Mihail Chemiakin

Mihail Chemiakin

"St. Petersburg is largely the source of Chemiakin’s love for rich color, for carnivals, for metaphysical synthesism."

Dmitri Likhachev

Mihail Chemiakin (1943)

The prominent Russian non-conformist artist was born in Moscow in 1943. In 1967, Chemiakin founded the St. Petersburg Group of artists and developed the philosophy of Metaphysical Synthesism, dedicated to the creation of a new form of icon painting based on the study of religious art of all ages and peoples.

In 1971 Chemiakin was forced out of the USSR by the Soviet authorities. He settled first in Paris, then moved to New York City in 1980. The research begun in the 1960s into the art of all ages and peoples has developed into a collection of millions of images organized into technical, historical and philosophical categories which has earned the artist five Honorary Doctorates and is the basis for his Institute of the Philosophy and Psychology of Art. In 2002-3 Chemiakin created a series of television programs dedicated to the research for the Russian “Kultura” channel, and since 2000 curates exhibitions of his research in Hudson (New York and St. Petersburg. In 1989, the return of Chemiakin’s work to post-Communist Russia began with the first exhibition of his work in Hermitage since his exile. Subsequently, he has installed four monuments in St. Petersburg, to Peter the Great, to the Victims of Political Repressions, and to the Architects and Builders of St. Petersburg.

Chemiakin’s Cybele: Goddess of Fertility was installed in 1993 in NewYork’s SoHo. One variation on the monument to Peter the Great is on permanent display in Normandy, another in Loches, France. In 1998 Chemiakin’s Monument to Giacomo Casanova was installed in Venice in honor of the bicentenary of Casanova’s death. Dialogue between Plato and Socrates, a memorial to Professor Harold Yuker, is installed at Hofstra University in New York. In 2001 he inaugurated a monument commemorating the tercentenary of Peter the Great’s visit to London on the banks of the Thames and a monumental sculpture composition Children - Victims of the Sins of Adults in Moscow. His latest exhibitions (2013) include “Sidewalks of Paris” , State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg and “A World in Drops of Water, Museum of Water, St. Petersburg.

Chemiakin’s theatrical work began in 1967 with a production of Shostakovich’s opera The Nose at the Studio of the Leningrad Conservatory. In the 1990s he began working with performance artist Slava Polounine in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Venice, creating processions and spectacles. In 2001 Chemiakin’s version of Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker premiered at the Mariinsky Theater, St. Petersburg under the conduction of Valery Gergiev. In 2005, Chemiakin’s ballet The Magic Nut premieres at the Mariinsky Theater. In 2006 the Mariinsky Theater produced three one-act ballets (Metaphysical, The Meek One, and The Rite of Spring) with Chemiakin’s designs.

Mihail Chemiakin works in a broad range of media, from drawings to monumental sculpture, theater and cinema, and on themes ranging from the theatrical to the philosophical. Chemiakin’s work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums in the United States, Russia, France, Poland, and CIS countries.

The artist has been awarded numerous prices such as Chevalier des Arts et Lettres (France 1994) and State Prize of the Russian Federation (Russia, 1993) He is Doctor Honoris Causa of University of San Francisco, USA Academie Europeene des Arts, France Russian State University of the Humanities, Moscow

Mihail Chemiakin lives and works in Russia, USA, France.