Eduard Gorokhovsky

Eduard Gorokhovsky: Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, 1970-79
Nov 12, 2005 - Mar 05, 2006
DuBrow Gallery

Eduard Gorokhovsky (1929-2004) was one of the first Soviet Nonconformist artists to use photographs as the main source for his prints and paintings, creating intentionally unresolved serial images symbolizing the diametrically opposing forces that shaped the Soviet Union.

Gorokhovsky’s works usually consist of two elements: photographic imagery, acting as a basis for his paintings and photo-silkscreens, and a second element that intrudes upon the photographic space: a geometric figure, a silhouette, a text, or another photograph. The photograph, Gorokhovsky pointed out, provides a framework that keeps a painting in balance, and the rest of what he brings into a painting stands in dissonance to the photo image, adding a certain intrigue to the whole. Many of Gorokhovsky’s works convey a sense of history or the process of change, often alluding to the disappearance of individuality in a totalitarian society. For example, in Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge (1970-79)—its title borrowed from a famous 1919-20 poster by El Lissitzky—a portrait of a young woman in the full military uniform of the Russian Army’s first women’s battalion during World War I is gradually displaced by an area of red, the color of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. 

Gorokhovsky’s artistic concepts are informed by the traditional Russian family portrait. He has used this genre to represent complex themes such as the destruction of the family unit wrought by the Bolshevik Revolution, a succession of devastating wars, and the forced relocations resulting from the Stalinist policy of collectivization. Gorokhovsky’s interest in political subjects became especially keen in the 1980s and he began producing works on historical and political themes, including images of Lenin and Stalin appearing alongside those of their anonymous victims.

Eduard Gorokhovsky

Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, 1970-79

Screenprints on paper

Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers

Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union