Igor Makarevich

Stratographic Structures – Changes, Georgia, 1976

Photomontage on paper 100x100cm

Courtesy of the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey The Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union Photograph by Jack Abraham

Igor Makarevich has described life in the Soviet Union as a gradual process of annihilation, resulting from the absence of hope. “If the nonconformist artist did not comply officially, he stopped existing. He was blotted out, erased.” In Stratigraphic Structures the gradual extinction of the individual human spirit is depicted metaphorically through a series of manipulated photographic images. Makarevich often works with serial photographic portraits and plaster casts of faces, arranged in a grid formation. Each row of the grid shows a face gradually fading, being bound and silenced, or disappearing completely. The face in the first image in the upper left corner of the grid is completely intact and serene in expression. In the lower right corner, the expression has become clearly anxious and straining, with tightly closed eyes and a furrowed brow.

Igor Makarevich is one of the most important Conceptual artists in Moscow. For Makarevich, who attended both the Moscow Art School and the Moscow Institute of Cinematography, photography has always been connected with conceptual art, and he was one of the first artists in Moscow to start using photography in this way. Makarevich's photo-series Stratigraphic Structures-Changes, represents analytical research into the artist's own face and body as they slowly disappear under a gypsum mask.