VASILY SHULZHENKO (RUSSIAN B. 1949)
Public Toilet, 1991/1999
oil on canvas
120 x 150 cm. (47 1/4 x 59 in.)
signed lower right; signed, dated, and titled on verso
Although Shulzhenko was born in Moscow, where the artist lives and works, much of his oeuvre features that which is - both literally and figuratively - marginal. The subjects of his frank and often graphic paintings are situated in transitional spaces: the street, the village, the public restroom, and, most obviously, the verges of society. Simultaneously, the artists` works, imbued with a Bacchanalian facetiousness, are equal parts inflammatory social commentary and light hearted gag joke. Shulzhenko`s men and women are conventionally unattractive, their bodies and faces as frequently distorted by alcoholism and anger as they are by lust and laughter. While heavily featuring the grotesque, the artist frequently comments on and subverts conventional artistic narratives.