‚ÄúAccording to Rolan Bart, I brought all the banality, kitsch, commonness out of the Soviet trash heap and into the world of high art. I took the detonator for aggression out of the arsenal of Soviet everyday symbols, and turned them into fun objects resembling traditional toys. ‚ÄĚ
Born in 1941
Leonid Sokov is seen as one of the most brilliant representatives of Sots Art. Sokov uses Soviet symbols in combination with the traditions of popular folklore, creating objects coarsely carved out of wood or wrought from metal, which look similar to wooden toys. The work is often cracked or chipped, the wooden pieces fit together poorly and are painted coarsely, giving it the rough image of a handmade item. The artist often uses combinations of popular myths and forms from the East and West, like portraits of Stalin with Marilyn Monroe, the image of the hammer and sickle turning into a dollar sign, or a ‚ÄúMarching‚ÄĚ Giacometti across from a bronze Lenin, in his work. This ironic view allows Sokov not only to lower the levels of aggression in the usual collection of Soviet symbols, but also to try and find their similarities with their antitheses: the symbols of western pop-art.
The artist has lived and worked in New York since 1980.
‚ÄúSokov was the first person who suddenly saw that ideology is folklore, and that all the Soviet visual and spoken narratives (official art, history, propaganda and similar things) can be seen as a carnival, which draws in the Hellenians and the Jews, the adherents and enemies of existing orders, social realists and social artists.‚ÄĚ Viktor Tupitsyn