Lenin by Komar & Melamid

Lenin Candlesticks
designed 1992
set of four ceramic candlesticks
10 x 6 x 3 inches, each
edition of 100 sets


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Komar & Melamid have created white ceramic candlesticks entitled, Lenin (1992). An existing statue of Lenin, which the artists brought with them from Russia, was appropriated and modified to accommodate a one-half inch standard candle. With this edition the statue of Lenin has been transformed from domestic monument to banal consumer commodity.

Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid were both born in Moscow on the heels of World War II and the ensuing Cold War era. The Cold War was, first and foremost, a conflict of political ideologies between the democratic powers of the west and the communist super power of the east. It was during this political climate that Komar & Melamid, whose collaboration began while attending the Moscow Art School from 1958 to 1960, started making work that exemplified this political dynamism, rigorously testing the boundaries of their own civic identities with humor and sharp satire. Komar & Melamid, the identity the duo would come to adopt, immigrated to America in the late 1970s where they continued to examine the political implications of communist society through numerous projects. Lenin reveals the war that has since endured — the war of market economics.