Born in January 1948 in the Tambov Region of the USSR;
1948 - moving with parents to Moscow;
1955 - 1963 - secondary school;
1963 - 1967 - education and graduation from the Chemical Engineering Branch of the Lenin Moscow Chemical Polytechnical School;
1967 - 1969 - designer-mechanics in the Scientific Research Institute of Tractor and Agricultural Engineering;
1969 - 1972 - active duty in North Navy;
1972 - 1980 - work, education and graduation of faculty interior & equipment of Stroganov Moscow State Industrial Art University;
1975 - 1990 - type and artist-designer of Decorative Arts Combine;
1991 - 1996 - art director of Moscow literature magazine "Commentaries";
1980 engaged in the arts, photography and design;
1998 - beginning of curatorial activity.
Member of Professional Union of Artists


curators projects Curatorial projects

exhibitions Exhibitions

collections Collection where works are held

essay of harley Publications

"Three days in August",
A.Kholopov's photomontage
of the berricaded Russian White House.
ARTnews, January 1992


ExhibitionPolitically motivated justice and political prisoners in contemporary Russia",
Press conference.
Andrei Sakharov Museum and Civic Center, Moscow, February, 2006
Artist A.Kholopov

Exhibition opening.

Curatorial projects:

First Moscow Artistamp Exhibition "First Moscow Artistamp Exhibition", 1998

Motherland/Fatherland Artistamp Exhibition "Motherland/Fatherland Artistamp Exhibition", 2002

Moscow Artistamp Collection "Moscow Artistamp Collection"

Sewers of the World, Unite! "Sewers of the World, Unite!", started at 2000



1989 - "EROS / SPIRITO & PELLE", Massa-Carrara, Italy.
1991 - "Transitional Period Representative Portrait" , "A-3" Gallery, Moscow.
1994 - "Copy - Mon Amour", Contemporary Arts Center, Moscow.
1996 - "Commentaries-10". The European Cultural Club, Moscow.
1997 - "The Pacific Rim Artistamp Congress", San-Francisco, USA.
1997 - 1998 "Mail-Art Event", Lausanne, Switzerland / Rangoon, Burma.
1998 - "M'ARS -10-th Anniversary", "M'Ars Gallery, Moscow.
1998 - "The Popular Art of Postal Parody", Richmond Art Gallery, Canada.
1999 - "Arte Postal Hacia el Nuevo Milenio", Museo de Filatelia de Oaxaca, Mexico
2000 - "Artistamp-2000", Elgin Community College, Chicago, USA
2000 - "Art is Stamp", The Art Institute of Boston Lesley College, Boston, USA
2000 - "Mail Art et timbres d'artistes", Alberville, France
2000 - "The ART-Info Network Projects", "ART-Manege '2000", Moscow.
2001 - "Community", Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
2001 - "Image of Japan", Akita University, Japan
2001 - "The Photo Will Rescue the World!" - Moscow Museum of Arts and Crafts.
2002 - "Field -Study Art-2002", Geelong, Australia.
2003 - "Post Modern Post", Sonoma County Museum, San Francisco, USA.
2003 - "World Forum of Manhole Covers", N.Y.C., USA.
2003 - "STAMP!", Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA.
2004 - "Paradise", The Moscow International Forum of Art Initiatives,
Moscow State Exhibition Hall "Novy Manege"
2005 - "Poland - Russia: Meeting or collision", Eye for Art Gallery, Krakow, Poland
2005 - "Artistamps", Art Book Press Gallery, Seattle, Wa. USA
2005 - "What is Big?", Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, UK
2005 - "Axis of Evil: The Secret History of Sin", Glass Curtain Gallery, Chicago, USA
2005 - "What is Big?" Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, UK
2005 - "SUN of FUN ", Casier , Treviso, Italy
2006 - "Mostly Red", Off-Centre Gallery, Bristol, UK
2006 - "Politically motivated justice and political prisoners in contemporary Russia", Andrei Sakharov Museum and Civic Center, Moscow
2006 - "Made in USSR", T-Modul, Moscow
2006 - "10 Years of the Section Photography New Media", NCC, Krakow, Poland
2006 - "PRINT-Ex", Horward Garden Gallery, University of Wales in Cardiff, UK


William J.Burns, USA ambassador in Moscow, visit of the exhibition.
Presentation of memorable exhibition specimen to USA ambassador.
Director of museum Ury Samodurov, William J.Burns and Alexander Kholopov.

