Mikhail Koulakov, born in Moscow in 1933, is a representative of the Soviet avant-garde of the 1960s, and one of the founders of the Second Abstraction in Russia.
In1962 he graduated in set design under Nikolai Akimov, artist and director, at Leningrad's Institute for Theatrical Arts, and started his career in Moscow, Leningrad and other towns of the USSR where his works were displayed in alternative spaces to Socialist Realism.
He also worked as a graphic designer and illustrated the works of some friends who were poets and writers.
Koulakov worked for theatres in Volchov, Leningrad and Moscow. In 1967 he designed the stage set for Majakovsky's Bath at the Moscow Theatre of Satire.
At Koulakov's wedding in 1975 to an Italian citizen, the witnesses included Lila Brik, Majakovsy's muse, and the Nobel prize winner Piotr Kapitza, who were both enthusiastic collectors of his works.
In 1976 he came to live in Italy, and in 1977 he took part in the famous Biennale of Art Dissent in Venice.
Mikhail Koulakov has had numerous anthological and one-man shows at museums and private galleries in many countries, including the USSR after the Perestroika, and he has taken part in important collective exhibitions.
As an expert and enthusiastic follower of martial arts and ancient Chinese philosophy, in 1978 he started to teach T'ai chi chuan in Perugia.
He was elected senior academician of Perugia's Fine Arts Academy "Pietro Vannucci" in 1993.
In 1997 he was invited by the Italian painter Piero Dorazio to take part in the project METRO ARTE ROMA and his mosaic panel can be seen at the Anagnina subway station.
He lived and worked at his studio in Umbria till 15 February 2015 when he died in Terni, Umbria, Italy.
His works are on permanent display in the following museums:
The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg; Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow; State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow; State Gallery of Fine Arts A. Pushkin; Art Museum "Savitzki",Penza; Musee d'Art Contemporain du Montreal, Canada; Jane Vorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, New Jersey, USA; Municipal Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rome; Museum "Stauros" of Contemporary Sacred Art, San Gabriele, Teramo; Museum of "Arte delle Generazioni Italiane del Novecento G. Bargellini", Pieve di Cento, Bologna; Anagnina Metro Station, Rome. State Center of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow; Taganrog Art Museum, Taganrog, Russia ; Museo Accademia delle Belle Arti P. Vannucci, Perugia; Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Roma
And in public collections:
Bank of Italy, Rome; Fond Russkoi kultury, Moscow; Kolodzei Art Foundation Moscow/USA; Cartiere Miliani, Fabriano; Fine Arts Academy "P.Vannucci", Perugia; Province of Aquila; Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Rome
His works are also present in several private collections in Russia, Italy, Europe, USA and Canada.
Authors who have reviewed his works include:
M. Apa, V. Apuleo, A. Bagnato, L. Bartolon, L. Bazanov, L. Beatrice, M. Bessonova, E. Bilardello, A. Borovsky, J.E. Bowlt, M. Branzis, M. Chiesa, D. Konecny, K. Bushkin, F. Calzavacca, C. Costantini, J. Crawford, E. Crispolti, F. D'Amico, U. degli Innocenti, M. di Candia, G. Di Genova, P. Dorazio, M. Doria de Zulian , M. Duranti, N. Fallaci, V. Goriainov, D. Likhaciov, P. Matiuhin, M. Meilakh, D. Micacchi, F. Miele, G. Moncada, F.R. Morelli, L. Nekrasova, A. Nizamudtinova, T. Panchina, L. Pratesi, E. Preuss, F. Pullia, J. Recupero, B. Schisa ,V. Sergheiv, Z. Starodubtseva, P. Strinati, L. Strozzieri , M. Valsecchi, E. Torelli Landini, A. Vattese, C. Zavattini
Catalogue on line:
Documentary film on M.Koulakov:
Documentario Identita' Koulakov
Video of the exhibition: