Русский / English

Viktor Misiano

Vladimir Dubossarsky and Aleksandr Vinogradov: "the artists of a generation"


In the history of art there is a certain type of artist that can be called "the artist of a generation" or "the artist of an era". To be fair, one should state that such an artist is not necessarily the most profound, radical or extraordinary artistic exponent of their times. "The artist of an era" primarily takes upon him or herself another function: in the purest form he or she consciously and methodically creates a predominant mind set or something that might be called the imaginary of a generation. In the context of the Russian art world of the nineties this mission was achieved by the artistic collaboration between Vladimir Dubossarsky and Aleksandr Vinogradov. It was specifically their creative project with its sense of deflation that captured the post-Soviet era and its phantoms, desires, delusions and contradictions. One can also say that to take up this mission was by no means an easy task. After all, this was the creative programme for a whole generation and the majority of artists precisely wanted to be "the artists of their times", i.e. not to live counter to their times, or to live in the name of the future or past but to live in accordance with the laws of their times.

When describing the story of their work, Dubossarsky and Vinogradov often refer to the period at the beginning of the nineties, i.e. to the starting point of the post-Soviet transitional period.

This was a time of deep economic crisis and disastrous infrastructural decline, when art, withdrawn into a narrow tight knit community, inhabited the institutional ruins of the previous era lying prone by the wayside of the direction that society was moving in. It was precisely then that the new prospects for art were formulated in unison with the new challenges for society as defined by the liberal reformers. And it was precisely at this time that Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's project was fully formulated.
Characteristically in the context of a society in reform, the main theme of artistic discussion was social planning - a new system of art conforming to international parameters that had arrived in a rudimentary form in Russia at the time and which was imbued with the greatest expectations. This system was seen as being unshakeably market oriented, because market relations, as the liberal spin doctors explained at the time, are the source of the Western world's material happiness and the well being and a guarantee of its uncensored freedom of creativity.
The fact that the old system of art had actually died out and the new system only existed as a future prospect, gave the problem of legitimising art a particular dramatic urgency. Because artists, and especially those artists who had taken up the innovative mission of working on the artistic system of the future, found themselves in an extremely ambiguous and ill defined position at that time. The social perspective of the artist's work had a particular resonance with the processes going on in society, but because the institutions that would guarantee the artist's activities the status of art did not yet exist, society was unable to recognise this sort of artist. It was for this very reason that working on the creation of a system of art for the future was an act of synonomous devotion not so much to the system as to the institution of art per se.
Henceforth, the problem of criticising the system of art and its institutions and the termination of them or defiance towards them were removed. In other words that which had earlier defined the moral credo for artists of the Moscow underground and in those days defined the direction of the work of the majority of artists on the Western scene. It was therefore for this reason that the topic of the autonomy of art was not a relevent one. Autonomy in the form of social marginalisation that had been imputed to art by social circumstances and was perceived as onerous asocial experience. The task was seen as being something different - the creation of art capable of being suitable for a system of art, moreover an art that would even surpass the establishment of a system and affirm this system.
It was only possible to strategically carry out this task only by breaking the intellectual commandment "to be famous is ugly", and to extend the reputation of contemporary art by means of their personal social success. In practical terms this meant the conquest of the public by infiltrating the mass media machine, and this in turn was only possible by developing a new artistic language that was suitable for the mass media and the horizons of a wider public that had been nurtured by the mass media
Thus, a whole period of the history of Russian art turned out to be closed - the Moscow conceptualism of the seventies and eighties with its diffident underground foundations and its almost sectarian elitism refined by intellectualism. The exalted aristocratic perception of the artist, far removed from the mediocre mass consciousness became a thing of the past. As Vladimir Dubossarsky puts it: "The artist should not present to the public what he wants but what the public wants." Nevertheless, the question here is not about rejecting the artist's high social significance. On the contrary, to the extent that it is via the conquest of public recognition that the artist models a new system of art, he is understood both as a pop star and as a social engineer (or a spin doctor if one is to use a more apt contextual term).
A similarly heroic and creative prospect for the future was made by the explosion of utopianism that was inherent in the early 20th century historical Russian avant-garde whose legacy was so unacceptable to the conceptualists. Striding over its immediate predecessors, the artistic project of the nineties saw itself mirrored in the productivist, democratic, social ideas and precepts of the art of the twenties - in a general willingness of the artist not so much to serve his muse but the common man, in a general belief in the ability of the artist to change the world.

