When Oleg Kudryashov (b. 1932) left the USSR in 1974 he was permitted by authorities to take only sixteen of his works. Instead of leaving nearly 6,000 prints, drawings, and watercolors behind he decided to personally destroy them and begin again in the West, where he would reside for the next twenty-three years. It was during these years (primarily in London) that Kudryashov’s exposure to twentieth century art would inspire major changes to his methods.
Works being shown in this exhibition cover the artist’s most productive period — 1976 to 1997 in London. His inventive use of paper in constructing three-dimensional prints was unique at the time as he would combine painting, printmaking, drawing, and sculpture in a single work. It has been said of Kudryashov that one “cannot determine where drawing finishes and where painting and sculpture begin.” In these dynamic reliefs and constructions one can find investigations of Russian folk prints and religious icons, topography, the cityscapes of London and Moscow, and the increasingly industrial landscape of his formative years.
In 1997 the artist returned to Moscow where he has continued to work to this day. In 1999 he had a major retrospective at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Kudryashov’s work is still being acquired worldwide and can be found in the collections of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow; the Tate Modern, London; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, and many others. The most recent accession to a public museum was by The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC in December of 2019. In 2017 a major 270-page monograph on the artist was published, entitled Oleg Kudryashov: Bridge to the Future.