The Spectators / Глядачі

Nikita Kadan / Нікіта Кадан


Drawing, 5 x (75 x 55 cm).
Materials: charcoal on paper

Collection: Collection M HKA / Collection Flemish Community (Inv. no. BK007959).

The Spectators is a series of portraits of 'public enemies' from the former Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1934, the constructivist artist Aleksander Rodchenko was commissioned to create an anniversary album to commemorate 10 years of Soviet rule in Uzbekistan. However, during the 1937-1938 period, some of Uzbekistan's top government officials, whose photographs had been published in the album, fell from grace. In his author's copy of the album, Rodchenko painted in ink the faces of the political prisoners because even possessing portraits of “public enemies” could lead to arrest. According to Kadan, the black spots on the faces of the commissioners are themselves portraits of sorts, faces of the spirits of history observing the augmentation of its ruins. 

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