Artist and film-director Evgeny Yufit, founder of the Necrorealism art movement, is one of the most heroic and enigmatic figures on the local art scene of St.Petersburg.
He was born in Leningrad (St.Petersburg) in 1961. He has been working as a painter, photographer and filmmaker since the early 1980s.
In 1985 Yufit set up the first Soviet independent film studio “Mzhalalafilm” which became a center for radical experiments in art. In this studio Yufitshot seven of his first 16mm short films, which were influenced by the aesthetics of the early German kino-expressionism, French surrealistic cinema and pathetic of the 1930-50’s Soviet official propaganda.
In the late1980’s on his trips to the woods, he took along two cameras, 16 mm and 35 mm. The first camera was used for taking photographs. With the second one, he was filming alongside with the camera man. Afterwards he selected one shot out of many, increased it, fragmented it, repeatedly overturned it, and changed the format from horizontal to vertical and from top to bottom. His goal was to reveal the invisible, the interplay of light and shadow, depicting strange floating position of his characters.
As of 1989 Yufit has made five full-length 35mm films. Each of his new films became an important international event. Yufit’s films were shown at all the major festivals of independent artistic cinema. His first feature film “Papa, Father Frost is Dead” (1991) was awarded the Grand Prix at the International Film Festival in Rimini.
In the mid 90’s Yufit has made a series of landscapes. In these monochrome photographs, the artist formed a necro-image, resulting from the fusion of pathetic and pathology in landscapes, as if seen from above by autistic individuals from beyond the realm of the ordinary, ecstatically anticipating their death.
Yufit’s paintings, photographs and films can be found in many leading museums of the world: the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg; the Museum of the Modern Art (MoMA); New York, Netherlands Film Museum, Amsterdam.
In 2005, the 34th Film Festival in Rotterdam included a special program dedicated to Yufit’s works – his photos and the world premiere of his last film “Bipedalism”.
Selected Solo Exhibitions:
1997 ‘Screenings of Daddy, Father Frost Is Dead and The Wooden Room’, MoMA/Museum
of Modern Art, New York;
1997 ‘Films and Photographs of Yevgeniy Yufit’, State Russian Museum, St.Petersburg
2002 ‘Necrorealism at Yale: The Films of Yevgeniy Yufit, Complete film retrospective, North American premiere of Killed by Lightning’, Yale University, New Haven, USA
2003‘New York premiere of Killed by Lightning’, MoMA/Museum of Modern Art, New York
2005 ‘World premiere of Bipedalism Filmmaker in Focus: Yevgeniy Yufit, Complete film retrospective and photo exhibition’, International Film Festival, Rotterdam
2008 Complete film retrospective, International Film Forum Arsenals, Riga
Selected Group Exhibitions
1991 ‘Sowjetische Kunst um 1990’, Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf
1997 ‘Kabinet’, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
1999 ‘FilmFest: Recent Films from Soviet Union’, MoMA/Museum of Modern Art, New York
2004 MANIFESTA, San Sebastian, Spain
2006 ‘Sotheby’s Russian Art, Volume 1’, New York
2007 La Biennale di Venezia – 52nd International Art Exhibition
“The Storm and the Harbour. We are waiting for the change”
2009 ‘Letter from the Island’ , Serp, Evgeny Yufit, Vladimir Kustov; Orel Art Uk, London
2010 ‘Strike with a brush’ The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
1997 John Gianvito, ‘An Inconsolable Darkness’, Gothic: Transmutations of Horror in Late Twentieth Century Art, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press;
1997 Victor Mazin ‘The ambivalence of the visible’,
Stedelijk Museum, Cahiers 6. Kabinet. Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum
2001 Seth Graham (ed), ‘Necrorealism: Contexts, History, Interpretations’
2005 Olesya Turkina, ‘Aperto St. Petersburg’, Flash Art, 240, January – February;
2005 ‘Filmmaker in Focus: Yevgeniy Yufit—Cinema as You Have Never Seen Before’, Rotterdam Film Festival International Catalogue, International Film Festival Rotterdam
2007 Ice Cream: Contemporary Art in Culture. New York, Phaidon Press, 2007
2009 Strike with a Brush. New Painters and Necrorealists 1982-1991
Palace Editions, The Russian Museum, St Petersburg 2009
1992 Grand Prix, The Rimini Film Festival, Italy
1994 George Soros Center for Contemporary Arts Grant, St. Petersburg, Russia
1999 Hubert Bals Fund Grant, International Film Festival of Rotterdam, Netherlands
2000 The Foundation Montecinemaverita Grant, Locarno, Switzerland
2001 “Institute PRO ARTE” and The Ford Foundation Grant, St. Petersburg, Russia
2003 Hubert Bals Fund Grant, International Film Festival of Rotterdam, the Netherlands
SELECTED PERMANENT COLLECTIONS
The State Russian Museum, The Contemporary Art Department, (Saint Petersburg)
Films, Painting and Photographs
MoMA/The Museum of Modern Art, Department Film and Video, (New York)
35mm prints of the films “Daddy, Father Frost is Dead”, “Wooden Room”, “Silver Heads”
The Netherlands Film Museum (Amsterdam)
Photographs and full collection of 35mm prints of the films