Maxim Komar-Myshkin’s Vladimir’s Night is a hybrid of a children book, an exceedingly gory martyrdom and, perhaps, a twisted political treatise. Here, Vladimir (Putin, although the name is never mentioned), is both a little child and a political leader vacating in his summer mansion. Before falling asleep he is joined in bed by numerous animated objects. What begins as merry frolicking soon turns violent; Vladimir is molested, tortured and finally murdered by them.
Komar-Myshkin was the pseudonym of the fictive Russian poet Efim Poplavsky (1978-2011), who immigrated to Tel Aviv in the early 2000’s. Suffering from acute paranoia, Poplavsky believed that Putin had a personal vendetta against him, and that his assassination was pertinent. The album, an artistic revenge of sorts, was created in secrecy and discovered after Poplavsky committed suicide.
Vladimir’s Night continues both the tradition of Russian illustrated books and that of the albums created by Moscow’s unofficial artists of the 1970s, such as Kabakov and Pivovarov. It also contains a plethora of allusions and references, disclosing, perhaps, its author’s conspiratorial perception. The publication and exhibition of the work will thus be accompanied not only by an English translation of the poem, but by an expansive annotation that will also narrate Poplavsky’s short life.
Vladimir is at his summer mansion.
He is having dinner.
Maxim Komar-Myshkin, Vladimir’s Night # 1
With Vladimir is his best girlfriend.
She loves him so much that she serves the meal dressed as a dog.
Maxim Komar-Myshkin, Vladimir’s Night # 2
Things begin to enter Vladimir’s face.
He tries to call his mother, but she is dead.
Roee Rosen, Vladimir’s Night, number 18, 2012
Bottom: the coat of arms of Birobidzhan, the Jewish oblast established by Stalin; Aleksander Rodchenko and Vladimir Mayakovsky, a poster advertising Red October cookies, 1923
Now that the dog is dead,
The little pitchfork wants to be Vladimir’s best friend.
He shoves his head between the boy’s buttocks and explores:
Such big cucumbers they sell these days in stores!
Maxim Komar-Myshkin, Vladimir’s Night # 23
Vladimir’s belly is filled with complicated matter,
You cannot find a pin within that serpentine intestine pile.
Do not despair, dear Diner’s Club, American Express and Master-
Card, soon Vladimir will be disemboweled.
Maxim Komar-Myshkin, Vladimir’s Night # 21
Maxim Komar-Myshkin, London Calling
From the Astrological Paranoia series, currently exhibited in Cargo Cult, Bat Yam Museum of Art, Israel
Maxim Komar-Myshkin, The King of Poland Cleans Horse Sperm From the Thigh of Catherine the Great
The Buried Alive Group Emblem; Read the Manifesto here
Maxim Komar-Myshkin, A Witness From Beyond (I Was Killed By Putin)
Maxim Komar-Myshkin, Sick Jewish Skies (The Doctors’ Conspiracy)