Evgeny Rukhin

Russian, 1943-1976 Biography

Evgeny Rukhin easily and swiftly entered the avant-garde culture. Studying geology, he easily switched from the structure of earth with its vertical visuality to the structure of artistic materials with their horizontal formations. His images were the waste products of civilization, disposed of items – this “unenriched uranium” started its new life cycle in Rukhin’s art.

The artist’s alternative viewpoint was inseparable from his artistic behavior. He lived in absolute opposition, even to the artistic circles of his native Leningrad, and often carried on a dialog with the Lianozovo group, closely associating with its leader – Oscar Rabin. At the end of the 1960s, Rukhin’s art created in Russia a peculiar rhyme with the American version of pop art by Robert Rauschenberg. In 1966, when Rukhin was just twenty three, his work was received by the Betty Parson’s Gallery in New York, alongside artists such as Pollock, Newman, Rothko and Rauschenberg. Although Rukhin’s abstractions and morose grey-brown palette placed him in accord with the American artists, Rukhin can never be considered anything other than Russian. As his assemblages emerged in 1968, Rukhin overlaid elements of Russian antiquity such as icons, furniture and even manholes, into thickly coated surfaces that speak his heritage. Despite his cultural profundity, the artist’s legacy has yet to infiltrate Russia but remains abroad, in collections such as that of Norton Dodge.