Neizvestny Ernst

 «I think of sculpture not as a person, animal or other natural or geometrical form situated in space: the sculpture contains within itself a dialogue between spirit and flesh».

1925 - 2016

Ernst Iosifovich Neizvetny was amongst the first generation of non-conformists and dissidents in the post-Stalin period of culture. The forms and style of his work incurred the displeasure of the authorities on many occasions. His creativity combines realistic forms with elements of abstraction and in order to heighten the expressiveness, he turns to deformation, thus bringing him close in an aesthetic sense to Picasso, Moore and Tsadkiny. In the 1950’s, the sculptor moved on from his earlier works which were made in the spirit of academism, and to an original style, combining the features of symbolism and cubism with a turbulent expression. Many of Neizvetsny’s sculptures are carved from stone, however bronze is otherwise his preferred material, though he likes concrete in his large-scale compositions. His use of volume and cavities allows him to combine monumentality and dynamism in a single work. The most famous of his monumental works are brought together into a series which he worked on from 1956. The best work in this series is the sculpture ‘Drevo Zhizni’ [Tree of Life]. In 1976 he was expelled from the USSR, moved to Switzerland and now lives and works in the USA.

The artist's work can be found in the following museums and collections:
The State Tretyakov Gallery
Museum «Drugoe Iskusstvo»
Contemporary Art Museum