At the age of eighteen, Shemiakin was expelled from art school for his non-conformist views. To cure him of his “sick modernistic tendencies,” the authorities subjected him to psychiatric treatment in 1961. Further confrontations prompted Shemiakin’s emigration to France in 1971; he would eventually settle in New York ten years later.
Here, the artist transforms the Soviet Union’s national symbol, a bear, into a critique: with its mouth tied, the beast forces free-thinking citizens into the private refuge of their minds. Two vertical signal lines seem to hang suspended in air, without substantial support, suggesting a failure of security. Meticulously rendered in line and color, the print restricts its joyfully saturated composition within cautious, vigilant borders.
abstract; stylization; birds; faces; animals; lines; patterns
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