Avdei Ter-Oganian

Born: 1961, Rostov-on-Don

Avdei Ter-Oganian was born in Rostov-on-Don on 9 December 1961. He studied under Boris Mygas at Rostov School of Art. From 1978 to 1980, Ter-Oganian studied with Yury Shabelnikov at the painting pedagogy department of the Mitrofan Grekov School of Art in Rostov-on-Don. He was expelled in 1980, but returned to the school as a second-year student in the stage design department in 1981. After his second expulsion, Ter-Oganian began to educate himself and make art independently. At that time, he was interested exclusively in avant-garde art and the heyday of modernism, making loose copies of works by Klee, Picasso and Matisse. Ter-Oganian held his first one-man show at the Rostov-on-Don Youth Centre (1980) and was a member of Art or Death (1988–90), taking part in all the group’s exhibitions. In 1989, he and Valery Koshlyakov moved to Moscow. In 1991, in collaboration with Konstantin Reunov, Ter-Oganian established the gallery on Tryokhprudny Lane, where he staged curatorial projects and exhibitions with a Conceptual bent from 1991 to 1993. Besides such projects at the Tryokhprudny Gallery as Forwards, In the Direction of the Object, From the New and L.X.O.O.K. (1992) and Several Problems of the Restoration of Works of Modern Art (1993), he also curated the Kind Friends programme (1991) and the Forwards Gallery (1994). From 1995 to 1998, Ter-Oganian ran the School of Contemporary Art, which was essentially an artwork in its own right. He employed a Dadaist approach in his projects and held performances at the L Gallery and XL Gallery in Moscow. After the scandalous Young Atheist action in December 1998, a criminal case was initiated against Ter-Oganian and he fled to the Czech Republic, where he was granted political asylum in 1999. Wrote memoirs entitled The Great Magicians of Art. Avdei Ter-Oganian currently lives and works in Prague and Berlin. He is the father of the artist and curator David Ter-Oganian.

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