Mihail Chemiakin (Russian, b.1943)
Also known as: cemiakin, Mikhail; Cemiakin, Mikhail; Chemiakin, Michel; Chemiakin, Mikhail; Mikhail Shemyakin; Shemyakin, Mikhail Mikhaylovich; Chemiakin, MihailBirth Place: Moscow (Moskva autonomous city, Rossiya republic, Russia)
Who is painter/sculptor Mihail Chemiakin?
Mihail Chemiakin is a Russian painter and sculptor whose contributions to the nonconformist art movement of St. Petersburg has changed the face of the modern Russian art world. What would start out as an underground movement led by Chemiakin has now been embraced by Russia as one of its legacies to the world. Chemiakin remains an active artist to this day, working on sculptures, public works, and animation.
Chemiakin was exiled from the (then) Soviet Union in the 1970s due to his art. He spent that decade and part of the next in France and New York City. The 1990s saw Chemiakin move back to his native country, working as a set designer for ballets for the Mariinsky Theatre, a television series, and other illustration projects. In 2001, he was commissioned by the city government of Moscow to create the monument Children are the Victims of Adult Vices. It stands just 2000 feet away from the Kremlin.
What kind of art does Mihail Chemiakin make?
Mihail Chemiakin makes figurative sculptures and paintings, often of religious or political figures. His art is notable for its skewed perspective and subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle) critiques of these power structures. He uses bright and often jarring colors to create a sort of dreamscape for his characters to inhabit. While these surrealist tendencies might be harsh at first, there is a sort of internal logic to any Chemiakin piece. Where once there was controversy, his work has now been embraced by the establishment of Russia -- making Chemiakin one of the country’s greatest living artists.
How did artist Mihail Chemiakin get started?
Mihail Chemiakin was born to a military family in Moscow during World War II. While his father was a decorated White Army officer, his mother was an actress and poet -- who also happened to serve in the cavalry during World War II, often riding with her husband into battle. While Chemiakin was born in Russia, his early years were spent in East Germany, where his father was stationed. He eventually studied at the Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in Leningrad. Chemiakin was expelled for failing to conform with the Socialist Realism aesthetics taught at the school. Eventually, he would land at the Hermitage museum, where he would meet many like-minded artists in the late 1960s. In 1967 they formed St. Petersburg, an art collective based on their metaphysical and artistic aesthetics.
How much are Mihail Chemiakin paintings worth?
Mihail Chemiakin’s paintings are worth thousands of dollars. On the high end, a piece could be sold in the mid-five-figures. The most ever paid for a Mihail Chemiakin painting is $67,440 for the painting Untitled (1985) on June 12th, 2008. It’s a strange piece, even by Chemiakin’s standards, depicting two semi-nude characters in various states of undress. Chemiakin has sold many paintings in the $40,000 - $50,000 range.
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