Yevgeny Mikhnov-Voitenko

  • Born 1932 in Kherson, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
  • Died 1988 in Leningrad, Russia

Yevgeny Mikhnov is a painter, graphic artist and theater designer. He first moved to Leningrad with his mother in 1939. From 1941 to 1944 he was an evacuee in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, and from 1944 to 1946 in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. He returned to Leningrad in 1946, but was sent to an artillery academy in 1947. He attended night school while working as an apprentice at the Sverdlov Factory in 1949. In 1951 he studied in the Scandinavian department of the First Leningrad Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages, and transferred to the Theater Institute in 1954. There he studied under the theater director and designer Nikolai Akimov (1901–1969), who introduced him to European modernism. Mikhnov became one of the first abstract artists in Russia. He was influenced by the Arefiev Circle (the first nonconformist group in Leningrad) and Abstract Expressionism, especially the art of Jackson Pollock (1912–1956). A prolific abstract artist, Mikhnov experimented with a variety of techniques, but also invented a new style of painting with his “Tube” series (1956–59). In 1959 Mikhnov accepted a job at the Zhivopis' i dizayn kombinata (Painting and Design Combine; KZhOI), the state organization of freelance designers. He represented Russia in the 1977 Venice Biennale.