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Latest Saatchi exhibition portrays the last few years of Russian communism

The real stars of the new exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery shows contemporary Russian art in a new light as it showcases the outcasts of society including government bureaucrats, criminals, ordinary people, drug addicts, and criminals. There are 18 artists that contributed to the exhibit many of which decided to focus their artwork on those who were destroyed by the Communist collapse.

The pictures were taken during 1997 and 1998 during the last few years of Boris Yeltsin’s presidency and show people that have been forced to live on the fringes of society in Kharkov. The idea is to show that while the end of Communist Russia helped bring freedom and wealth opportunities to many, for those in the oligarchy it ruined their lives.

There are plenty of faces caught on camera with age lines that look years older than they should. There are also plenty of signs of drug abuse, alcoholism, and violence. The subjects posed for the camera and in return for their help were fed and paid by Mickhailov.

Gallery director, Rebecca Wilson, stated that it was the disturbing photos took by Mickhailov that actually spared the interest in art from Russia leading to the new Saatchi Gallery. It ended up in Saatchi also choosing to buy many of the pieces that were on display at the exhibition.

The showcase was named after a Stalin quote that read ‘Gaiety is the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union’ and is the next in a series of exhibits that have shown the dark side of other countries as well including the US, Middle East, and China. Wilson added that these exhibits are a chance to see a side of a country that is not talked about or really even known.

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