Vladimir Yankilevsky

Born: 1938, Moscow

Painter, sculptor, graphic artist, photographer, object artist, installation artist, illustrator, designer, applied artist. Born in the family of Boris Yankilevsky in Moscow (1938). Studied at the Moscow Secondary School of Art (1949–56), under Andrei Goncharov and Ivan Chekmazov at the Faculty of Art of Moscow Institute of Polygraphy (1957–62) and simultaneously under Ely Belyutin at the studio for raising qualifications of Moscow Institute of Polygraphy. Designed books and magazine illustrations (from 1962) and worked as a cinema designer and director (1977–81). One of the unchallenged leaders of modern Russian art for over thirty years. Contributed to the infamous exhibition at the Moscow Manège visited by Nikita Khruschev (1962) and all other main exhibition projects and actions of unofficial Soviet culture. Joined the Sretensky Boulevard Group (Ernst Neizvestny, Ülo Sooster, Ilya Kabakov and Eric Bulatov). Did much to raise the international authority of unofficial Soviet art. One of the few representatives of the first generation of nonconformists to contribute to the international art process. Lives and works in Moscow, Paris and New York (from 1989). Contributed to exhibitions in Russia (from 1962) and abroad (from 1965), including a one-man show at the Moscow Institute of Biophysics (1965) and a retrospective at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow (1995).

The early stage of Vladimir Yankilevsky’s career was synonymous with Surrealist painting and graphic art, when his favourite image appeared, synthesising anthropomorphic and technogenic forms (from late 1950s). Created large polyptych assemblages based on the contrast between the transient and eternal and the real and metaphysical, combining painterly illusion with such details of real objects as doors from communal apartments, clothes and bags (from 1972).

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