BEHIND THE BARS • Corridor
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BEHIND THE BARS

Konstantin Benkovich the Russian activist innovated artist has landed in Corridor Contemporary Gallery.

Artworks of Benkovich are in the permanent museum collections and in many private collections around the globe.  Together with Pussy Riot and a number of other well-known Russian artists, he participated in the group exhibition “Russian Post-Soviet Actionism” at the Saatchi Art Gallery in London in 2017, various public projects worldwide, exhibitions in the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow (2021) and the exhibition “Millennials in Contemporary Russian Art” running today in the Russian State Museum in Saint-Petersburg.

His works deal with freedom and unfreedom through the symbols and materiality of his sculptures.
The reconsidered, reinvented symbols turn into new – critical, political, desacralized ones.

The most dominant material in his works are steel bars which he cuts and welds into grids. The rebar and steel in Russia is the synonym of unfreedom. The rebar is an absolute symbol of aggression.

The Flag series was created in Israel after Benkovich was required to quarantine in Israel for a few months due to COVID-19.

FLAG WITH A DUCK WITH KHAKI STRIPES, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 70 x 100 cm

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The WTC installation (World Trade Center) refers to the September 11 attacks which was disastrous on a global scale. Benkovich applied the inverted perspective method in order to depict the tragic event “from the other perspective”. 

This whole piece resembles an altar, and at the same time, the frozen moment, before the disaster was just about to happen, the people were still alive, but were trapped in the buildings and the planes – like in prison cells, had no way out – while approaching imminent death.

 
THE WTC, 2019, Steel rebar, welding, 40 kg, 250 x 120 cm
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The flags of Israel and Palestine in khaki color are not just flags of states, they are a symbol of confrontation between two peoples. Military chevrons. Layers of metal turn flags into lattices, which, when superimposed on each other, form a symbiosis of two symbols, where there is more in common than different.

The sculptor tries to use art as diplomatic language to stop confrontation and bloodshed, and to offer a perspective that emphasizes the potential of the peaceful coexistence of the Israeli and Palestinian nations.

 
THE PROMISE, 2020, Metal / welding, Center for Contemporary Art (Tel Aviv)

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This metal grid “Scream” hovering over the wall on the Moskvoretsky Bridge is an addition to the memorial of Boris Nemtsov where he was killed: a sculptural version of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”
The artwork was created as a means to convey the feelings overwhelming the people following the politician, Boris Nemtsov’s murder.

 
 
SCREAM,2018, Metal / welding, 36×26 cm, Place of the murder of Boris Nemtsov. Bolshoy Moskvoretsky bridge, Moscow
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Ironically, the artwork “Departures and Arrivals Board” very clearly reflected the realities of our world, which have become relevant to all of us in 2020. All human progress and all freedom of movement turned out to be powerless in the face of the coronavirus pandemic – invisible virus, which at one moment “turned off” the entire travel industry, as well as all world processes associated with civil aviation.

 
 
DEPARTURES AND ARRIVALS BOARD,  2018, Acrylic on canvas 190 x 190 cm.
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Beretta, 2019, Painted  Metal and Welding, 75 × 80 cm, Edition of 5
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Donald Duck, 2018, Metal and Welding, 40 × 38 cm, Edition of 5
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Five Yellow Ducks (Set), 2017, Painted Metal and Welding, 20 × 27 cm
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From the press / by Alexander Borovsky

Konstantin Benkovich appears to me to be the most fitting and fit-for-success media artist of the late 2010s.

I think that Benkovich was somehow able to nurture his sense of mediality, something they do not teach at Saint Petersburg Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design or anywhere else for that matter. The artist also honed in on his own technique: the thick rebar and welding. He also found his module: the relation between height and width of the matrix quadrants to the thickness of rebar. Coloring came in its due time too. The structural solutions varied as well: turning away from the grid support, gaps/ redactions in composition, etc. the artist has learned to graft several layers of mediality onto the conceptual framework of an idea.

Konstantin, in his projects, publicly speaks out against corruption at all levels of government. Since 2017, the yellow duck has become a real symbol of the corruption component of today’s regimes, and not only in Russia. Many of Benkovich’s works are made of rebar and represent gratings, symbolizing unjustified expectations from modern authorities, their desire to restrict freedom of people, be it a prison sentence for dissent or attempts to restrict freedom of speech and thought, because this trend is gaining momentum not only in regime states, but, as we can see, on social networks, which were created as a platform for completely free expression of opinions.

Benkovich achieved great success in 2016 with a major project, called Koons’ Dog, right in front of the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
KOON’S DOG, 2016, Metal / welding 250 x 300 x 70 cm, Edition of 5
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For more info visit Konstantin Benkovich artist’s age.