Ukraine

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Photography

A Photographer Captures a Decade in the Life of a Single Ukrainian Park Bench

February 5, 2018

Christopher Jobson

All photos © Yevgeniy Kotenko, shared with permission.

One of the most ubiquitous sights in any city around the world is the humble park bench: a meeting spot for friends, a place to grab lunch or perhaps a smoke, and maybe a quick snooze. Usually such mundane activities fade easily into the background of our busy lives and we would hardly stop to notice the goings on around a small public meeting spot, but for Ukrainian photographer Yevgeniy Kotenko, one such bench has turned into rich body of photography spanning over a decade titled On the Bench.

Starting in 2007, Kotenko began to shoot a local park bench outside the window of his parent’s fourth-floor kitchen window in Kiev. Sandwiched between a children’s playground and a walking path, the area proved to be a hotspot of colorful characters. Alcoholics, families, and lovers all congregate on the exact same bench during different times of the day, and when observed with Kotenko’s patient eye an almost Shakespearean drama begins to emerge over a decade of photos.

“I wasn’t thinking of making a series or a project,” shares Kotenko with Colossal through a translator. “I didn’t select any particular time frame or set of situations to capture. Not until 2012 did my friends tell me that I should put together an exhibition of these photos.”

The stark contrast in situations—from a picnic table to an impromtu emergency room—results in a fascinating documentary in the lives of local residents and passersby. “I never invested the photos with any particular intention or idea of what I wanted my audience to see,” Kotenko adds. “They will see what they want to see. These photographs are more like a documentary.”

You can see dozens more photos from the On the Bench series on Facebook, and you can follow Kotenko on Instagram. Thank you to Jen Carroll for contributing to this piece. (via Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

 

 



Art

A Giant Glass Raindrop Balances on a Bronze Man’s Face in Ukraine

June 14, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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All images via Nazar Bilyk

Ukrainian artist Nazar Bilyk created the 6-foot tall sculpture “Rain” as a symbol of man’s communication with nature, a dialogue between the human race and the world around us. The bronze sculpture features a nondescript man looking upward, a giant glass raindrop positioned over his face. This orb of translucent glass seems to balance perfectly, a sort of calm communing happening between the droplet and the solitary figure.

“The raindrop is a symbol of the dialogue which connects a man with a whole diversity of life forms,” Bilyk told My Modern Met. “The figure has a loose and porous structure and relates to dry land, which absorbs water. In this work I play with scale, making a raindrop large enough to compare a man with an insect, considering that man is a part of nature. Moreover, this work concerns the question of interaction and difficulties in coexistence of man with environment.”

You can see more of Bilyk’s work on his website. (via Bored Panda)

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Art History Photography

More Figures from Classical Paintings Imagined as Part of Modern-Day Life in Kiev by Alexey Kondakov

November 9, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Ukranian artist Alexey Kondakov continues his ongoing digital collage project “Art History in Contemporary Life” (previously) with these latest additions. Kondakov uses his own photographs of urban Kiev as a backdrop for gods, angels, and other figures from classical paintings which look like they’re joining your daily commute. You can see a few more images scrolling through his Facebook page.

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Art History Photography

Artist Alexey Kondakov Imagines Figures from Classical Paintings as Part of Contemporary Life

May 19, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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For his ongoing series “Art History in Contemporary Life,” Ukrainian artist Alexey Kondakov takes scenes and figures lifted from classical paintings and drops them into modern-day life. Bouguereau’s Song of the Angels appears to take place on an empty subway car while a pair of men from Holbein’s famous The Ambassadors are transported to the table of a seedy bar. Much like Etienne Lavie’s billboard series and Julien de Casabianca’s recent Outings Project, the series creates an interesting and playful new context for artworks usually only encountered in museums and art history books. You can see more over on Facebook. (via Supersonic)

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