Mikhail Roginsky

Born: 1931, Moscow
Died: 2004, Paris

Painter, teacher. Born in the family of Alexander Roginsky in Moscow (1931). Studied under Mikhail Perutsky at the Moscow School of Art (1946–50), which was closed down for Formalism and transformed into the 1905 School of Art (1950–51). Graduated with a degree in theatrical design. Designed sets and costumes for theatres in Severodvinsk, Lysva, Pskov and Zlatoust (1954–60). Returned to Moscow (1960), where he taught at the Moscow City Children’s School of Art on Kropotkin Street (1963–69 OR 1962–77) and the Nadezhda Krupskaya University for Distance Learning (1969–76). One of the first Russian Pop Artists (1960s). Painted large realistic images of such Soviet household items as saucepans, matchboxes and irons (early 1960s). Signalled the start of a new “objective” period in Russian art with the three-dimensional work Red Door (1965). Emigrated to France (1978), lived and worked in Moscow and Paris (1978–2004). Returned to pure painting, depicting scenes from the lives of simple Russians (1990s). Died in Paris (2004). Contributed to exhibitions in Russia (from 1962) and abroad (from 1978), including one-man shows in Paris (1980), Beneth Gallery in Tel Aviv (1982), Galerie Georges Lavrov in Paris (1983), Galerie Studio in Hamburg (1987), Galerie Georges Lavrov in Paris (1988), Predecessors of Russian Pop Art in collaboration with Mikhail Chernyshov and Boris Turetsky at the Central House of the Artist in Moscow (1998), George Soros Centre of Contemporary Art in St Petersburg (1999) and Pedestrian Zone at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow (2000) and a major retrospective at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow (2002).

In the early 1960s, Mikhail Roginsky painted a series of pictures, presenting subjects and situations from everyday life – “crude reality” – in close-up. The artist’s “heroes” were flats, kitchens, bus stops, underground stations, primus and gas stoves, matchboxes and trousers. His stylistics of representation were orientated on the stylistics of the Soviet street and railway poster.

In 1965, Roginsky crossed over from picture images to objects and assemblages (the Walls cycle of large plane-tables with real switches). Red Door (1965) was the first ready-made in Soviet art. Such works are generally classified as prototypes of Pop Art.

After emigrating to Paris in 1978, Mikhail Roginsky continued to paint. He recalled the Moscow communal existence while assimilating a new lifestyle. The artist’s later oeuvre can be regarded as a form of Neo-Expressionism betraying a Pop Art relationship with banal subjects.

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