Genia Chef is a Russian artist who divides his time between Western Europe and America. Chef was born in exile as a result of his father’s 'anti-Soviet' activities, but when he was still a small child, the family was allowed to move back to Moscow, where Chef trained as a painter and graphical artist at the Polygraphic Institute in Moscow in the traditional academic style. For his diploma, he was awarded the First Prize. Since the 70s he has been participating in exhibitions of nonconformist artists in Moscow. After he moved to the West in 1985, he studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts where he was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree, as well as the Fueger Gold Prize.
In late 1993 Chef moved to New York City where he exhibited his works with several former members of Soviet nonconformist art circles in a number of group exhibitions. Stylistically, some of Chef’s paintings combine realist elements set against indefinite grounds that lend his work a surrealistic quality.
Genia Chef considers his aesthetical method as «Post-historicism». His works include paintings, digital compositions, lightboxes and video, often united in different kinds of installations. He has a special interest in historical events which are turning points for mankind, and he works in border zones between history, aesthetics and science, conceptually transformed into a kind of neo-mythology.
He has participated at the II Moscow Biennale (2007) and at the International Biennale of Miniature Art in Serbia (2010) where he was awarded the First Prize in the category of painting. His museum shows include the Frederick Weisman Museum of Art, Minneapolis (USA), the Museum of Modern Art, Ostende (Belgium), Palazzo Forti, Verona (Italy), Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (Germany), Yeshiva University Museum, New York (USA), CU Art Museum, Boulder (USA) and a solo show at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg (2011).
In 2013 he participates at the exhibition Personal Structures at Palazzo Bembo, which is part of the official program of the 55th Venice Biennale.
Chef’s work is represented in the permanent collection of the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. His work is also held in the The Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection in the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum; the Kolodzei Art Foundation; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje, Macedonia; the Sigmund Freud’s Dreams Museum in St. Petersburg; and Checkpoint Charlie Museum in Berlin, Germany, among others.