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Shinkarev, Vladimirfree

Russian, 20th century, male.

Born 1954, in Leningrad (now St Petersburg).

Painter, writer.

A St Petersburg–based artist, Vladimir Shinkarev graduated from the Department of Geology at Leningrad State University (now St Petersburg State University). He went on to enrol in courses at the Leningrad Vera Mukhina Higher School of Art and Design (now St Petersburg Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design) as well as the Ilya Repin Leningrad Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (now the Russian Academy of Arts). Shinkarev draws upon an extensive range of inspiration and source material in his body of work, including mass and popular culture, kitsch, classical literature, comic strips, television, cinema, folk arts and crafts, and religious iconography.

Following the publication of his absurdist book Mitki in 1984, Shinkarev became a founding member of the eponymous group Mitki, a collective of dissident artists, writers, musicians, and performers who challenged Soviet ideology and the state-sanctioned aesthetics of Socialist Realism through their satirical poetry, prose, music, cinema, performances, and art. Like many dissident groups in Leningrad during the Brezhnev era, Mitki published samizdat writings (literature banned by the Soviet state), organised unofficial exhibitions, and staged underground concerts. The direct and confrontational address of the lubok – popular, inexpensive, and mass-produced woodblock prints – inspired the work of the Mitki group in general and Shinkarev in particular. Shinkarev is deeply influenced by the subject matter and style of early avant-garde artists Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova of the Russian neo-primitivist movement of the early twentieth century. Shinkarev typically works in series and offers deep meditations on individual subjects such as literature and cinema. Shinkarev’s work traverses various artistic genres such as portraiture, including portraits of historical figures such as Vladimir Lenin, landscape painting, and still life. In The Suite of Joy series, for instance, Shinkarev incorporates hand-written and stencilled text for primitive and conceptual effect. Gloomy Pictures explores the monochromatic landscapes of the peripheries of his hometown of St Petersburg. Shinkarev also explores themes beyond his immediate environs. In World Literature (1997–1999) Shinkarev investigates canonical works of literature such as The Iliad, The Divine Comedy, Crime and Punishment, and The Metamorphosis. Similarly, Shinkarev explores the history of narrative cinema in his series World Cinema (2001–2006). Shinkarev is also the author of Maxim and Fydor.

Group Exhibitions

2013, Miquel Barceló, Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, St Moritz

2015, The Art of Being Right Here, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow

2016, Mitki, Galerie Vinogradov, Berlin

Solo Exhibitions

1999, Gloomy Paintings, The State Centre of Modern Art, St Petersburg

1999, World Literature, The State Russian Museum, St Petersburg

2000, Mitki in the UN, United Nations Headquarters, New York

2001, World Literature, White Space Gallery, London

2004, The Great Chinese Wall, Nomi, St Petersburg

2008, Vladimir Shinkarev, Galerie Bruno Bischoberger, Zurich

2014, New Epoch, Galerie Bruno Bischoberger, Zurich

Museum and Gallery Holdings

London (The Victoria and Albert Mus.)

Moscow (The State Tretyakov Gal.)

St Petersburg (Erarta MoCA)

St Petersburg (The Historical Mus.)

St Petersburg (The Mus. of Non-Conformist Art)

St Petersburg (The State Hermitage Mus.)

St Petersburg (The State Russian Mus.)


  • Gurevich, Liubov: Vladimir Shinkarev, St Petersburg, 2006.
  • Müller, Tobias/Shinkarev, Vladimir: Vladimir Shinkarev: Cinema Paintings, exhibition catalogue, Edition Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich, 2008.
  • Müller, Tobias/Sokalski, Silvia: Vladimir Shinkarev: Gloomy Paintings, exhibition catalogue, Edition Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich, 2008.