Borisovich Yankilevsky

Russia • 1938−2018

Biography and information

He studied at the Moscow Art School (1949–1956).

At the same time studying at the Polygraphic Institute (1957-62) he studied at the school-studio of E.M. Byelutina. He began to exhibit his belongings along with other “Belyutins”, was an eyewitness to the scandal in the Manege in 1962, when N. Khrushchev attacked the avant-garde with abuse. In the same year, he organized his first solo exhibition (together with E.I. Unknown) at Moscow State University on the Lenin Hills. Since 1965 he showed his things abroad (starting from Poland and Italy).

In the 1960s, a peculiar surrealistic style emerged, embodying the conflicts and mutual penetration of the human and technogenic worlds. The works are in the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum, the Pushkin Museum im. A.S. Pushkin.

He received his first painting lessons from his father, artist Boris Yankilevsky. In 1949-1956 he studied at the Moscow secondary art school at the Institute. V.I. Surikova. In 1962 he graduated from the Printing Institute.

In November 1962, at the invitation of Eli Belyutin, his former teacher at the Printing Institute, Yankilevsky as an independent artist participated in a resonant exhibition at B. Communist (“Taganka”). A few days after the Taganka, Yankilevsky’s work was presented at the exhibition “30 years of Moscow Artists Union” in the Manege, where his paintings were sharply criticized by N. S. Khrushchev.

The years following this event, Vladimir Yankilevsky, to earn a living, works as an artist-designer at Moscow publishing houses, and most of the time in his studio is engaged in graphics and painting. For many years he was not able to publicly display his works in the exhibition halls. In 1975, he participated in an exhibition in the beekeeping pavilion at the Exhibition of Economic Achievements in Moscow. In 1978, his first retrospect exhibition was held in Moscow.

The original direction of creativity, which is developing by Vladimir Yankilevsky, can be called epichesi expressionism. The cycle of compositions over which the artist began to work in the early 60s, united under the general name “Space of Experiences” and underlying the whole work of Yankilevsky, is an attempt to create an image of the play of world forces through human experience. In this sense, these “abstract” compositions are psychological and therefore dramatic. Already in these years, a fundamental concept of his work was formed. This is a Man against the backdrop of Eternity. Woman and man humanize the idea of world harmony. The original concept of the triptych of Vladimir Yankilevsky became the main form of his work, the energetic basis of which was the image of the interaction of the feminine and masculine principles in the world in the broadest, universal sense, bearing a hidden erotic meaning.

In the 1970s, another existential idea in the artist’s work was “existential boxes”, personifying the limited space of human existence - a contradiction between dreams and the restrictions imposed by the social environment. The first in this series and conceptually fundamental was the object “Door (Dedicated to the parents of my parents ...)” in 1972, where the character - the object is in the space between the relevance of the front door and the infinite space of the horizon.

Yankilevsky's works were shown at 40 personal (in Moscow, St. Petersburg, New York, Bochum, Paris and London) and more than 170 group exhibitions, including the RUSSIA! at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2005

Today, the work of Vladimir Yankilevsky is represented in major Russian museums and leading museums in the world, in particular, in the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum, and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Pushkin Museum of Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Ludwig Museums (Cologne, Budapest), Georges Pompidou Center (Paris), Dresden National Gallery, Bochum Museum, Zimmerli Museum (collection of non-conformist art by Nancy and Norton Dodge, USA), Prague National Gallery, in Athens collections by George Kostaki, Collections of the “persecuted art” by Kend and Jacob Bar-Gera, as well as in other leading museums and famous private collections in Russia and abroad.

Since 1989, Vladimir Yankilevsky has been living and working in New York, Paris and in Moscow.