Erik Bulatov

Erik Bulatov is a Russian-born artist who has lived and worked in Paris since 1991. Before his emigration to Europe he worked officially as an illustrator in Moscow and in the 1970s joined the Moscow Conceptualist group where he worked alongside Ilya Kabakov. Erik Bulatov is mainly associated with oil on canvas works and the transposition of large-scale words in Cyrillic, such as ‘freedom’ or ‘perestroika’, over realistically painted blue skies. He drew his inspiration from Russian avant-garde propaganda posters that contained large typographic words and strong political statements. For example, the work Slava KPSS (2005) shows the famous Soviet slogan ‘Long Live the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’ painted over a blue sky with clouds. Bulatov is not only concerned with politics and often revisits Soviet history with both nostalgia and criticism. The other aspect of his research concerns the interplay between the two and three-dimensions of the canvas. The perspective of the landscapes and the two-dimensional words build two distinct spaces within the canvas and interact in a unique way with the viewer. His words sometimes trail into the background, as in the work titled We would have wanted by day but we didn’t have time (2002). Erik Bulatov has participated in major group shows in France and the United States, such as in the Pompidou Centre in 1994 and in 2008 in La Maison Rouge’s Sots Art in Paris.