Avdei Ter-Oganyan

Russian artist, founder of the fellowship "Art or Death", galleries in Trekhprudny Lane and "Forward!". One of the prominent representatives of Moscow actionism.

The artist Avdei Ter-Oganyan is recognized all over the world and is among the top – 60 best artists of our time. Thanks to his activities, he entered the community of radical artists like Alexander Brener, Anatoly Osmolovsky and Oleg Kulik. Born in 1961 in Rostov-on-Don, he is one of the prominent leaders of Moscow actionism. According to Nikolai Palazhchenko: “the main bully of Russian art of the late 20th century.”

He studied at the Grekov college in Rostov-on-Don. In the second year he suspended from college “for avant-garde”, a year later restored, but soon again expelled. Since the beginning of the 80s – one of the leaders of the unofficial Rostov art community.

In 1991, together with Konstantin Reunov, he organized the non-profit “Gallery in Trekhprudny” and the gallery “Forward!” The gallery in Trekhprudny became one of the most important places in Moscow, that put forward artists who defined the face of the capital’s art scene of the 2000s.

In 1998 – Ter-Oganyan’s most famous action outside the art community was the performance “Young Atheist”, which he held in December 1998 at the exhibition “Art Manege-98”, where he cut photo prints on fabric with the image of icons. His action is a radical statement on a socio-political occasion, an answer to the commercialized state of affairs in such a structure as the Russian Orthodox Church.

In 1999, he emigrated to the Czech Republic. He lived and worked in Berlin, where he resumed the work of the School of Contemporary Art and the “Forward!” art gallery. According to Kommersant journalist Anna Tolstova, she is “the first political emigrant artist in the history of post-Soviet Russia.”

Ter-Oganyan’s works are in the collections of the Tretyakov Gallery, The State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, The National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA), The Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and also in private collections in Russia and Europe.

Avdei Ter-Oganyan