Petersburg Artist Dies in Bali
Published: March 27, 2013 (Issue # 1752)
Leningrad-born pop artist Vladislav Mamishev-Monroe died in Bali at the age of 43. The artist drowned in a hotel pool on March 16th, but the death was only reported last Thursday.
Monroe was a leading figure of the 1980s, perestroika art scene. The artist’s often controversial works are self-portraits of a sort: he is best known for his adoption of the personas of pop culture icons, from Marilyn Monroe to the Soviet film darling Lyubov Orlova.
Monroe’s oeuvre also extended to artistic, political and historical heavy hitters from Christ to the Mona Lisa to Putin. In recent years, his artistic role was joined by that of activist, for gay rights in Russia.
Monroe, who took his pseudonym from the American movie star who was among his first subjects, looked at each work as a complete transformation into the figure he painstakingly imitated.
“First I copy the face of the person from photographs, change my clothes and stand in front of the camera… And then — click! And for a few seconds, the essence enters my body,” he told Moskovsky Komsomolets in an interview the very week of his death.
Monroe spoke to the Moscow-based newspaper while on a visit from Bali, where he had been living since 2007. He had returned to Russia to launch his latest project, a collection of images from his role as Polonius in a production of Hamlet, at the Moscow Multimedia Art Museum. The museum has announced that admission to the exhibit, part of the larger Fashion and Style in Photography festival, will now be free until the end of its run on May 26.
Monroe will be buried in St. Petersburg.