearable for prisoners whose ragged clothing couldn’t protect them.

Roads had to be built, and lumber was plentiful, so they were used.

 

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: building a log road in the far north.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: Prisoners in Magadan, in the far northeast, mined gold and diamonds using wheelbarrows.

 

The rich gold and diamond fields of the USSR’s far northeast were mined by political prisoners using wheelbarrows and picks.

 

 

Prisoners were housed in freezing barracks.

DETAIL of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN: interior of political prisoners’ barracks.

 

 

_____

PLAYGROUND OF THE AUTOCRATS Gallery

November 20th, 2016

Please scroll down for images from 4 polyptychs in my series PLAYGROUND OF THE AUTOCRATS.  Click on any image for more information and closeup details.

Studio shot

Studio shot: completing pentaptych Darling Godsonny Stalin

 

Darling Godsonny Stalin  Mooney Gallery

DARLING GODSONNY STALIN (IVAN THE TERRIBLE ADVISES THE INFANT STALIN) . 3 panel iteration exhibited in “Russia Through the Looking Glass” . By Anne Bobroff-Hajal . 9′ x 6′ . Acrylic paint and digital images on canvas and board

Panel #2 of what will eventually be a 14-foot wide, 5-panel piece, DARLING GODSONNY STALIN (IVAN THE TERRIBLE ADVISES THE INFANT STALIN) . By Anne Bobroff-Hajal .  Panel 2 is 64″ x 32″.  For close-up details, please click on the image, then scroll down.

-

DETAIL of Panel 2, DARLING GODSONNY STALIN

 

Detail of Panel 2 of DARLING GODSONNY STALIN

Home Security At Any Crazy Price

“Home Security At Any Crazy Price,” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal . 36″ x 40″ . Acrylic and digital images on canvas and board . 2009

-

Detail, Panel 1 of Darling Godsonny Stalin

Detail 1, Panel #1 of “Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin)” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

Detail 2, Panel 1 of “Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin)” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

-

Detail 4, Panel #1 of “Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

-

Panel 1 of “Darling Godsonny Stalin (Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin)” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

More enlarged details are here:

Panel 3

Panel 4

Panel 5

Catherine the Great Character Design

Character Design for Catherine the Great, who will appear in several polyptychs. Her personal triptych is “Dress It Up in Resplendent Clothes” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

-

Stalin in Sheep's Clothing

Stalin character design as he appears in Panel 1 of “Dress It Up in Resplendent Clothes” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

-

Gallery Talk Dress It Up In Resplendent Clothes

Artist talk: “Dress It Up in Resplendent Clothes” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal . Acrylic paint and digital images in layers on canvas and board.

-

Detail: Center Panel “Dress It Up In Resplendent Clothes” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

-

Detail 1 Center Panel

Detail 1 Center Panel “Dress It Up In Resplendent Clothes” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

-

Detail: Panel 1 of “Dress It Up In Resplendent Clothes” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

-

Detail of Russian peasants in Left panel of “Dress It Up In Resplendent Clothes”

-

Detail Panel 3 “Dress It Up In Resplendent Clothes”

-

Detail lower left panel of Home Security at Any Crazy Price, by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

-

“The Most Exposed Terrain on Earth” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal . Acrylic paint and digital images on canvas . 24″ x 48″

-

Detail of middle panel “The Most Exposed Terrain on Earth” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

-

Enlarged detail of center panel: “The Most Exposed Terrain on Earth” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

-

Detail middle panel “The Most Exposed Terrain on Earth” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

-

Detail middle panel of “The Most Exposed Terrain on Earth,” by Anne Bobroff-Hajal

-

Character Design for Peter the Great, by Anne Bobroff-Hajal. Peter appears in several PLAYGROUND OF THE AUTOCRATS polyptychs.

Almost finished multi-year project

November 16th, 2016

Final studio touchups

Details of various parts of the work are here.