Vasilij Romanenkov was born in 1953 in Bogdanovka, a remote corner of Russia. He moved to the Moscow region to train as a cabinet-maker, and started to draw at the age of twenty-two. He was discovered by the artist Rotanov, who encouraged him to keep his own style. His work draws on recurring themes, regularly featuring major life events from childbirth to funerals.
The New York Times praised his work in 2003: “The densely worked surfaces reward close study, while the imagery exudes a haunting, otherworldly air”.
He describes his own creative process as “It is as if someone were whispering something in my ear, as if someone in the universe were guiding me”. He worked as a gardener at a hotel in the suburbs of Moscow.
Romanenkov was awarded the Grand Prix at the International Triennial of Naive Art in Bratislava (Insita) in 2004 and received an honorable mention of the jury at the same exhibition in 1994 and 1997.
art brut : a story of individual mythologies, works from the treger/saint silvestre, oliva creative factory, são joão da madeira, from june 18th june to february 28th, 2017.
the museum of everything, kunsthal rotterdam, from march 5th to may 22nd 2016, netherlands.
soit 10 ans : états intérieurs, christian berst art brut gallery, paris, from september 12th to october 21st, 2015.
élevations, at the palais idéal du facteur cheval, hauterives, from april 30th to august 30th, 2015.
art brut : breaking the boundaries, treger-saint silvestre collection, from june 1st to september 11th, 2014, curator : christian berst, oliva creative factory, sao joao da madeira, portugal.
art paris - art fair 2013, paris, grand palais, march 28th - april 1st, 2013.
henriette zéphir : une femme sous influence, christian berst gallery, february 4th - march 5th, 2011.
back in the U.S.S.R. : figures de l'art brut russe 2, christian berst gallery, january 22nd - march 5th, 2010.
figures de l'art brut russe : lobanov, almazov, leonov, tomanenkov, objet trouvé gallery (christian berst), february 24th - april 1st, 2006.
exhibition catalogue, élévations, collections bruno decharme et antoine de galbert, hommage à joseph ferdinand cheval, palais idéal du facteur cheval, hauterives, (april 30th – august 30th, 2015), text by barbara safarova, lienart ed., 2015.
preTENse, exhibition catalogue, paris, christian berst art brut ed., 2015.
exhibition catalogue, treger-saint silvestre collection, (from june 1st to september 11st, 2014at the oliva creative factory in sao joao da madeira, portugal), paris, christian berst art brut ed., 2014.
arte bruta, terra incognita, exhibition catalogue, (treger-saint silvestre collection lisbon, april 20th - september 23rd, 2012 at the arpad-szenses – viera da silva foundation), texts by christian berst, marina bairrao ruivo, antonio saint silvestre, paris, lelivredart, 2012.
sous le vent de l’art brut, collection charlotte zander, exhibition catalogue (17. 01 au 26. 08. 2011), texts by martine lusardy, jean-louis lanoux, paris, halle saint pierre, 2010.
back in the U.S.S.R.: figures de l'art brut russe 2, exhibition catalogue, paris, christian berst ed., lelivredart, 2010.
bogemskaja k., naivnye khudozhniki rossii, st petersburg, aletejja, 2009.
haltourine, ioulian, k voprossou ob avtorckih izméneniah v pro-izvedeniah 1900-1910 godov, sobranié chedevrof, redactor malévitcha, 2008.
james young, "the intricate, mosaic-like works of vasilij romanenkov embody a serene and timeless vision of a perfectly ordered world. james young explores their background", in raw vision n°61, 2007.
vadim pomeshchikov, "grand prix insita 2004, vasilij romanenkov", in catalogue d'exposition insita 2007, bratislava, slovak national gallery.
vadim pomeshchikov, "vasilij romanenkov", in catalogue d'exposition insita 2004, bratislava, slovak national gallery.
- The Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, Manchester (Saint Pierre and Miquelon)
- Charlotte Zander Museum, Cologne (Germany)
- Arnulf Rainer collection, Vienne (Austria)
- abcd collection, montreuil (France)
- Treger Saint Silvestre collection, Porto (Portugal)
- Museum of Outsider Art, Moscou (Russia (Russian Federation))
- Dammann collection, Bâle (Switzerland)
- Museum of Naïve Art, Moscou (Russia (Russian Federation))
- Tsaritsyno State Museum, Moscou (Russia (Russian Federation))
selective press review
- un musée d'art brut ouvre au Portugal authors Roxana Azimi in Quotidien de l'art, July 1st 2014.
- Figures de l'art brut russe authors in Artension, March April 2006.
- Brut russe à la galerie Objet trouvé authors in Libération, March 20 2006.
- Figures de l'art brut russe authors in A nous Paris, March 20 2006.
- Les figures de l'art brut russe authors in Télérama sortir, March 8 2006.
- Figures de l'art brut russe authors in animula vagula, February 22 2006.
- Art brut : l'irréductible authors avec une interview de christian berst in Télérama sortir, February 15 2006.