In 1980 Sokolov ‘s house and about 400 paintings were destroyed by fire: “For nearly 10 hours a day I worked to restore the house and then went back into the dark, black rooms with torch or candle, began to work and drew for an hour or may be two. The result was the ‘House without a Master’ series. I think it was one of the most important series of my life, when I discovered construction as against decoration”.He struggled to communicate this feeling of extreme unease, which he identified with his wartime childhood, through the material he used for abstract pictures. “For ‘The Cross’ (1991), for instance. I used wrapping paper, on which I glued aluminium foil, which I had burned round the edges with a blow-lamp – I needed to create tension, and to do that you don’t have to show running soldiers or trenches (I wasn’t of an age to see trenches), you can convey the idea without figurative form” (interview “Monmartre by the Butyrka”).