October 28, 2014

Alexander Emelyanov, философ, ученый, художник/philosopher, scientist, artist

facade of the site (summer 2018)
all pictures courtesy of Alexander Emelyanov

Alexander Emelyanov’s  art environment in Samara, Russia, started around 2011, is one of the most interesting of Russia, first because of its continuous thematic as well as spacious development in recent years, but then also because of the personality of its designer, who is not just an artist, but first and foremost a philosopher and scientist.


Emelyanov was born in 1964 in Tashkent, Russia. He studied pediatrics in the 1980's, was in the army (1994-1998) and settled in 1998 as a hospital doctor in Samara, a city in the south-eastern part of European Russia on the east banks of the Volga River.

An industrial city, Samara is also a scientific, educational and cultural center with a number of drama theaters, a ballet theater, an opera house, a philharmonic and various museums and art galleries.

Attracted to the world of art, Emelyanov in the late 1990's as a self-taught artist began making paintings in a naive style. In the course of the years he has made several hundred paintings (a selection of his paintings can be seen on the ArsenalArt website)

Architecture and sculpture

Around 2009 Emelyanov added another approach to his artistic activities by examining what he could create in the field of architecture and sculpting from an art brut point of view. 

The picture below has an early example of this new approach. Entitled Akvaduk 3 it is a sculpture that probably inspired Emelyanov to continue making creations in the context of akvaduktologa, a selfmade term that denotes a special variety of builded structures with uprights and girders. 

Akvaduk 3

The transformation of the garden around his house into an art environment began around 2011 when Emelyanov began constructing a huge structure made from used material such as old barrels, pots, parts of a refrigerator and so on: the Akvaduk Tashkent 13, as in below picture.

 Akvaduk Tashkent 13

This impressive, high rising structure of 4 meters wide and 3 meters high (13.1 x 9.8 ft) along the garden's fence, entitled Akvaduk Tashkent 13, when seen as a whole has the potential of a spaceship, and hides in its details various imaginative scenes, such as the medics in below picture.

Akvaduk Tashkent 13, detail

Various other creative elements in the garden

The garden has been filled with various other items, such as puppets, sculptures, decorated walls, panels with texts or inscriptions....

Some totem-like sculpted elements and structures -as in above picture- mark the entrance to a gazebo that first was the artist's own art gallery, but later got other destinations.

Frescoes indoors

Indoors Emelyanov has decorated the walls of two rooms with frescoes, executed with oil and acrylic paint. One fresco is entitled The temple of the first heaven, the other bears the name Paradise No 2.

Decorating the walls of a house in Russia traditionally is not uncommon, in particular in farmhouses in the countryside. However, Emelyanov's way of painting the frescoes is not traditionally at all. The style of his frescoes may have links with naive art, but then with a lot of references to contemporary ways of expression and themes.

In the same manner, the way Emelyanov has transformed his house and garden into an art environment, in particular his preference to work with cement and iron and with recycled material, is very much in line with other builders of art environments elsewhere in Europe.

With some of these creators, in particular those from Finland, he shares the non-traditional, visionary and often humoristic way of portraying of and commenting upon happenings around.

Emelyanov, the philosopher and scientist

Alexander Emelyanov is not only active in the field of folk art, he first of all is interested in philosophy and he describes himself as a “philosopher with visuals”.

He completed his studies with a dissertation on a topic in pediatrics. In his further scientific development a specific theme has become very important, namely the reconstruction of the history of the New Testament.

On this topic he already published two studies: Иисус  врач иудейский, march 2015 (Jesus is a Hebrew doctor, available as e-book). In this book the idea is elaborated and argued that Jesus was a unique doctor, psychotherapist and teacher, as well as the founder of a medical school.

The second publication Философская революция в Иудее: Филон и Иисус, august 2016. (Philosophical revolution in Judea: Philo and Jesus, also available as e-book) includes a further elaboration of this theme.

