Timur Novikov

From Unearthing The Music

Timur Novikov, in his atelier in St. Petersburg, appearing in front of a brocade wall carpet, referring the style of an icon in the orthodox tradition. Photo by Bernd Brincken

Timur Petrovich Novikov (September 24, 1958, Leningrad – May 23, 2002, St. Petersburg) was a Russian visual artist, designer, art theorist, philosopher, and musician. He is considered one of the most influential proponents of Nonconformist Art before and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Life and work

Growing up in the Soviet Union, Novikov experienced its cultural and political constraints. His artistic education began at the age of seven at the House of Pioneers in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), and later at the Young Art Historians Club at the Russian Museum in the same city.

In 1977 he became a member of the Letopis (Chronicles) art group; and in 1982 he founded the Novye Khudozhniki (New Artists) movement. During the 1980s Novikov worked at the Russian Museum and enjoyed access to its collection and archive, as well as close working relationships with its curators. This connection lasted to when he started work as an artist. In 1990 and 1991 he studied as an intern at the Institut des Arts Plastiques (Institute of Plastic Arts) in Paris, France.

During the 1980s and 1990s Novikov was a regular participant in the Pop Mekhanika show of experimental composer Sergey Kuryokhin and worked on its stage design. Several pop groups from the show worked with him to explore a new visual and stage design. In 1983 Novikov founded and led an experimental rock-group Novye Kompozitory (New Composers) and invented new musical instruments for it. He was also involved in a number of film projects as an actor and artist, and made a name as an innovative film designer. In 1987 Novikov shared the Nika Award for his contribution to the popular Russian film Assa, directed by Sergei Solovyov.

The New Academy of Fine Arts, founded by Novikov in 1989, soon became a well-known meeting point for the Leningrad, Russian, and international art scene and a symbol for the spirit of freedom and recomposition in the new Russia. The academy and artist community, named also after its address Pushkinskaya 10, was at first self-organized by artists. It later offered ateliers as well as regular courses for students, including scholarships. The academy, with Novikov as one of its most prominent teachers, was sometimes referred to as an underground art project, but also cooperated with established art institutions, among them the Russian Museum and the Hermitage Museum.

The core conception of the academy was called Neo-Academism and comprised a specific teacher-student relationship as well as a focus on the historic and aesthetic perspective of Neoclassicism.

Novikov also contributed to numerous art exhibitions outside Russia. His style of painting combined a bold avant-garde attitude with refined classically based conceptions of Neo-Academism. Furthermore, he contributed to contemporary art theory, writing books such as "The New Russian Classicism" (1998), "Horizons" (2000), and "Intercontacts" (2000), published by the Russian Museum.

A lengthy illness led to blindness in the later part of Novikov's career. He continued working as a lecturer at the New Academy and led assistants to work on graphic works. Novikov died of pneumonia on May 23, 2002, in St. Petersburg.

Posthumous exhibitions of Novikov's works were held at the Moscow Russian Museum and in Brussels in 2002, in Denmark 2004, London 2005 and 2012, and several times in St. Petersburg.[1] In spring 2013 the Moscow Museum of Modern Art presented a large-scale solo retrospective of Novikov's work, curated by Ekaterina Andreeva, the leading academic researcher at the State Russian Museum and author of Novikov's biography.[2]

Public Collections

  • Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova (Museum of History and Contemporary Art), Turku, Finland
  • Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn, Estonia
  • ART4.RU Contemporary Art Museum, Moscow
  • Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
  • Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, Los Angeles
  • Kaliningrad State Art Gallery, Kaliningrad, Russia
  • Ludwig Museum, Budapest
  • State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg
  • Museum of Modern Art, Vienna
  • Museum of the New Academy of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg
  • Museum of Political History of Russia, St. Petersburg
  • National Center for Contemporary Arts, Moscow
  • Orel Regional Museum of Fine Art, Orel, Russia
  • Ruarts Foundation, Moscow
  • Ryazan State Regional Art Museum, Russia
  • Schwules Museum, Berlin
  • Shchusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow
  • Simferopol State Art Museum, Simferopol, Crimea
  • State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
  • State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
  • Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
  • Tate Modern, London
  • State Historical, Architectural, Art and Landscape Museum—Reserve Tsaritsyno, Moscow
  • Tver Regional Picture Gallery, Tver, Russia
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, London
  • Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey


  1. Personal exhibitions, registered Dec 3, 2014
  2. Timur, registered Dec 3, 2014

External links