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About

 

Babenko atelier for Biënnale van Venetië 2017 - Luciano Benetton

Babenko studio photographs for the catalog of Venice Biënnale 2017 – Luciano Benetton

 ABOUT ANDREJ BABENKO

Independent punk artist Andrej Babenko – born in 1974 in Bojarka, Ukraine – lives and works in Tervuren, Brussels. He obtained his Master degree in Visual Arts at the Karel de Grote Hogeschool in Antwerp, Belgium and studied at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK.

For several years he worked as a graphic designer and illustrator for Flanders Opera where he was known for his innovative posters and composer portraits.

Already in the 1980s, at the time of the communist regime, Babenko was looking for artistic freedom. He therefore decided to leave Ukraine as a 14-year old punker to join an underground rock club in Saint Petersburg, Russia. In 1999 Andrej fled from Ukraine to Belgium after having been arrested numerous times for being a punker. Considered to be at risk in his home country because of his socially critical views he was granted asylum in Belgim. Throughout his wanderings in Eastern and Western Europe the cultural input that Babenko experienced can be said to be very diverse at the least.

 

 

“What is regarded as high art in Eastern Europe, however, is often not even considered worth looking at in the West, and vice versa. This observation has led Andrej Babenko to question what purpose art exactly serves, if any”.
Catalog Venice Biennale 2017

“The brilliant artist Andrej Babenko is known for his collaboration with Flanders Opera House, Banksy, Pussy Riot, Belgian and Post Soviet rock stars, the Venice Biennale 2017”
Russian Top Society

“About my portrait for Vyacheslav Butusov specifically I can say I no longer cut my arms listening to his songs but I did cut out the five-layer stencil and blew it out of the spray can to express my respect for the one who stood the test of time!”
Performance Andrej Babenko & Vyacheslav Butusov Amsterdam 2017

“Your work is like a performance, a happening, a Munchian scream that reminds me of some bold poems of Charles Bukowski I like to declaim and between which Mauro’s dirty riffs fit excellently…”.
Dirk De Wachter, in preparation of co-operation with Babenko and Pawlowski

 

MUHKA

2012 M HKA – Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp

Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp & Contemporary Art Sucks 2013

2012 M HKA – Never Mind The Concept – Contemporary Art Sucks!

As a refugee that emigrated from Ukrain to Belgium at the age of 25 after having been arrested numerous times for being a punker, the cultural input that Babenko Belgium has experienced can be said to be very diverse at the least. Already in the eighties he was looking for artistic freedom in times of a communist regime by fleeing from Ukrain as a 14-year old punker to an underground rock club in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

What is regarded as high art in Eastern Europe, however, is often not even considered worth looking at in the West and vice versa. Also, the chaotic, multilayered conspiracy thinking of Eastern Europe seems to be opposed to the linear and structured way of thinking in the West.

This observation has ultimately led Babenko Belgium to question what purpose art exactly serves, if any. What should an artwork have as an effect? What is the task of the artist?

By combining different things in a very impulsive and anarchistic manner Babenko Belgium achieves in his experiments the creation of all kinds of bizarre performances and spatial collages. His chaotic collages resemble virtuoso soviet rockets that come about in an intuitive way, while his chaotic performances are inspired by communist propaganda.

The bright colours reveal the psychological struggle of a stranger in a capitalist society. Babenko Belgium acts as a Russian spy to conquer and blow up the whole lot in his own selfish advantage; he is looking for the challenge. At times taking things too literally, he starts making classical stencil portraits of the great ones in a copy paste manner after the example of Lenin and Stalin.

By presenting these works together in a space Babenko Belgium creates dynamic spatial collages that refer among others to Tatlin’s Tower and evoke similar questions: So what is the “utopia” ?

Babenko Belgium is continuously working on his imagery to express his own willful anarchistic vision. Using the technique of blind drawing he achieves the loss of physical control while gaining freedom of thought. Resulting creations are humanized by integrating emotions that originate from following the image. By enlarging the sketches and transferring them onto large canvas, monumental images arise that are not only filled with the artist’s energy, but that depict the world and society as perceived by the artist himself, that tell a story and present the world from another perspective. Because art should keep society awake.

Marc Schepers & Babenko Belgium

06/03/13