View on the field of art environments

Emelyanov's philosophic approach of the field of art environments implies that, in fact, each creator of a folk art environment is the author of a philosophical art system, which is designed and constructed using a variety of materials and which is inextricably linked with the place of living and the country of the author.

Most creators of an art environment act on the basis of a relatively simple philosophy which just involves the satisfaction that arises from embellishing their daily environment.

But a small number of creators, who seek self-confirmation by expressing themselves in artwork, operate on a more fundamental philosophical level.

For example Yevgeny M. Malakhin, also known as Bukashkin (1938-2005) from Yekaterinburg, Russia, developed a theory about garbage to the effect that waste can be seen as art or as a base of an artwork, and following this concept he painted murals on concrete fences, garages, walls of buildings, garbage bins and so on.

Another example is Chomo (1907-1999) from France, whose artwork -and his way of life retracted in the woods- derives from a fundamental criticism of the consumer society.

Emelyanov, who as an active philosopher is part of this small number of creators, classifies the art environments made by these creators as mega art environments, wherein mega refers to the more comprehensive nature of the principles underlying the artwork.

This art environment is an ongoing affair

The naive architecture in the garden is an ongoing affair. In 2015 Emelyanov added constructions which depict an airport.

This airport is named F. Cheval 1, a humoristic reference to the famous french postman who created le Palais Ideal (the Ideal Palace).

The picture below portrays the control tower.

Happy landings !

The park museum

During 2016 Emelyanov expanded the scope of his activities in the field of outsider art environments, both in conceptual and in practical terms.

He took into service a Парк музей народного и современного искусства "Зубчаниновский (Park museum of folk and contemporary art "Zubchaninovsky").

The site includes a piece of unused land located out of town. The office is equiped with a signboard and some smaller creations already have been arranged.
Russian Museum of Contemporary Folk Art

facade (around march 2018)
click to enlarge

Indeed, Emelyanov is constantly actively engaged in the development of his art environment. The photo above (March 2018) shows the entrance of the site, as it was recently re-assembled.

The text on the sign on the facade explains what is located here: Русский музей современного народного творчества имени И. В. Карпунова (Russian Museum of contemporary folk art named I.V. Karpunov).

With the transformation of the site from art environment to museum, Emelyanov is taking an important step, because it underlines that self-taught artists and art environments deserve a full-fledged place in the art world. The homage to Ivan Karpunov (1909-2004), an artist from a previous generation living in Samara and characterized by a unique handwriting, is fully in accordance with this.

summer 2018

The facade also includes a reference to Emelyanov's philosophical studies. In 2018 a cross was erected, with the twelve disciples rowing a boat on a sea of denim fabric. A reference to the Gospel of Mark, chapter 8 paragraphs 14-21, from which the text on the cross Do you not understand it yet? is derived too.

Documentation/more pictures
* Alexander Emelyanov, Folk art environments of Russia, from previous to later creations, in OEE-texts (added april 2017)
* A selection of Emelyanov's (recent) creative constructions on the ArtMajeur website
* Facebookpage Narodny muzey igry  v soldatiki "Sasha Yemel'yanov(The National Museum of the game of soldiers "Sasha Emelyanov"), began november 2014. This page has more pictures of the airport referred to in above text.

first published oct 2014, last revised august 2018

Alexander Emelyanov
Zubchaninovka, Samara, region Samara
Russian Federation
visits on appointment only


  1. Большое Спасибо Хенк! Вы настоящий Мастер! Общение с Вами доставляет огромное удовольствие! Спасибо.

  2. Спасибо, Александр


  4. Уважаемый Хенк вашему Гению нет предела, как и вашему трудолюбию! Спасибо! Наш следующий музей имени Хенк ван Ес!

  5. Спасибо Ученому , исследователю, энциклопедисту ув. Хенку! Вам удалось создать Энциклопедию совершенно нового раздела в искусстве! Вы один сделали труд сотни научных работников. Наш маленький музей "Народных арт сред носит ваше имя"! Спасибо!