Vladimir Ovchinnikov was born on October 4 1941, in Schiutchie Ozero Station in the Perm region where his family had to be evacuated during World War II. His family returned to Leningrad/St. Petersburg in 1945 where Ovchinnikov currently lives and works. Ovchinnikov worked at the Kirovsky (now Mariinsky) theatre under the guidance of K.B. Kustodiev from 1961-1964. In 1963-1964 he was employed at the State Hermitage Museum where Ovchinnikov participated in the exhibition of the Hermitage workers together with Mikhail Shemyakin, Vladimir Ufliand, Valery Kravchenko and Oleg Liagachev.
Although Ovchinnikov did not receive any classical education from state art schools or colleges, this has not prevented him from achieving national as well as international fame. At present, he is the deputy chairman of the St. Petersburg Department of the International Federation of Artists.
Vladimir Ovchinnikov needs no introduction. A founder of the Leningrad Nonconformist movement, his auction record at Sotheby's is one of the most impressive among contemporary art sales. Internationally acknowledged as one of the leading artists in contemporary Russian art, Ovchinnikov's paintings stand out radically due to his consistent individualistic approach to image making, honed and perfected over decades.
Ovchinnikov's persistent use of golden yellow echoes the tradition of icon painting and serves to represent the Russian Orthodox Church. Thus, the viewer is reminded of the religious context of the work and encouraged to search for hidden meanings and interpretations. In his cryptic contemplation of the unknown, Ovchinnikov frequently turns to ancient myths and scripture, further provoking the viewer and strengthening the metaphysical messages of his paintings. Substituting the characters of the chosen parable with his own cast of characters, often characters who tend toward narcissism and lasciviousness, Ovchinnikov ensures that the subjects remain alien and destructive, and in disregard of the context in which the he has placed them.
Vladimir Ovchinnikov's personal involvement organizing the 1964 Hermitage exhibition for Nonconformist artists ensures that he will always be remembered as a primary representative of the movement. The title of the exhibition, 'Exhibition of the artist-workers of the economic part of the Hermitage: Towards the 200th Anniversary of the Hermitage,' speaks to the struggle that unofficial artists faced during the Soviet era, and the prompt closing of the exhibition just days after it opened makes tangible that struggle while simultaneously ensuring the exhibition and artists would be remembered by future generations. Though not an officially recognized artist during the Soviet era, Ovchinnikov's outstanding contribution to and support of other dissident Russian artist groups guaranteed that his legacy would allow the younger generation of artists the opportunity to develop.
Awards and Honours
2008 Silver medal oft he Russian Academy of Arts
2005 Title oft he Honoured Artist oft he Russian Federation
2012 Erarta Galleries, Zurich, Switzerland
2011 Erarta Galleries London, London, UK.
2011 Erarta Museum and Gallery of Contemporary Art, St. Petersburg, Russia.
2004 Mimi Ferzt Gallery, New York City, NY, USA.
2003 Hay Hill Gallery, London, UK.
2003 Na Obvodnom Gallery, St. Petersburg, Russia.
2003 Hay Hill Gallery, London, UK.
2001 Creative Union of Artists of Russia, St. Petersburg, Russia.
2000 Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, Russia.
1999 Svetlana Eberghard Gallery, Cologne, Germany.
1998 Tartu Museum of Art, Estonia.
1996 State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.
1992 Manege Central Exhibition Hall, St. Petersburg, Russia.
1992 Marie-Therese Cauchin Gallery, Paris, France.
1989 The Edward Nakhamkin Gallery, New York, USA.
1986 Museum of Unofficial Soviet Art in Jersey City, USA.
Selected Public and Private Collections:
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY, USA.
Soviet Unofficial Art Museum, Jersey City, NJ, USA.
Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.
Rutgers Museum, New Jersey, USA.
Erarta, Museum of Contemporary Art, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Diagilev Art Centre, St.Petersburg, Russia.
State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.
State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.
Fedor Dostojevsky Memorial Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.
State Museum of City History, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, Russia.
Art Museum of Beijing, Beijing, China.
Tartu Museum of Art, Tartu, Estonia.
AOK-Galerie, Dusseldorf, Germany.
Mari-Therese Cauchin Gallery, Paris, France.