Artist Focus: Evgeny Rukhin (1943–1976)

Working on canvas, Evgeny Rukhin used not only oil and tempera paints but wood, paper, and objects to explore material textures and the relationship between text and image. Rukhin layered text from newspapers and books with photographs as well as materials from religious and everyday life such as Russian Orthodox icons: a kaleidoscope of media from unexpected sources. The lands under Soviet rule included just such multiplicity: ethnic, religious, and geographic diversity that the state strove to enfold into a universal Soviet identity. Rukhin’s art—a riot of textures, fragments, media, and “voices”—boldly questioned this monolithic vision.