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.
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.