On the Borderland with Metaphysics
Sergey Popov

On March, 1 MMOMA is opening Vladimir Yankilevsky’s exhibition “The Mystery of Being”. 

It seems to me that among the 1960s generation artists Yankilevsky in his own way was one of those most in-demand and his journey to creative self-fulfillment was one of the most consistent ones. He was at the top of the Moscow underground hierarchy during the thaw, along with Ernst Neizvestny, Ilya Kabakov, Ülo Sooster and others. But what counts most is that he created an array of works salient for the late Soviet period.

Yankilevsky’s art mingles physics and lyrics. He is one of those artists who make art come in contact with metaphysics, bringing it to the very threshold of the unknown. In fact, the boundary between life and death was one of those themes he seriously concerned himself with. What is featured in Yankilevsky’s works can be primarily regarded as fields of energy transmitted through bodies. Although frequently taken for the depiction of a technological process they are rather visualizations of something invisible but at the same time obviously existent, as for example quanta, molecular structures, or time. His works – multilayered, serene and complex, connected with modern scientific knowledge of nature and the human – are still open to studying and interpretation so there is still much room for present and future research of his work.

Yankilevsky was most concerned with exhibitions. He always wanted to show his work in development and demonstrate the connection between different phases. He always curated his exhibitions himself. The artist, who passed away several months shy of the opening, was preparing the upcoming exhibition in MMOMA himself – which in itself makes it important.



February 16, 2018