Although the project described above could be considered a description of a whole generation's mindset, Dubossarsky and Vinogradov had a pre-eminent relationship with it. After all, if Dubossarsky and Vinogradov can really be considered to be "the artists of a generation", then it follows that their poetics proposed a more emblematic and consistent realisation of this idea for a whole generation.
The most characteristic feature of Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's poetics is the preservation in their work of the traditional form of the picture. This benchmark decision to back the easel painting was extremely risky at the beginning of the nineties, when the culmination of its influence and recognition outlived Moscow conceptualism and their most influential opponents were the radical Actionists. This decision turned out to be an extremely strategically effective one and ensured their art immutable continuity. In actual fact, no matter how successful Actionism's strategy of winning over the public with its shock media effects and public scandals it is the picture that remains the bearer of ideas in art in the consciousness of the masses. Moreover this is true not only for the taste of the average person on the street in Russia but also the West. At the end of the day, despite the power of the institutionalised modernist machine in the West, even there the easel figurative painting is the artistic format, which excites the most interest in art from the wider public audience.
And therefore, in the final analysis it is to the stationary object, i.e. to the easel painting that the infrastructure of the system of contemporary art both as media and a representational system of exhibition and, it stands to reason, its market system, which the first post-Soviet generation was strategically aiming to create. And therefore as a means of winning over the public's recognition the picture has turned out to be as effective in the nineties, when success was defined by the artist occupying a predominant presence in the media space, as the noughties when the criteria for success took on a more market oriented character. Unlike Dubossarsky and Vinogradov, the Actionist artists were not so consistent and precise in terms of the basic strategy that they had chosen. Those of them that wanted to preserve their presence in the artistic mainstream, had to radically change the vein of their work and find for themselves a way of producing objects and forms that were capable of being sold on the market.
Yet another characteristic feature of Dubossarsky and Vinogradov is the fact that their decision to seek the recognition of the public and participate in the market is methodically thematicised in their work, i.e. is a part of the poetics of a picture. The title of one of their first artistic projects was "Commissioned Art". In this project a painting was created by them as if it had been commissioned by a specific corporate, (although hypothetical), client. A similar project was conceived by them as a series of large scale works, hypothetically commissioned by a national institution as an apologia for their state. For example, "A picture for England", "A picture for Italy", "A picture for Spain" and so on...
In addition, Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's poetics of a picture proposes that the form of the picture itself be subject to alienation and signification. This fact that they do not paint the pictures so much as stage the form of the picture is presented by them throughout all of their creative work in different ways .
Thus, the absence of any direct identity between the artist and the images created by him is already revealed in the deliberateness of their slap dash and at times shoddy painting technique.

In addition the media of the painting is exploded by the artists from within by the fact that the field of the pictorial image is constantly being invaded by images from other media sources such as cinema, press photography, advertising etc... And on the contrary they vividly demonstrate how the picture itself can also become a pictorial theme in other media. For example Velasquez's "Las Meninas" which is routinely considered to be "the most important picture in world painting", appears in one of Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's pictures produced on a computer monitor. As a result it is revealed that the picture is understood by them not as an exclusive means of getting to know the world but as one of a number of possible means of representation. This internal reflexivity of Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's art, their tendency to interiorise social goals in their artistic poetics is at the bottom of yet another thing that differentiates them from the majority of artists of their generation. The status "artist of their generation" belongs to Dubossarsky and Vinogradov in particular because they have not so much blindly followed the phantoms of the era but also alienated them, by not only devoting their art to them but also making them the subject of their work.

At the time when Dubossarsky and Vinogradov were laying the foundations of the poetics of a picture, the most lively topic of discussion in the Russian and international art worlds was the politics of identity. As Igor Zabel, the Ljubljana theoretician wrote in a text published at that time in Russian: "In the conditions of globalisation power... is deterritorialised, becoming globalised, transitional and abstract" and causes "the disappearance of any identity" . In this new situation Western civilisation came up against the fact that "modern civilisation is not necessarily Western and Western civilisation is not necessarily modern" . As a compensatory reaction the West is constructing its own phantom identity, bundling it together with the tradition of modernity and constructing equally phantasmic archaic identities of the Others.
One of these phantasmic identities is a certain "Russian essence", when "contemporary Russia explains itself not on the basis of an analysis of her objective political and economic contradictions... but it is implied that the Russians ‘by their own nature' are inclined towards authoritarian political leaders rather than developed democratic systems".

