Oleg Yakhnin, Family, watercolor, 81 x 56 cm, 1997
1945 Born in Lesozavodsk, Primorsk region, Russia
1966/1972 Graduated from the College of Repin Art Academy
1973 A member of the Artists Union of Russia
Oleg Yakhnin is an acknowledged artist, member of the Academy for Humanitarian Studies, chairman of the Organization Committee of the International Biennale of Graphic Arts in St. Petersburg, and founder of the research and development fund for Graphics. He is the head of the Graphics Department at St. Petersburg Institute for Arts and Crafts. A master of engraving and graphic book design, he has illustrated more than 50 books which have become classics of book illustration in Russia. Typically for St. Petersburg, illustrators belong to the art scene of the city and also practice other forms of art.
On his graphic pages, Yakhnin creates an aesthetic of Romanticism and the related world of mythological figures. There is no place in this world for emptiness: the space is heavily populated, teeming with all sorts of humans as well as other beings, who crowd themselves onto the narrow space of the paper. The author himself often appears among the throng. Eye motifs, loved by the Surrealists, are characteristic. Dozens of eyes, frequently belong to no one, focus on the observer and force him to look away. Other common motifs, also in the tradition of ancient magic, are masks and chimera. The illustrations themselves function as a type of chimera, hypnotizing the observer with its many eyes and forcing the picture space outwards with the denseness of its material.
By continuing the tradition of the Russian avant-garde in his painting, Oleg Yakhnin handles the problem of movement and space with similar devices as his predecessors in the 1920’s. Oleg Yakhnin has participated in more than 400 exhibitions in and outside of Russia, as well as having held 33 solo shows. His works can be found in the Tretyakov Gallery, in the Russian Museum, in the Pushkin Museum, in the Russian National Library, in the Museum of Modern Art of Russia, and in many other museums in Russia, Great Britain, Germany, China, Lithuania, Ukraine, Estonia, and in the museums of Boston, Hong Kong, Peking, Zindao, Shanghai, Shenjan, as well as in private collections around the world.