Dmitri Prigov (1940 – 2017, Moscow) was one of the most prominent Soviet unofficial art scene artists. He is one of the founders of Moscow Conceptualism. Prigov was a poet and artist who worked as a graphic artist, created sculptures, installations, and did performances.
Prigov graduated Sculpture from the Stroganov Art Institute in Moscow. His generation of students also included artists such as were Boris Orlov, Komar and Melamid, Leonid Sokov, and Alexander Kosolapov.
Prigov started writing poetry in 1956 and was a very prolific writer (claiming over 35 000 poems). Although he wrote a lot, his works circulated only as samizdats and overseas publications. His work as a visual artist included fragile materials such as newspapers, in which he placed words in Latin and Cyrillic ("Prigov", "Perestroika", "Memory" etc.). In the mid.1980s, he created stikhograms, works on a typewriter that resembled earlier typographical experiments. During the 1990s, Prigov started creating sketches for installations on paper (Phantom Installations).
With Boris Orlov, he rented a studio in 1972, which became a meeting place for underground artists and poets.
He is one of the founders of Moscow Conceptualism. The central figures in the movement were Dmitri Prigov, Ilya Kabakov, Irina Nakhova, Viktor Pivovarov, Eric Bulatov, Andrei Monastyrski and Komar and Melamid. Some shared features of their work include Soviet iconography, which they interpreted through conceptual or pop-art approach, often critical of its aesthetic and iconographic foundations.
In the early 1980s, with Victor Erofeyev and Vladimir Sorokin, he founded the EPS group. The group had a goal the deconstruction of Soviet ideology.
He was briefly detained in a psychiatric hospital in 1986 due to his action in which he posted a series of his poems (forewarnings) on the streets on the eve of Perestroika. He was released only after several cultural figures intervened on his behalf.
Prigov died of a heart attack in 2007.