T H E  S T U D I O

Art triumphs: in his Cuernavaca studio-library, Vlady wrestles with the demons of the twentieth century.

At 1,500 metres' altitude, the tropics resemble eternal spring. Vlady's studio is located on the hill overlooking the town, hidden in a profusion of flowers, multicoloured cacti, palm trees, and ferns, all dripping with verdant liana vines.

In the centre of the studio stands the current work in progress. It was here that Vlady painted the young revolutionary in the balaclava: the image of Innocence, both victim and victor. Today, the full-length portrait of the bishop of Chiapas, Samuel Ruiz, is the work in progress. In the background, the painting of a mad Xerxes whipping up the waves of the uncaring ocean dominates the eight-metre-high space. A scaffolding enables Vlady to scale the height of the giant, ever-unfinished work to add a touch of colour, another layer of varnish. A lithography press seems to sit in waiting. By the bay window is a corner office with books, many books: Nietzsche, Malraux, Élie Faure, Jacbo Burckhardt, his dear Charles Andler, and, of course, Victor Serge's works in French, Spanish, Russian, English. Through the window, visitors catch a glimpse of a bust of Trotsky.

Within this environment mixing peaceful happiness and intellectual tumult, Vlady wrestles with the demons of the twentieth century, glorifying them or laying them to rest, then returning to transfigure them yet again.


Day by day, every artist builds an "imaginary museum" culled from his or her cultural wanderings: a war chest amassed throughout a lifetime of travel and exploration. In Vlady's imaginary museum, the great artists of the world through the centuries are called upon not only for their influence, but also for their assistance at the birth of a new work, the creation of something that is other.

In this section, we present works by Titian, Velásquez, Rubens, Delacroix, and other masters, along with Vlady's comments on his "fellow travellers."

These comments are in the form of both text and paintings.

Vlady peignant Nietzsche à la demande de Jean-Guy Rens (1999-2000). Le tableau ne sera jamais terminé.