Thursday, September 21, 2023

"Genetics" - Remarks on a satirical painting

"Genetics", 1983 Soviet painting by Aleksandr Kosolapov

From around the web, a collection of remarks on this curious painting:

“The presented painting of Kosolapov 'Genetics', 1983 refers to saying 'Genetics is imperialistic whore', that was really popular among Soviet intellectuals. There was a legend that impudent phrase belongs to academic Trofim Lysenko while contribution he denounce categorically and proclaimed 'reactionary-idealistic Morganism-Mendelism' as antiscience—in favour of Michurin agrobiology. But, in fact, this phrase belongs to satiric writer Alexander Khazin and first time appeared in his play 'Magicials live next to us' (1964). In his painting Alexander Kosolapov literally visualize devaluate phrase by depicting naked acrobat 'girl' looking in microscope and governmental department at the background. Making a parody of aesthetic of order propaganda painting Kosolapov decorates the painting with life affirming symbols: bird on the green branch, piles of books, pioneers who are visible between the legs and red flags of course with the clear blue sky as a background."


The painter was an emigrant. The picture is a reference to the popular expression of the Stalinist biologists: The genetical science is a slut of imperialism! In the times of Stalin, genetics was considered a false science and was dismissed by the official biology, which preferred to believe in the inheritable changes.’”


“Only ten years after Lysenko, the powerful Soviet pseudo-scientist who rejected Mendelian genetics and set biology in the USSR back a hundred years, died. Maybe his spirit lived on.”

“Socialist Surrealism.”


“1983?  In fact, in the Brezhnevian Era such representation would have been censored and considered ‘degenerate art.’”


“In 1983, Kosolapov lived in the US, presumably stripped of Soviet citizenship. It’s a satirical sots-art movement painting.”

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