Nikolai Ishchuk

London, UK
Moscow, 1982

I was born in Moscow, Russia in 1982. Since 1999, I have mostly lived abroad: first in Boston, USA, where I graduated from high school, and then in the UK. I received a BA (Hons) in Economics and Sociology from the University of York and an M.Phil. in Modern Society and Global Transformations from the University of Cambridge. It was not until after Grad School and a stint in business conferencing that I embarked on the artistic path and got into photography, which led me to obtain a Graduate Certificate in Lens Based Image Making from the London College of Communication. Lately my practice has been expanding rapidly, and, as if I hadn't spent enough time in education, I am about to start a postgraduate course in Fine Art at the Chelsea College of Art and Design. My work has been exhibited in the UK, Russia, the UAE and Croatia, most recently at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art.

Nikolai was among 35 artists selected to exhibit at The London Open at Whitechapel Art Gallery in 2012.

This abstract series is a formal exploration of color, flatness vs. volume, shape, and how the three interact. It is also a meditation on the search for, and emergence of ideas and the creative process itself; its fluidity and lack of fixed outcomes. It is obviously evocative of Color Field Painting but the subtle shading and modulation of volume by color intimates some kind of figurative origin/potential and creates tension within the surface. By inhabiting this amorphous pre-figurative space and challenging the flatness of the support, the works also enter into a (cautious) dialogue with the work of Spatialists.

The link with the creative process is such that, to make these, I reused some intermediate prints from a previous project. I was fascinated by the color spectra that I was able to obtain from that material, and it was a captivating journey going back to 'leftovers' and molding them into something else entirely.

Having started out in photography about 5 years ago, I quickly developed an interest in the medium's formal qualities. It must have been the result of my early emphasis on process and darkroom work. This interest has subsequently grown stronger and spread to art in general, which is quite evident in the work featured here. This isn't my only line of creative enquiry though, and, in addition to photography, my practice now also encompasses collage, language, and other media. I enjoy exploring how these different modes of expression interact and how permeable the borders between them are.


Chelsea College of Art & Design, UK, Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art.

London College of Communication, UK, Graduate Certificate in Lens Based Image Making.

Darwin College, University of Cambridge, UK, M.Phil. in Modern Society & Global Transformations.

University of York, UK, BA (Hons) in Economics and Sociology (First Class).

Selected Exhibitions

Workshop 2011 (an annual survey of young artists), Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, Russia.
Big Bangs/Big Bucks (two-artist show), Diemar/Noble Photography, London, UK.

Foto8 Carousel Slide Slam, Blurb Pop-Up Store with HOST Gallery, London, UK.
Salt, Qui Vive? 2nd International Moscow Biennial of Young Art, Moscow, Russia.

Landscape..., RuArts Gallery, Moscow, Russia.

The Incredible Holga and Wonder Diana, The Jam Jar Gallery, Dubai, UAE.

STILLS 1½ (solo), KIC (Cultural Information Center), Zagreb, Croatia.


International Photography Awards, Honorable Mention.
Photo-Eye Art Photographers Index (an invitation-only database of “significant art and documentary photographers from throughout the world.”).
Flash Forward Emerging Photographers 2011, Honourable Mention.
Sergey Kuryokhin Award (St.Petersburg), Shortlisted for Best Curated Project (award goes to the curator)

International Photography Awards, 5 Honorable Mentions
5th Annual B&W Spider Awards, Nominee

Emerging Photographer Grant, Long List, Awarded by Burn Magazine and Magnum Foundation.

Beck’s Art Labels (finalist)


eighteen39 blog (UK),
IMPRINT Blog (Canada), Magenta Foundation,
Satellite Voices (online culture platform by DAZED and Swatch),
LookSeeNow blog (UK),
Evening Standard (UK)
PHOTO Magazine (France)

Kul’tura TV Channel (Russia), Salt show opening report

HOST Gallery Blog (UK)
Look At Me (Russia),
Kommersant Weekend Magazine (Russia)
Mezonin Magazine (Russia)
ELLE Russia Deluxe Blog

TimeOut Dubai (UAE), The Incrdible Holga show review, Feature of the Week

EYE BUY Nikolai Ishchuk...