Always observing the world with precision, subtle humour and an unerring sense for its absurdities and oddities, Russian illustrator Igor Oleynikov creates his own version of reality. In a surprising and sagacious way and with the agile eye of an animation film creator, he tracks down unfamiliar pictorial dimensions in Russian folk tales, children’s classics such as tales by Andersen, Stevenson or the Grimms as well as in the ballads and poems by Joseph Brodsky. Yet his virtuosity also extends to contemporary children's literature - whether it is a picture book, a volume of poetry or a non-fiction book for children, a book created by a Russian author or an American writer. Igor Oleynikov's gouache illustrations are unique. The only thing they are definitely not is naïve.
Igor Oleynikov is one of the most important illustrators and exceptional artists of his country. In Russia alone, over eighty books with his illustrations have been published. In Germany, however, the winner of the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award is practically unknown. The exhibition now allows the German-speaking audience a first glimpse into the fantastic pictorial worlds of this great Russian artist.
© Illustrations: Igor Oleynikov