Selected works by Sergey Pakhomov

Sergey Pakhomov
Russian Landscape


Acrylic on canvas, wood

Ten parts, each: 200 x 80 cm

A DIY, punk aesthetic runs through the work of Sergey Pakhomov, whether it be his outsiderish paintings, ranting microphone performances, or his notorious participation in underground cult films. Pakhomov utilises a lo-fi theatricality to present his own take on how to define the Russian tradition, defending a staunchly anti-commercial stance feeding on so-called vulgar, popular visual culture, and pointing to its embeddedness within a larger culture of the absurd.

Sergey Pakhomov
382 Sins


Acrylic and enamel on canvas

200 x 170 cm

Pakhomov’s multi-part paintings on wooden panels, such as the vibrant Russian Landscape, contain a faint echo of traditional altarpieces and fold-out icon paintings. But with their bold, expressionistic style combining text and image, they also mirror the immediacy of political posters and picket signs. Each of the ten panels illustrates scenes suggesting burning, violence and chaos, factory work and barren landscapes. These vignettes serve as a narrative backdrop, but the real star of the work is Pakhomov’s exuberant use of arresting, irregular lettering that captions each frame like an engorged, almost irrational headline.

Sergey Pakhomov
Ya Pakhom!


Fibreboard, acrylic, ink, spray enamel, varnish

16 parts, each: 40 x 60 cm

Repetition and the confection of a lunatic-like self-regard permeate much of Pakhomov’s practice. Ya Pakhom! [I, Pakhom] is made up of 16 smaller fibreboard panels encrusted with irregular geometric shapes and unified by a motto in yellow – his name, ludicrously dancing around each frame to the point where signature, and value, become nonsense speech. Pakhomov’s regard for the unsung and the irregular is highlighted in 382 Sins, in which strange blue shapes are framed by a litany of ‘sin’ written 382 times in undulating handwriting recalling the hand-made signs written and held up, like icons, in public spaces by society’s outcasts.

Lupe Nùñez-Fernández


April 2012, Dialog between Pahom and Osmolovsky, Guelman Gallery

The exhibition is dedicated to my late uncle, who lived as best he could, and died like a milksop.
This is the altar of the poor and the miserable, the invisible, but endowed by God with the ability to express themselves.
My altar is the altar of the poor in spirit and poor in body. This is a picture of the Russia that never existed.


Sergey Pakhomov: Hi, Anatoly, I am Sergey Pakhomov. You know me.
As a child I watched an Italian film about a painter-maniac who murdered girls all the time. He had a home altar, similar to a folding set of icons or a small cupboard. And I was deeply affected then, firstly, because, like any Soviet boy I was drawn to everything bourgeois, and secondly, it was an ALTAR... And this dreadful man, this maniac came home, though perhaps I am inventing some of this, and opened his folding set of icons, not related to any particular faith, but filled namely with the traditional altar meaning of worship. So, this is what I want to talk about.
Tell me, what does the altar mean for you?
Anatoly Osmolovsky: Hi, Sergey! This is a serious subject. It seems to me that the altar has a certain form, but the content may differ. And modern artists of the past five to seven years have been reflecting on this subject actively. That is why I think your work is very interesting. First and foremost, what is of interest is the position of the holy fool, the madman. It comes from the nineties, and, in fact, you are a man of the nineties.
SP: Of course. Continuity is very important to me.
AO: And mind you, this current subject is being talked about not only in artistic, but also in everyday life around us. In Russia the Church and certain religious rituals are becoming topical. Millions queue up to venerate the Holy Belt of the Virgin. People are drawn to the spiritual, though for them the spiritual means only religion and rituals. But I have no intention of discussing or criticising this...
SP:...and perhaps they are even drawn to such mysteries as death...
AO: Wait, I'm expressing my point of view, when I finish, you'll have your say. In this sense, artists, the perceptive artists, cannot but respond to it. I have also made such works and continue to do so, and I think about this subject... And I even have my own hypothesis, that there is a particular subversive atmosphere to which we, on the one hand, are compelled to react, but, on the other, it is actually interesting for us to do so.
And so, in this sense, I'd be very interested to see what you will do because you have your own, very original, position, which is uncompromising. You even started our conversation with a harsh, hardcore example – with a maniac. Therefore, it will be exceedingly interesting for me to see what you fill this form with.


June 25, 2008, Far From Moscow

Pahom's real name is Sergei Pakhomov and - before starting a "musical" career (I use the term loosely), he was well-known as a visual artist. Slowly, however, he lost faith in the art world. For a series of interviews that map his growing concern over the commercialization of post-Soviet painting (together with footage that shows Pahom sporting normal body-hair), take a look here.
And so he put down his brushes and picked up a mic. What we now have are seventeen utterly formless, rambling, curse-laden monologs, opening with the track "Truth for the People" (Pravda dlia liudei). To hear a middle-aged, unattractive man spew rhythmically slurred lyrics over a funky backdrop might bring to mind parallels with Captain Beefheart.



Сергей Пахомов: Хвать — и готово. А где хватать?
Вы почему на концертах зрителей все время обижаете? Педерастами называете. Это что за позиция?
Любое действие — стратегическое, даже поневоле. Это с одной стороны. А вторая часть — эмоционально-спонтанное начало, которое очень важно для меня в творчестве, да и вообще важно. Я же импровизирую. Вот только сейчас встретил Баширова, и он спросил меня: «А жив ли ты еще?» Потому что, действительно, мое творчество на грани самопожертвования и самоотдачи. Не жалея живота своего, до конца. Люблю людей в искусстве, которые истово относятся к тому, что делают. Рядышком с истовостью сразу оказываются экстаз и экстатизм. Через экстаз приходит — может и не истинное — чувство величия, чувство свободы, чувство радости того, что мы все живем на белом свете.
Еще скорость реакции — очень важно. Большой город, все должно быть мгновенно, быстро. Увидел, подумал, переосмыслил мгновенно — и выдал. Выдал — появилась реакция на то, что ты выдал. Переосмыслил — новое выдал, следующее.
Но посмотришь на то, какие картины Вы пишете, какие песни делаете — это же не реакция там на события происходящие, а про какие-то внутренние вещи.
Ну, естественно. Надо всегда говорить: я — это я — и себя отстаивать, свою вотчину отстаивать в искусстве. Только в себе надо копаться и все выражать свое. Хвать — и готово. А где хватать? Только в себе, внутренний космос. И внешний там космос. И вообще — космос, скоро туда все полетим. Все вместе полетим в космос, самолеты Virgin уже готовы, 200 тыщ стоит билет — все полетим в космос.
Да, про космос. Вы страничку на myspace сами ведете?
Нет. Я вообще человек хитрый, жадный, расчетливый. И мне стоит близко всех вокруг себя нагрузить, натрындеть, — и друзья, знакомые уже начинают все делать. Главное не обманывать их — и тогда они с удовольствием и страничку сделают, и выпустят пластинки, и выставки организуют. Последние лет 10—15 я вот так действую — мне все пред-ла-га-ют. И я говорю: с удовольствием поучаствую, с удовольствием сделаю. Не боюсь никакой грязной работы, пальцем в небо не боюсь попасть. Сейчас вот буду сниматься еще в двух фильмах студенческих. Брошу работу начальником — ну я же начальник, работаю в офисе, арт-директор — брошу работу и пойду к вам сниматься в кино, студенты мои дорогие. И мы в Каннах сразу все премии возьмем. В общем, мир устроен справедливо. Главное, не болеть — вот и все.