25 January, 17

Lenin – Coca-Cola: The Archive of Alexander Kosolapov

In 2016, the Aksenov Family Foundation acquired the archive of Alexander Kosolapov associated with his Lenin – Coca-Cola project, covering letters and documents from 1982 to 1992. In the course of work on the systematization of the archive, a large interview with the artist was recorded, where he spoke in detail about the development of the project, why the image of Lenin – Coca-Cola can be considered a "symbol of the century" (this was the name of the 1982 poster), and why it is still relevant today.

Alexander Kosolapov on his project

For the first time the artist created a portrait of Lenin, combined with the Coca-Cola logo and the slogan “It’s the real thing”, in 1980. In 1982, the image was released as a postcard. Igor Shelkovsky, who published the A–Z magazine and postcards of Russian artists, published the first edition in Paris. Alexander Kosolapov released the second edition in New York, and one of them — donated by journalist Vladimir Kozlovsky to Richard Pipes, Sovietologist and adviser to US President Ronald Reagan — ended up in the White House.

Almost at the end of the Cold War, Lenin and Coca-Cola, the symbols of communism and capitalism, united in one artistic field, demonstrated the absurd proximity of the two systems in the historical reality of the twentieth century.

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