ref: i5o Mar 31-Apr 26 2014 HAY HILL GALLERY Oleg Prokofiev (1928-1998) - Open a 'pdf' of this press release - return to Galleries PR Index


Oleg Prokofiev (1928-1998)

‘From East to West’

31st March- 26th April 2014

Russian Landscape, Green & Lilac 1966 Bird Composition, Bronze 1992

This spring, Hay Hill Gallery is proud to be presenting a retrospective of paintings and sculpture

from artist Oleg Prokofiev. Featuring over sixty works, the show brings together two major stages

of his life; before and after he left Russia. This exciting exhibition leads us from the 1960s USSR

period into the popular ‘white-on-white’ canvases of the 1970s, his revolutionary sculptures and

last paintings. An exclusive new biography will be published in association with this exhibition,

exploring the paintings, poetry and sculpture of the artist- as well as the influence of Soviet Russia

and his father’s music.

Oleg Prokofiev, son of the legendary composer Sergei Prokofiev, wrote that music inspired in him a

wave of some wonderful energy a poetic or artistic impulse. Taking the musical form of free

expression within set patterns, Prokofiev chose unexpected tones- especially in his later work-

exactly as his father used ‘wrong notes as a chromatic twist to his compositions. The effect is an

atonal shift that resonates visually with the audience long afterwards. The luminous quality of the

earlier white period is still very much present in the later paintings, the colours now fully burst into

life. Displaying a whole spectrum of feeling, the leaping arpeggios of Prokofiev’s brushstrokes

simultaneously embody order and chaos, oscillating between an attraction to structure and a need

to destroy it. The artist controls the tempo and patterns with his brush as though he is conducting

an orchestra.

The desire to find artistic synthesis between painting and the plastic arts led Prokofiev to a series of

sculptural works, following single lines through loops and tangles. Combining an enthusiasm for the

new with a stubborn refusal to stay in a ‘safe’ zone, the works show off the artist’s endless

fascination with relationships between rhythm, time and space. Using wood and a variety of paints

he created a kind of solid music with these energetic and original works. Meandering colours

stretch and bend, keeping strict time in shapes. Crowned with bright plumes of reds and blues, the

sculptures sit around like oddly angled birds of paradise. Each piece marks significant stages of the

artist’s life, lucid and immediate, ultimately transient. They are a testament to Oleg Prokofiev’s

irrepressible spirit, his strength in forgetting about past and future- the belief that the only reality

is now.


Born in 1928, Oleg Prokofiev lived in Paris until moving with his family to Moscow at the age of seven. His

career as an artist began at sixteen, attending the Moscow School of Art from 1944-49. On completing his

studies, Prokofiev worked in the studio of the painter Robert Falk, leaving in 1952 to work for the Institute of

Art History in Moscow. There he studied and published his writing, specialising in the ancient arts of India and

South-East Asia.

During Prokofiev’s lifetime he exhibited worldwide, including the UK, Germany, Russia, France, and the U.S. As

an artist, he was both excited about the future of Art as well as being remarkably informed about its history.

During a visit to New York in 1977, Prokofiev experienced the works of Rothko, Still, Motherwell, Barnett

Newman, and Helen Frankenthaler, and these continued to influence his own work throughout the 1980’s. He

began creating organic constructivist sculptures, and over a short period of time his paintings also began to

change. His brightly saturated line paintings and skyline sculptures of the 1980’s demonstrate a definite

departure from the greys, browns, and masking white works of the 60’s and early 70’s.

Oleg Prokofiev died in 1998 aged 69. Since then, his popular abstract compositions have been exhibited in the

collection of the renowned Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. His work is also in the collections of the Lehmbruck

Museum of Modern Sculpture, Germany; the Zimmerli Art Museum, USA; the Leeds City Art Gallery, UK; and

the MART Museum, Italy.

Selected Lifetime Exhibitions

1997 Glinka Museum of Music, Moscow

1994 Cadogan Contemporary, London

1993 W. Lehmbruck Museum of Modern Sculpture, Germany

1991 Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum

1989 Sue Rankin Gallery, London

La Mama Galeria, New York

1988 Burg Zweiffel, Germany

‘100 Years of British Art’ at Leeds City Art Gallery

1987 Dortmund Opera House and Matthew Scott Gallery, Miami

1985 Galerie Edition Beauclair and Theater am Gartnerplatz, Munich

1984 Old Vic Theatre, London

Galerie Johanna Ricard, Nurnberg

1983 ACG, London

Notes to Editors: Hay Hill Gallery, located on Baker Street, represents a number of internationally

recognised contemporary artists. The exhibition will be held alongside a sculpture collection which features

works by Gianfranco Meggiato, Massimiliano & Alfonso Cacchiarelli, Graham High, Eleanor Cardozo, Richard

Minns, Palolo Valdes, Andy Cheese, Ian Edwards and Nicola Godden.

For press information and images please contact Sarah Jones,

Hay Hill Gallery, 35 Baker Street, London W1U 8EN

Tel: 020 7486 6006

Opening hours: Monday – Friday 10.30-6, Saturday 11-5