Bearing in mind that "the command points in the organisation of the world economy and the global symbolic exchange are connected with the West" , the question: "what is the place on the global stage for an artist from the peripherary?" became extremely pertinent. Because this is the precise position that Russia found itself back then, having lost, in the opinion of its own official ideologists, the Cold War and being bereft of any contemporary system of art. And if Russia at that time saw its future prospect in following Western models - both in terms of social and institutional artistic transformation then Russia also had to accept Western discoursive criteria in describing herself, i.e. look at herself through the prism of the notorious "Russian essence".
Thus, the world arts scene in which Russian art was trying to find its place at the beginning of the nineties was essentially a global market of national brands. This state of things was for the most part accepted without any objections because no contradictory theory had been articulated at that time in Russian art, with one or two exceptions . Moreover, when Russian artists produced vivid gestures of protest in reply to the Western hegemony, the Western system of art immediately "re-coded the role and meaning of their actions, by giving them a new definition: ... they became representatives of "the Other", and in this specific case - representatives of the wild, dangerous, naively critical but strangely attractive ‘Russian essence' ." And more often than not artists were making work about this "Russian essence".
In this context, Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's poetics of a picture was a highly original and multi-faceted position. On the one hand their poetics signed up fully to the rules of the game imposed by the West. Indeed, to throw on to the market of national identities the easel painting that had been sanctioned by Soviet Socialist Realism - was at that time from the point of view of the precision of its strategic calculation a gesture that had no equal. As Vladimir Dubossarsky so rightly let slip: "The icon, the Russian avant-garde and Socialist Realism are Russian art's strongest brands."
However, on the other hand, the choice of painting as a form provokes a whole plethora of complex problems that overlap the one sidedness of the politics of identity. After all, the historical and artistic idea of the picture has still not exhausted its role in the "Russian essence" category. The picture - is a European invention and to take part in this genre of Russian culture is fundamental proof of its non-ethnic and non-peripheral essence. Moreover, by dedicating one of their first works, "Picasso in Moscow", a classic of contemporary art, imbued with the gift of the genre of picture, Dubossarsky and Vinogradov recall that the picture unfailingly accompanied the artistic reforms of the twentieth century - sometimes as its counterpoint and sometimes as its accompaniment. Finally, by arranging in their paintings a marriage of the genre of the picture and (a highly degraded) Plastov and Deyneka painting style with celebrities from Western mass culture, they reveal their general complicity with the culture industry. The culture industry - as we know thanks to Theodore Adorno - is one of the most abhorrent, but also one of the most characteristic signs of modernity. Thus, having found themselves on the international arena by virtue of a precise tactical calculation, Dubossarsky and Vinogradov rolled out their critique of the attempts of the West to tie the tradition of modernity with their own phantasmic identity. They demonstrated that "modern civilisation is not necessarily Western, and that Western culture is not necessarily modern". They thus responded to the fiercest dispute of the decade about the fact that current experience is concerned with various modernities and that at the same time modernity is a broad and integrated phenomenon. They demonstrated that "in the conditions of globalisation power... is deterritorialised, becoming globalised, becoming globalised, transitional and abstract" and causes "the disappearance of any identity" In the same period that Tony Negri and Michael Hardt wrote "Empire", in which contemporary power represents a brittle balance of the most diverse polarities, Dubossarsky and Vinogradov identified the imagery of their canvases with the brittle balance of most diverse motifs and identification symbols.

Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's loyalty to the genre of the Soviet picture often provokes an association of their art with the traditions of Sots-Art. However, the poetics of Sots-Art engaged in a dialogue with the doctrine of Socialist Realism and its practice in an era when they used to play the artistic role of an unshakeable ideological authority. With conceptualism, of which Sots-Art was one of its forms, it divided the arrangement of the deconstruction of the claims of an ideology to be all powerful and all knowing. In their turn Dubossarsky and Vinogradov started their own dialogue with the Soviet artistic tradition in an age when it had become just that - a tradition. In other words when having had its aesthetic doctrine sanctioned it spent its authority, and the power that had sanctioned it had lost its claims to be all knowing and all powerful. Having substituted the Sots-Art arrangement of the deconstruction for reconstruction they began to return to contemporaneity that which had appeared to have been extinguished forever. Moved by the deconstructivist arrangement the Sots-Artists demonstrated that "the disgraceful interior" of life affirming Socialist Realist imagery is a corporeal physiology (V. Komar and A. Melamid), a sacred horror (Erik Bulatov), an existential fear (I. Kabakov) or a carnival idiocy (L. Sokov). Dubossarsky and Vinogradov in their turn take from Soviet art exactly that which Sots-Art confronts - its life affirming pathos, its impulse for totality. Understanding themselves as artistic agents proclaiming the third modernisation of the liberal modernisers, in their dialogue with Socialist Realism they were appealing to the huge modernising resource of the Soviet project.
However, having established the definition of the third modernisation by dubbing it "the reflexive modernisation", just as on these pages reflexivity has been declared an inalienable quality of Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's artistic thought. All this would have been unjustified, if Dubosarsky and Vinogradov had not understood that the return of the Soviet resource to its full extent was unfeasible, and they would not have been reflexive artists if this unfeasibility had not been turned into a subject of signification, i.e. into a theme of the work. And although reflexivity entered into art (and especially Russian art) together with conceptualism, Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's work is closer to a trend, which in the field of contemporary literature was dubbed the Neo-baroque . It was specifically in the Baroque tradition that they found that which had so interested them in Soviet painting. And Soviet painting had in its turn also borrowed its life affirming pathos and its impulse for totality from the Baroque.
The type of reflexivity that affected Dubossarsky and Vinogradov in their art also dates back to the Baroque tradition. The designation of a reflexive proximity in relation to the Soviet artistic text, as, incidentally, also to other texts used by them, is executed here not at the expense of their laboratory analysis but at the expense of their open theatricality. Neo-Baroque reconstruction, unlike conceptual deconstruction "mystifies anew and even temporarily (for the time of its presentation) makes the tongues of cultures sacred - or more precisely their fragments, shards, ruins - while at the same time not allowing us to forget about the playful "artifice" of the nature of this magic" . Similarly theatrical is Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's particular taste for revelatory illusionism, when that which has never been and can never be is authentically recreated by them. Thus, in spite of Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's "Paintings drawn from life", Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, the Beatles and not to mention Jesus Christ had never been and never could have been in Moscow.
In precisely the same way that Baroque painting in its time rejected the unified point of convergence of the renaissance perspective, likewise Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's Neo-Baroque is a reaction to the disappearance of the transcendental centre of modernism. In true Baroque style their painting is centrifugal in the impetuosity of the accumulation of details, in the sharpening of the irreducibility of the realia hurled together by them onto the canvas of the painting and in the tumescence of the physical dimensions of the pieces produced. Another Baroque symptom is the forefeit of a centre point and the artists' proclivity for lists, registers and enumeration in the reproduction of "All the fashion designers of Italy", "All the writers of Russia", "All the French impressionists", "All the masterpieces of the Tretyakov Gallery" and so on and so forth. Finally, it is Baroque's decentralised code that has allowed Dubossarsky and Vinogradov to open up their art to the experiment of the medialisation, translating the imagery of mass culture and glamour into the language of traditional painting. After all, it was to the Baroque that Baudrillard erected his theory of mass media simulacra, which in their theatricality "destroy the opposition of the Identical and the Other".
On a thematic level the link between Dubossarsky and Vinogradov with the theatricality of the Baroque methodically manifests itself in the theme of "Paradise", or to be more precise, "Earthly Paradise", which persistently runs throughout their painting. However, in so far as this theme has passed through several centuries of European culture, the system of allusions here has several historical and artistic levels. Of these, the most important for Dubossarsky and Vinogradov, alongside the Baroque, are "the Soviet" and "Mass culture". If the total illusionsim of the Baroque shaped the Catholic idea that individual salvation is possible through the festive communion of the congregation with God under the auspices of the Church, then Soviet painting had its roots in the belief that the ideal social prospect will become a reality when recreated in an authentic form. As a result of its culmination this utopian cleansing of the differences between illusions and reality takes place in the contemporary mass media consciousness, which as Gianni Vattimo formulated, leads to the "fabulation of the world - the transormation of the world into a fairy tale" .
In this methodic apprehension of the mass media "fabulation of the world" Dubossarsky and Vinogradov once again confirm their status as "the artists of a generation". The recognition that reality is synonomous with spectacle and is not authentically attainable, was until right up to the end of the nineties in its own way a private truth agreed between all the main figures of the Russian artistic scene. Baroque stage settings of their own type of "Commedia del Arte", were by their nature also the transgressive outbursts of the nineties artists against the boundaries of reality as were their attempts to focus a critical gaze on reality. Dubossarsky and Vinogradov made this gentlemen's agreement public and transforming this universal acceptance "of the fairy tale world" into a subject for depiction, i.e. by having applied the procedure of signification and thematisation afresh. With this procedure they essentially turned the social and creative ideal of a whole generation on its head, by showing that in as far as this ideal defines the imagination of a whole generation, it can be considered a reality, however the essence of this reality is a phantom.
There is also another side to this procedure. By following the traditions of the Baroque Dubossarsky and Vinogradov reveal that the theatrical delusiveness of the reality, the art it-self is becoming thematised. In this there is also the root of yet another characteristic difference between Dubossarsky and Vinogradov and the other artists of their generation. They were the only artists of the nineties' generation whose sphere of creative interest was not about some sort of phantom mega-idea such as Revolution, Academicism, Transparency and so on, but a predominantly and specifically about art. And this provides us with yet another reason to dub them "the artists of a generation", only this time with the stress on the first word - the word "artists". In actual fact, more than anyone else they first and foremost attempted to make art and only art, but an art that corresponded to their times. No more but also no less, because after all one can't choose one's times...

Schwarzenegger's Terminator drawing on a cigarette in the midst of a Russian vastness or the apotheosis of President Yeltsin surrounded by children, bear cubs and bunny rabbits - these and similar images have clearly been brought to life by an ironic mindset. Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's irony is possessed of a very ambivalent nature. On the one hand, it is produced from a positive resource that is rooted in the "fabulation of the world". It is born out of that joyful relief with which the post-Soviet generation bid farewell to the ideological moralising of the receding era. It is the desire to take nothing seriously and indifferently mock for any reason born of that euphoric feeling of empowerment, which the philosopher Valerii Podoroga described with the maxim that: "Once the Soviet Union no longer exists then everything is allowed". This is so typical of the nineties cult of mickey taking and banter that, paradoxically enough, it is an inalienable part of the utopian prospet of the generation, which could be defined as "the lightness of being" - to coin the appellation of one of Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's projects.
Moreover, on the other hand, Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's irony has not fully exhausted that subversive and critical resource, which it wielded in those days and from whence it was produced. Although having also become a form of inhabiting without conflict the triumphant banality, it in no measure abnegates the banality of the environment which it inhabits. Although having also pointed out the mass media fairy tale as the next utopia, destined for us, they in no way conceal that our "brave new world" - is a shrine to the kitch. As a result, Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's ironic art was stopped in its tracks at the critical limit, when the positive acceptance of the state of things had not yet taken on the form of conformism, and the irony had not exhausted its ability to make fun of itself.
Dubossarsky and Vinogradov cheerfully and kindheartedly accept "the inconsolable nature of earthly existence", which Walter Benjamin believed to be an inalienable quality of the culture of the Baroque This "inconsolable nature" manifests itself in Baroque art in the way that it unchangingly shows "the Non-existence of that which it depicts" and talks about its own "inherent artificiality" . And because the more convincingly the artists re-create the eternal harmony of their "earthly paradise", the more obsessively they paint beautiful, young and immortal bodies, then the more lifeless the fabric of their canvases' imagery becomes and the more obvious it becomes that "the integral factor" of their art is none other than "death" .
This postulate, that any object exists merely to be depicted and on being depicted immediately acquires the status of being non-existent, has become the ontological definition of reality in our present time. It is precisely thus according to Baudrillard (and also many others) that the mass media machine forms our picture of the world. Hence the attempts by many artists to escape from the labyrinth of media illusions, to find chinks, voids and vacuums in this deadening superficial surface . In their turn, Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's works show that they have not found any such opportunity for themselves. Having failed to find a secret escape route from the "fabulation of the world", they have, however, succeeded in feeling around its boundaries. The final frontier, on which rests the mass media machine's "de-realisation" of reality, "is the market and the laws of economics" . This openness to the market and obsessive single combat with it, which Dubossarsky and Vinogradov wage, filling it with a progressively endless stream of work, testing its strength with a progressively more deliberate shoddy execution and an accumulation of ever more obvious kitsch. And if the market in the contemporary "earthly paradise" is the sole manifestation of life, then the artists are giving impulse to progressively lifeless "celestial" images. The identical relation between death and money - is the final result of Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's creative adventure - the adventure of "the artists of a generation".
In this instance, the justification of this status is linked with the fact that although many of their generational peers have arrived at this conclusion only today, and many have yet to arrive at it, this creative endeavour was implicitly laid by Dubossarsky and Vinogradov at the very basis of their integral and consistent project. It was laid at a time when neither they nor anybody else on the Moscow scene had any real experience of the market. It is difficult to explain this sort of clear sightedness, possibly it is merely common sense or simply a great love of art...

