Dmitri Prigov

Dmitri Alexandrovich Prigov was born in Moscow in 1940. Trained as a sculptor at the Stroganov Institute, he worked as an architect and made sculptures for public parks during the Soviet era. A prolific writer (in 2005 he estimated that he had already written 35,000 poems), he was a founder of the “Moscow Conceptual art” school. He wrote in almost all conceivable genres (including two novels), was an active performance artist, produced videos, and drawings and installations. He also acted in films, including Taxi Blues. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Prigov published in underground and émigré journals, and was briefly sent to a psychiatric hospital after being arrested by the KGB. With the onset of glasnost and perestroika, he was able to publish and show his visual art in “official” venues, and also exhibited his art outside of Russia. During the Soviet period his work fiercely satirized official language and culture; after the collapse his writing became more philosophic – but both before and after it energetically explored all the possibilities that language and literature offered. He won several prizes, including, in 2002, the Boris Pasternak prize. Prigov died, in Moscow, of a heart attack in 2007. His collected works are being published in Russia, edited by Mark Lipovetsky.

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