British Museum collections, £12.99
Vita nuova: the criminal unlimited, cast bronze medal by Georgy Postnikov
Russia, AD 1993
A wheel spinning out of control
This medal is an attack on the rise of Mafia-inspired criminal activity after perestroika (the policy or practice of reforming the economic and political system) and the collapse of Communism in Russia.
Unlike the medals of fifteenth-century Italy, modern pieces like this are not made on commission: the artist has had a free hand and has felt able to experiment with the genre, introducing abstract or semi-abstract visual formulae derived from other art forms. Here the human figure is still used as the starting point, bodies combined to make a pattern which is also an allegory of greed and viciousness.
J.C.H. King (ed.), Human image (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)