Stuffed monkeys displayed in the Zoological Museum of Moscow led Oleg Kulik to the discovery of the fundamental law of man’s relationship with the surrounding world: kill everything and display it beautifully. The monkeys look alive in the photos, despite the apparent signs of the taxidermist’s work: stiches, glassy eyes. And so, it becomes obvious that art contradicts and is even hostile towards life. The piece vividly and sharply highlights the Shakespearean tragedy of a man’s existence in the world. But the tragedy not for a man, but for the world. Each facial expression of the stuffed monkey reads as “You lose this world and yourselves above all else”.
1998. Plasticization on dibond. 100 х 75 cm
Born in 1961 in Kiev. One of the key figures of contemporary Russian art. In 1994 Kulik first appeared in the guise of a dog- initially in Moscow, then in Kunsthalle in Zurich. The stage of animals in his art lasted 13 years until it was replaced by his interest in the idea of transparency at the end of the 1990ies. At that time the artist created Plexiglas sculptures and objects. In 2002 he exhibited “effigies” of people, the symbols of Russia: of a tennis player, an actress and a cosmonaut, in the Moscow Zoological museum. In the middle of 2002 he started enjoying spiritual practices, his exhibition “I believe” in Moscow was the opening show at Vinzavod, the Centre for contemporary art. In 2009 Kulik was invited as the stage director of the opera "Vespers for the Virgin Mary» (Vespro della Beata Vergine) by Claudio Monteverdi in the "Châtelet" theatre in Paris. Oleg Kulik participated in The Venice Biennale and Manifesta, he exhibited in the Guggenheim Museum in New York, as well as other large museums worldwide. As Kulik himself says, his biography is that image that the public opinion imposed upon him.