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Calling to mind the work of Ed Ruscha, Gerhard Richter and Alexander Rodchenko, all mixed into one, the politically laced paintings and drawings of the Russian-born, Paris-based artist Erik Bulatov generally begin with finely rendered landscapes, skies, and urban settings, sometimes populated by crowds or passersby, and end with powerful, graphic texts or symbols painted over and partially obscuring the original image. Born in 1933 in Sverdlovsk, now Ekaterinburg, in the Ural Mountains, Bulatov is one of a small but influential group of Russian artists, including Ilya Kabakov, who found a way to make independent artistic statements outside of the tightly controlled State system during the Communist era. His paintings, which play with the conventions of Social Realism, manage to convey a deep criticality and a sense of optimism at once. This volume features paintings from the late 80s to the present, a selection of heretofore unpublished drawings, and an original essay by the artist