(Mikhaylovich) [Chemiakin, Mihail]
(b Moscow, May 4, 1943).
Russian painter, graphic designer, sculptor and publisher. One of the most important representatives of the St Petersburg tradition of nonconformist art, he was born to a military family and spent his early years in the German Democratic Republic. His family returned to the USSR in 1957 and until 1961 he studied at the secondary school of art attached to the Il’ya Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, Leningrad (now St Petersburg). His work combines the World of Art tradition with the surreal grotesque, portraying the world as a colourful carnival, intimidating in its terrifying metamorphoses, but drawing upon a wealth of artistic styles and psychologically striking tones. He was a master of the anarchic, bohemian life, and the poet Andrey Voznesensky (b 1933) described him as the ‘black prince of the Russian Underground’. After confrontations with the authorities, notably his participation in a group exhibition by underground artists of the ...