Expos

Biographical information

Artistic information

2004-2008 Master in Visual Arts, Karel de Grote Hogeschool, Antwerp, Belgium

2008 Erasmus, Master in Visual Arts University of the West of Engeland, Bristol, UK

2002-2008 Painting & Drawing, Royal Academy for Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium

Solo exhibitions

2018 aug 17 Babenko De Wachter & Pawlowski – Paintings – Poems Bukowski – Music – Pukkelpop, Hasselt, Belgium

2018 feb 24 Babenko De Wachter & Pawlowski – Paintings – Poems Bukowski – Music – Kunsthal Extra City, Antwerp, Belgium
2018 Jun 2 Andrej Babenko & Mauro Pawlowski Kunstvestdagen, Mechelen, Belgium

2018 Andrej Babenko Luciano Benetton2016, BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium
curated by Marianne Van Boxelaere

2018 Exposition at Join The Dots / Unire le distanze, Italie

2018 “Wall of fame” exposition 9 portret’s in Art at Gallerie Ecoled’olargue (South of France)
2018 Vrijzinnig Centrum De Geus, Harelbeke, Belgium

2017 Performance Andrej Babenko & Maksim Galkin.

Portrait’s of Alla Pugacheva & Maksim Galkin, Amsterdam

2017 Performance Andrej Babenko & Vyacheslav Butusov, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2017 Exhibition ‘An Artist’s wife’s hallucination’, ‘t Lastig Portret, Antwerp, Belgium

2017 Exhibition ‘An Artist’s wife’s hallucination’, SD Worx, Antwerp, Belgium

2016 Exhibition ‘An Artist’s wife’s hallucination’, Gallery Campo & Campo, Antwerp, Belgium

2015 Exhibition ‘Between Dream and Reality’,

European Commission, Brussels, Belgium

2015 Exhibition ‘Between Dream and Reality’ & performance with Mauro Pawlowski ‘dEUS’, Gallery Campo & Campo, Antwerp, Belgium

2014 Exhibition Galery Van Campen & Rochtus, Antwerp, Belgium

2014 Exhibition ‘Portraits’, University of Leiden, Leiden, the Netherlands

2014 Exhibition Galery Campo & Campo, Antwerp, Belgium

2013 Street Art Action – Free Pussy Riot commissioned by Pussy Riot & Banksy, Antwerp, Belgium

2013 Performance ‘Occupy Atelier’ Ruimte Morguen, Antwerp, Belgium

with music by first violinist of Flanders Opera

2013 Performance Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, Belgium

2013 Exhibition Galery Van Campen & Rochtus, Antwerp, Belgium

2013 Performance Tate Modern, London, UK

2012 Exhibition ‘Portraits’ University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

with music by first violinist of Flanders Opera – contemporary improvisations

2012 Babenko Belgium organizes art project ‘Contemporary Art Sucks’,

bringing together art works of various international artists among which of Pure Evil,

Designcenter De Winkelhaak, Antwerp, Belgium

2010 Auction 3 art works Fundraising gala Flanders Opera, Antwerp ‘Onegin’ sold as top piece, Antwerp, Belgium

2010 Exhibition ‘Tegen de Stroom’ Flanders Opera, Antwerp, Belgium

Group exhibitions

2017 Portrait of Luciano Benetton ‘Imago Mundi’, Venice Biennale,

2017 Art project signposts, Flemish government, Brussels, Belgium

2017 Exhibition and Auction Bernaerts Auctions, Antwerp, Belgium

2017 Exhibition ‘Museumnacht & Cultuurmarkt van Vlaanderen’, Ongezien#2, Oude Havenhuis, Antwerp, Belgium more info

2017 Window project BorgerRio, Antwerp commune, Belgium

2014 Exhibition and video performance ‘Museumnacht’, Volksmuseum, Antwerp, Belgium

2013 Exhibition ‘Night at the Museum’, Moscow, Russia

2013 Exhibition ‘Common Art Fest’ Scheld’Apen, Antwerp, Belgium

2013 Exhibition ‘Land of Milk and Money’, Brussels, Belgium

2012 Exhibition ‘Art 4 peace stencils-peaceful World’ Cut Up Galerie, Germany

2012 Exhibition Doel, Belgium

2011 Exhibition Galery Campo & Campo, Antwerp, Belgium

2009 Exhibition Galery Campo & Campo, Antwerp

2008 Exhibition ‘Out of Control’ Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

Publications

2018, Knack Weekend – Kunstenaar Andrej Babenko: ‘Het gaat niet om schoonheid, je moet iets voelen als je mijn werk ziet’

2017, 100% expo – De intensiteit van het schilderen – Andrej Babenko

2017, Barbarians and Poets – Contemporary Artists from Belgium, Imago Mundi Benetton Collection, 978-88-99657-45-1

2017, Art04, Vrijzinnig Centrum DE GEUS

2017, #HomART – A heart for art 2017, Rotary International

2016, Catalogue Campo & Campo

2016, Babenko Belgium – Between Dream and Reality, European Commission

2015, Gazet van Antwerpen, Interview with Andrej Babenko and Mauro Pawlowski more info

2012, Gazet van Antwerpen, Interview with Andrej Babenko more info

2012, ATV, Babenko – Contemporary Art Sucks more info

2012, apr, mei – Cranknozem volume 6 & 7 more info

2008-2010, Vlaamse Opera, Posters and illustrations more info

Artistic approach

Already in the 1980s, at the time of the communist regime, independent punk artist Andrej Babenko was looking for artistic freedom. He 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 Belgium. 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. Also, the chaotic, multilayered conspiracy thinking of Eastern Europe seems to be opposed to the linear and structured way of thinking in the West. By combining different things in a very impulsive and anarchistic manner Babenko achieves in his experiments the creation of all kinds of bizarre images 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 of his works reveal the psychological struggle of a stranger in a capitalist society. Babenko 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. Babenko 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.

 

“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…”.

Dr. Dirk De Wachter, in preparation of co-operation with Babenko and Pawlowski

The well known artists that inspire Babenko

The expressionist abundance of colours and images and surrealistic scenes in Babenko’s paintings show resemblance with works from Chagall, Rauch, Dali, Bosch and Kahlo. Hidden in his works (and more prominently present in earlier works by Babenko) cut-out sprayed stencils can be discovered, linking to Banksy.

Belgian Night

This colourfully painted and sprayed collage of images refers to Babenko paranoid fears from short and long term memory, like a tight web spun in the brain of a lonely caged bird better an astronaut looking at earth. It brings to life events happened in Babenko’s personal past and fears of things to come. Babenko often combines the depiction of personal emotional experiences with references to a longed for paradise, symbolised by colourful birds. Like a punk ouverture playing over and over again, this work is a scream for forgiveness, peace, quiet and freedom.

The two Andrejs

This work touches upon the contrasts between life and death, and love and loss. It represents the emotional struggle of the artist dealing with the death of his father – the colourful and seemingly pleasant fish refer to the drowning of his father in the river Desna, Ukraine – at the same time experiencing the joy as well as uncertainties coming with first time parenthood. The perspective is however broader than Babenko’s personal experience; war and death and questions about a future world are subtly hinted at.

I could be a president

Painted during the period of the US elections, this work depicts the schizophrenic internal world the artist is moving in, bringing together the Eastern European communism of his childhood and youth and the Western European capitalism of adulthood. The stencilled portraits of the world leaders reveal the influence of graffiti and street art as well as sovjet propaganda. Next to Clinton, Putin and Trump, Babenko himself features in the painting riding a horse, like a biblical Horseman forecasting an apocalyptic future.