Alexander Yulikov


Born 1943, Viatskie Poliany, Kirov district

Aleksandr Yulikov was born in a village in the Kirov district of Russia, where his family was sent to live during World War II. After the war in 1945, the family returned to Moscow, where Yulikov was raised. From 1961 to 1965, he studied at the Moscow School of Industrial Arts (formerly know as the Stroganov School). He continued his education in the graphics department of the Moscow Polygraphic Institute, from which he graduated in 1969. Upon graduation, he began to work as a graphic designer of books.

Working principally in Moscow, in the 1970s Yulikov became an active member of nonconformist artists' circles and took part in the infamous "Bulldozer" exhibition (First Fall Open-Air Show of Paintings) and the Second Fall Open-Air Show of Paintings, both held at Izmailovsky Park in 1974. Beginning in 1975, his work was included in a number of apartment exhibitions, notably the show held at the home of Oscar Rabin, an important dissident artist and one of the organizers of the "Bulldozer" exhibition. In 1976, Yulikov participated in the happening "Hair-Shearing" at the studio of Leonid Sokov, a sculptor, an official member of the Union of Soviet Artists, and a prominent dissident. There, together with other artists, Yulikov read aloud extracts from foreign art journals (such as Artforum) that were regularly obtained by Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid and translated by Ivan Chuikov. In 1976, Yulikov—together with Chuikov, Sergei Shablavin, Igor Shelkovsky, and the Gerlovins (Valerii and Rimma)—participated in an unofficial show at Sokov's studio. It served as a basis for the foundation of A-Ya, the major dissident art journal that Shelkovsky published in Paris from 1976 to 1986.

While Yulikov is a follower of the traditions of the early Russian avant-garde, his art is distinguished by an ironic approach to the legacy of Malevich's suprematism. He also has been singled out as the only Russian minimalist artist. Yulikov sees the world as a rational mathematical structure potentially undermined by irrational elements. The tension between the two forms the basis of his art. Yulikov employs pure geometric shapes to represent the harmony of the world and introduces irregularities (such as the distortion of symmetry) to produce irrational elements.

Yulikov joined the Union of Soviet Artists in 1986 and from 1983 to 1988 was a regular participant in the exhibitions organized by the Moscow City Committee of the Union of Graphic Artists at their exhibition space on Malaia Gruzinskaia Street. His work has been exhibited widely since the 1980s, in the West as well as in the former Soviet Union and Russia. An exhibition of prints, entitled 100 Sheets, was held at the House of Medical Workers in Moscow in 1987. A solo exhibition of his work was organized in 1989 by the Bronda Gallery in Helsinki. The Gallery Velta in Moscow organized two solo exhibitions, in 1993 (The Project 1993) and in 1995 (Forms). In the early 1990s, Yulikov took part in several major group shows, including "The Other Art": Moscow 1956–1976 at the State Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow in 1991, Back to Square One at the Berman-E.N. Gallery in New York in 1991, and The Artist Instead of His Work at the Central House of Artists in Moscow in 1994. Yulikov's works are held in museums and private collections in Germany, France, Russia, and the United States. The artist continues to live and work in Moscow.

Selected Bibliography

Alexandr Yulikov. Recent Paintings. 1–22.12.1989. Helsinki: Galleria Bronda, 1989.
Rosenfeld, Alla and Norton T. Dodge, eds. From Gulag to Glasnost: Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc., 1995.

Personal Exhibittions

1976 Happening "Hair Cropping". Leonid Sokov Studio, Moscow, Russia
1987 "100 Sheets." The House of Medical Workers, Moscow, Russia
1989 The Bronda Gallery, Helsinki, Finland
1990 The House of Soviet Immigrants , Jerusalem, Israel
1993 "The Project." Gallery Velta, Moscow, Russia

Group Exhibitions

1968 "Moscow Youth Show." The House of Artists, Kuznetskii Bridge, Moscow, Russia (the show never opened)
1974 Exhibition at the Izmailovskii Park, Moscow, Russia
1975 The show at the Apiculture Pavilion, Exhibition of National Economic Achievements, Moscow, Russia
The show at the Palace of Culture, Exhibition of National Economic Achievements, Moscow, Russia
Exhibition at Oscar Rabin Apartment, Moscow, Russia
Exhibition at Odnoralov's studio, Moscow, Russia
1976 Group show with R. and V. Gerlovin, L. Sokov, I. Chuikov, S. Shablavin, and I. Shilkovskii. Leonid Sokov's studio, Moscow, Russia
First annual group show at 28 Malaia Gruzinskaia St., Moscow, Russia
1980 Art recital with G. Bershtein, A. Kuz'kin, I. Livshits, and L. Orlova. The House of Artist, Kuznetskii Bridge, Moscow, Russia
1983-86 Annual group shows at 28 Malaia Gruzinskaia St., Moscow, Russia
1987 "The Artist and the Present." Kashirka, Moscow, Russia
"Visual and Artistic Culture." The Hermitage Creative Workers Union, Moscow, Russia
Retrospective: "1957-1987." The Hermitage Creative Workers Union, Moscow, Russia
1988 "Geometry in Art." Kashirka, Moscow, Russia
"The Labyrinth." The Palace of Youth, Moscow, Russia
"Exhibition of the First Creative Unit of the Moscow Artists' Union." The HOuse of Artist, Kuznetskii, Bridge, Moscow, Russia
"Exhibition of Unfinished Works." Konstantin Zvezdochetov's studio, Furmannyi, Lane, Moscow, Russia
1989 "Expensive Art." the Palace of Youth, Moscow, Russia
"Jenseits des Streites." Kringst-Ernst Gallery, Keln, Germany
Chicago International Art Exposition. Chicago, USA
"Furmannyi Zaulek" Novitskii Gallery, Warsaw, Poland
"UdSSR Heute." Museum of Modern Art, Ste.-Etienne, France
"UdSSR Heute." New Gallery, Ludwig Collection, Aachen, Germany
"Made in Furmannyi." Melbourne, Australia
1990 "Catalog." The Palace of Youth, Moscow, Russia
"Towards the Object." Kashirka, Moscow, Russia; Stedelijik Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Group show of 14 artists from Moscow Artists' Union. The House of Artist, Kuznetskii Bridge, Moscow, Russia
"Four Moscow Artists." The House of artist, Tel Aviv, Israel
"The Other Art: Moscow, 1956-1976." The Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia; Russian State Museum, Leningrad, Russia
1991 "Back to Square One." Berman-E.N. Gallery, New York, USA
"Soviet Contemporary Art. From Thaw to Perestroika." Setajaya Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
"Contemporary Artists to Malevich." The Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
1992 "Diaspora." The Central House of Artist, Moscow, Russia
"Lessons of Magnitskii." The Center of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia
1993 "Monuments: Transformation for the Future." The Central House of Artist, Moscow, Russia
"Postmodernism and National Traditions." The Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
1994 "The Artist instead of the Work.." The Central House of Artist, Moscow, Russia
1995 "20th anniversary of the Exhibit in the Apiculture Pavilion." Moscow, Russia
"From Gulag to Glasnost: Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union," Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
"Nonconformists: Russia, 1957-1995." Wilhelm Hak Museum, Ludwigshafen; Documentohalle, Kassel, Germany