During the creation of one of Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's works from the "The Lightness of Being" project, several brushstrokes on the canvas were applied by their collectors who could be counted among the ranks of the oligarch. This action was carefully documented by the artists and this documentation became a part of the work. Thus, their seminal project to create a system of art by employing its own personal success could be considered to have been realised.
The latest period of Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's work is being developed in an atmosphere of social stabilisation as proclaimed by the authorities, which has elicited the first signs of the establishment of a market and representational system in the world of contemporary art. This situation gave rise to an over exaggerated and, as it turned out, a hasty enthusiasm in the arts scene, in particular giving life to a number of new artistic poetics. The rhetoric of stabilisation is recognisable in the backing of spectacular forms, the thematisation of power, violence and communal sacredness. In this context Dubossarsky and Vinogradov, having invested their project in the prospect of stabilisation, are making an unexpected although logical change of direction in their work. As "Artists of a generation" they have again placed their emphasis on the first word of this epithet - "Artists".
Thematically their art is concentrating on the eternal subjects - "the Artist's Studio" and "the Imaginary Museum", but the stylistic eclecticism recognisable in the theme of the "Earthly Paradise" has been substituted for monolithic stylistics. Their poetics has acquired an intimate and subjectively lyrical character and instead of the euphoric vivacity a metaphysical and at times melancholy note has crept into their work. The disappearance of a transcendental centre that earlier turned out to be pregnant with the euphoric " lightness of being", has now turned into a feeling of revery and nostalgia. In other words, Dubossarsky and Vinogradov oppose what might be called "the New Sincerity" to the neo-archaic poetics of power.
However, just how sincere is this "New Sincerity"? To what extent is Dubosarsky and Vinogradov's new reality realistic, re-created in a hexed stylistic devoid of artistic artistry? In actual fact, even a cursory glance reveals that Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's new period is essentially their previous Neo-Baroque poetics in a new guise. The integrity of their new stylistics is the result of the compression of the most diverse formal sources into a single form, and the authentically re-created reality of their studio is full of purely Baroque figurative effects, such as the manipulation of space, the reflections of mirrors not to mention the intrusion of deliberately fantastic motifs (exotic beasts, surreal monsters and so on...). And therefore if it is justified to link Dubossarsky and Vinogradov's new poetics with realism, then what we are talking about here, is what is referred to in contemporary literature as "phantom realism" . Once again we are dealing with the signification and thematisation in their art, only this time the thematisation is about the incapacity of the artist of making an authentic announcement and the attribution of a sincere acceptance of one's own personal incapacity to be sincere.
Thus, Dubossarsky and Vinogradov have once again displayed a rare clear sightedness, by recalling that authenticity and sincerity are the attributes of pre-modern cultures, which have been irrevocably lost for their generation. After all genuine "artists of their generation" talk not only about the acquisitions but also the losses of their times.

Ceglie Messapica (Italy), April 2009