ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, 09|17|2011 – 02|05|2012
Pavel Pepperstein
* 1966 in Moscow (RU), lives and works in Moscow

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster
, 2011

Pavel Pepperstein is one of the most acclaimed Moscow-based artists of the new generation. He is known as writer and theorist, and as one of the founders of the artists’ collective Inspection Medical Hermeneutics, established in 1987. Watercolors and drawings with written commentary are among Pepperstein’s favorite forms of artistic creation. He is thus affiliated to the tradition of Moscow Conceptualism, a movement headed by Ilya Kabakov and Viktor Pivovarov, Pepperstein’s father, both of whom started out as graphic designers and illustrators of children’s books and magazines.
In the The Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster series Pavel Pepperstein introduces Suprematist forms and ideological symbols into the depiction of a contemporary event that has global ramifications. This series makes reference to the accident on the BP oil platform in spring 2010. The oil spills on the ocean’s surface assume the shapes of Malevich’s Black Square, a swastika, a little mythological fawn, and a “sleeping face.” These symbols make up the central themes in Pepperstein’s recent creative work, while at the same time, as artistic themes seek to establish themselves as a universal visual language for the depiction of everyday reality. Similarly, oil is an important universal source of market value in capitalist means of exchange. Visual quotations, the appropriation of signs and symbols, and their surrealist reenactment are the main features of Pepperstein’s “psychedelic realism.” (DM)


The Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster, 2011