Yakov Chernikhov, formally;‘’Yakov Georgievich Chernikhov’’ was an Architect and a Graphic designer who was born in 1889 in Pavlohrad in the Yekaterinoslav Governorate, Russian Empire.
Even at an early age he was considered as an introverted obsessive drawer which resulted in his later phenomenal work. He joined the College of Art in Odessa where he gained his knowledge and developed his interest for art and later on in 1916, he signed into the Faculty of Architecture in the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg where he indirectly learned and later on tried to connect his talents and interests with the reality of the world. In the faculty he was learning under the mentor-ship of a then known imperial architect Leon Benois.
In the faculty he was attracted to futurism, constructivism and the genre of suprematism which was pioneered by Kazimir Malevich, a known respected artist and a painter with whom Chernikhov was acquainted and developed his sense and ideas for it.
We can clearly observe and notice how his interests and passions collected and produced into a combined collective mix of the genres.
In his earlier drawings we can see the influence of constructivism and suprematism, vast industrially oriented objects raising from simple geometrical elements.
We can find this in his published works such as:
- The Art of Graphic Representation (1927)
- Fundamentals of Contemporary Architecture (1930)
- The Construction of Architectural and Machine Forms (1931)
- 101 Architectural Fantasies (1933)
At a later age when he found him self inside a Stalinist regime, where the strict ideology of collectivity prevailed he drew and designed various Neo-Gothic oriented drawings of a future Soviet Union.
The drawings were enriched with vast, Gothic, gigantic, objects which to me symbolized an outcome of a totally new empire.
Maybe Chernikhov showed his dis-contempt to the Stalinist regime and the badly developed Communist ideology. The observers of the drawings will feel the greatness and the magnitude of the ‘’architectural fantasies’’, but at the same time, the same elements combined with the darkness of the drawings and the objects them selves wake the feeling of fear and general awe, exactly what the majority of people experienced and felt for and under the regime.
Yakov Chernikhov died on 9th May, 1951 in Moscow, Soviet Union.
After his death in 1959 a book called ‘’The Construction of Letter Forms‘’ was published, containing his graphic and typographical designs.