Collections where works are held:

Victoria and Albert Museum (UK),
Museo de Filatelia de Oaxaca ( Mexico),
Collection of Krakow International Graphic Triennial,
Akita University (Japan),
Moscow Contemporary Art Center "M'ars",
Contemporary Art Center (Kaliningrad),
privat collections of Russia, USA, France,
Australia, Italy, Canada, Belgium ets.


The Moscow International Forum of Art Initiatives, 2004. Exhibition "Paradise".
A.Kholopov exposition in "Pirogi" on Nickolskaya.


"FOME E FIGURE DELL'EROS", Nicola Micieli, Eros. Spirito & Pelle, 1991
"ARTnews" magazine, January 1992
"Unnofficial Moscow", Moscow, 1999
"Matador" magazine twenty-second, Moscow, July-August 1999
"Novyje Izvestija" newspaper, Moscow, July 28, 1999
"Artistamps Francobolli D'Artista", Italy, 2000
"Artchronika" magazine, Moscow, #4-5 / 2001
"Monitor" magazine, Moscow, #4/2001
"Mail Art et Timbres D'Artistes", Le Dome Mediatheque, Alberville, France, 2000
"Vremya MN" newspaper, Moscow, March 17, #47/2001
"MK-Boulevard" newspaper, Moscow, June 4-10, 2001 "
"Komsomolskaya Pravda" newspaper, Moscow, #106, June 18-25, 2001
"Culture" newspaper, Moscow, June 7-13, #21/2001
"Evening Club" newspaper, Moscow, June 1-7, #21/2001
"Versija" newspaper, Moscow, June 5-11, #20/2001
"Evening Moscow" newspaper , Moscow, May 28, #97/2001
"Commersant - Weekly" newspaper, Moscow, June2, #95/2001
"Vojazh" magazine, Moscow, May, 2002
"Vremya Novostej" newspaper, 15 July, #124/2002
"Grafia" magazine, Krakow, 3(5)/2003
"Architecture Construction Disign" magazine, Moscow, 5 (45) 2004
"Axis of Evil: Perforated Praeter Naturam", the book of Qualiatica Press, Chicago, 2004
"Made in USSR", exhibition catalogue, Felix Berezner, Moscow, 2006

T-Modul, Moscow, 2006. A.Kholopov's exposition on exhibition "Made in USSR".

"The Muse and Mother Russia", Harley (for book "World Artistamps"), Chicago, 2006

Few epochs have seen more turmoil, struggle, suffering and destruction than those visited on Russia and its people in the 20th century. The art and artists of Russia , from the late 19th through the early 21st centuries, vividly reflects the drama of this period in Russian history. After the fall of the Imperial regime of the Tzars, the birth of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin ( 1870-1924) initiated a remarkable, though short lived, period in the arts. The theatre, film, ballet, music, literature and the plastic arts all reflected a period of unrestrained exuberance and hope. The influence of the artists working during this period in Russia is still felt today.

In the plastic arts, the pioneering work of Kasimir Malevich ( 1878-1935), Vladimir Tatlin (1885-1953),Lazar (El) Lissitzky (1890-1941) and Liubov Popova (1889-1924), to name a few, broke exciting new ground and planted the seeds of innovation and vision that continued to grow and inspire throughout the 20th century. The films of Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein (1898-1948) also provided lasting inspiration throughout the subsequent development of the new art form. These artists embraced the traditions of Slavic art ranging from the iconic art of the church to the vital folk traditions of the Russian peasant and re-invigorated these genres with the infusion of the ideas of the avant-garde which they embodied.

As the dictates of communism took hold and the comparatively enlightened leadership of Lenin was superceded by the despotism of Joseph Stalin (1879-1953), the long decades of suppression of the arts began. Soviet artists were herded into state controlled unions as esthetic decrees were promulgated by the government. These stifling bureaucracies were presided over by the most desiccated of academics and the most fervent of party aparatchniks. Artists were driven underground or relegated to the hell of Stalin's gulags. Even musical luminaries of the stature of Sergei Sergeivich Prokofiev ( 1891-1953) and Demitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) were endentured to party hacks and subjected to terrifying audiences with Stalin when they strayed from the Party line. They were saved from a worse fate only by their international stature. In literature, one has only to peruse the life and writing of Alexander Solzhenitsyn to realize the draconian measures taken by the state to control the artists of the Soviet Union. At this time many great artists sought escape and fled to the west. Wassily Kandinsky ( 1866-1944), Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Igor Fedorovich Stravinsky (1882-1971), Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich ( b.1927) and Rudolf Nureyev (1939-1993) are among the many artists who left their homeland to realize the full extent of their respective genius in the western world. The heroic stature and suffering of those that remained in the Soviet Union cannot be too emphatically stated.

After the initial burst of artistic freedom and innovation that accompanied the Revolution of 1917, the miasma of socialist realism cast its pall. Many of the artists of integrity remaining in the Soviet Union were driven underground as others were co-opted into the State system. Some arts could more readily accommodate the new Soviet reality than others. Literature sought refuge in samizdat, the manuscripts and typescripts circulated with great secrecy among fellow artists and the intelligentsia. The visual arts faced a more difficult problem and many gifted artist were turned into drones used to execute the propaganda of the party. Entire generations of artists were defeated either by state design or by the grim consequences of abject poverty.

Beginning roughly in the last quarter of the 20th century, the failures of the communist state began to produce fissures in the militantly maintained facade of the Soviet Union. The death of Stalin in 1953 produced a prolonged internal struggle for power. This eventually opened the way for new leaders such as Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (1894-1971) and Mikhail Gorbachev (b.1931) , both of whom made movements towards a more open society. In 1986, Gorbachev proclaimed the new concepts of “perestroika” and “glasnost” which acknowledged the extent of internal dissent and the ultimate impossibility of containment. The death grip of the state on the arts began to dissipate. Long suppressed works of literature were published in the west and this brought international pressure to bear. Internally, young poets such as Andrei Vosnesensky and Yevgeny Alexandrovich Yevtushenko ( b.1933) were once again speaking directly to the people.

In the visual arts, a regeneration of dynamic proportions began to take place. The current generation of Russian artists combine a keen sense of their fecund cultural history and identity with a profound appreciation for the innovations and originality of their early 20th century forbears. This heritage is being enriched by their belated familiarity with what has transpired in the rest of the world during their long enforced isolation. Music, literature, film and the plastic arts of the west have permeated Russian culture in bits and pieces. They have had no less an impact in spite of their fragmented introduction.

Mail Art, Correspondence Art and the artistamp have long been ideal media for penetrating censorious barriers. Mail Art has provided an historically unique matrix for connecting artists directly with one another without official interference. It provided one of the rare ways to penetrate the “iron curtain” during the decades of the cold war. Now, with the advent of the internet, the free flow of creative dialogue is difficult, if not impossible, to impede. The battle is not over. The perpetual pendulum of history continues to swing from left to right and back again. Artists continue to lead the charge against suppression of every ilk, be it fascism, dictatorship or social injustice.

Alexander “Trouser” Kholopov

Upon closer examination, the personal stories reflected in the brief history of artistamps in Russia are both poignant and inspirational. Alexander Kholopov tells of his clandestine romance with the postage stamp as a child. As a young schoolboy, he secreted away the few kopeks saved from his lunch money for weekend visits to the alley where the black market in foreign postage stamps thrived. These minuscule works of art were treasured windows into an exotic world unlike his own that he would never visit. Even these benign childhood adventures didn't escape the ubiquitous attention of the state. Located next to the central Moscow KGB building, the crowds were infiltrated with undercover government agents. The Soviet government attempted to stifle this unhealthy interest in the foreign by producing vast quantities of large and colorful stamps and controlled their distribution by yet another official organization for stamp collectors. Kholopov's father eventually discovered his illicit trove and as a staunch and faithful communist father, burned each stamp in a flame of victory for the state. Many years later, Kholopov's first issue of artistamps, “The Double Portrait”, were issued for Zanzibar. From the rekindled dreams of his youth, he had placed his world beyond the reach of both parental and state control.

As so many artists of the Soviet era, Kholopov's talents were put to use in an official capacity . He spent many years designing and building exposition displays in propagandistic glorification of Soviet progress. Not until the gradual deterioration and dissolution of the Soviet government was he able to pursue his own personal artistic goals. The economic hardship wedded to this new freedom was all but insurmountable. Many fellow artists took advantage of their new freedom not only to travel, but to emigrate as well. Working under dire economic restraints, Kholopov wanted to commemorate the loss of so many friends. Under the circumstances the artistamp provide an ideal solution and he produced the “Greatest of the Best Ex USSR People” in 1996. Once again memories of his youthful postal adventures led him to place this issue in the “Western Sahara”. Matching his Slavic humor with his free spirit, he chose a location beyond the control of any political geography.

1996 The “Sewer Covers” Project

Released in 1996 after many years of work, the “Sewer Cover” project reflects in an ingenious way Kholopov's personal history as an artist throughout the isolation of the Soviet era. From the BBC to BB King to the Beatles, each sewer cover is dedicated to the many sources of stimulation and inspiration that sustained his art. Choosing the sewer cover as a vehicle for his project is an apt reflection of the sardonic and bitter-sweet humor that characterizes so much of Russian humor.

2003 “My Dear Friends”

The fall of the Soviet Union and the birth of a new Russia coincided with new technologies that quickly attracted the attention of the liberated artistic community. Initially color xerography and the internet were subjected to strict government control in an effort to detect conspiracy and various forms of fraudulent documentation. Gradually as artists gained access to these new media they were integrated into the international community . Through these new technologies, Kholopov has been welcomed into the thriving international community of mail artists. The 2003 “My Dear Friends” sheet of stamps mirrors his expanding dialogue with fellow Russian artists as well as his exchanges with artists from around the world. It is a philatelic tradition to memorialize the dead and one that dominated official Soviet philately to a great degree. In this sheet, Kholopov appropriates this tradition to honor seven of his deceased friends.

“Portrait of #192”

Kholopov's early fascination and familiarity with official postage stamps greatly influenced his first works in that genre. His contact with the larger international community of stampartists and their countless variations on the format has opened up his definition of what constitutes an artistamp. His beautiful woman's portrait is comprised of 192 stamps spread over eight separate sheets. Minimizing denomination and country designation, his use of the perforation not only adds textural interest but ties the work firmly to the artistamp genre.

Kholopov continues to explore the limitless possibilities of the stamp medium. Being integrated into the international mail art community continues to provide opportunities not only for inspiration but exhibition of his work as well. The economic situation continues to be a terrible burden for most artists in Russia. Small independent galleries continue to provide a venue of education and exchange and serve a relatively small coterie of artists and collectors. There are occasional opportunities for exposure in the official press and government supported galleries and museums. As in so many countries, the occasional patronage of the wealthy provides temporary relief from the constant economic struggle that seems to be the norm of the artist's life.


March 27, 2006
Terra Candella.