post-title Sergey Bratkov | Heartbreak | DIEHL | 09.12.-27.01.2023

Sergey Bratkov | Heartbreak | DIEHL | 09.12.-27.01.2023

Sergey Bratkov | Heartbreak | DIEHL | 09.12.-27.01.2023

Sergey Bratkov | Heartbreak | DIEHL | 09.12.-27.01.2023

until 27.01. | #3736ARTatBerlin | DIEHL presents the exhibition Heartbreak with works of the artist Sergey Bratkov.

Sergey Bratkov, born in 1960 in the primarily Russian-speaking city of Kharkiv in Ukraine, has long been one of his country’s outstanding artists. After early exhibitions in underground galleries in Kharkiv, Kiev and Moscow, Bratkov also showed the ever-surprising wealth of facets of his work in important art institutions in Western Europe, such as the Fotomuseum Winterthur, the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, the S.M.A.K. in Ghent or the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead. In 2007, he represented Ukraine at the Biennale di Venezia.

Artistically, Bratkov developed in the wake of the Kharkiv School of Photography, which had been active in his home city since the 1970s and which also attracted a great deal of international attention as an avant-garde bastion of an artistic movement directed against the art doctrine of the Soviet state. A radically undisguised view of reality became the sign of the spirit of resistance of this group of artists, which appeared in ever new formations, breaking taboos and attacking the conventions of Soviet and post-Soviet societies. In 1987, Bratkov became a member of the Gosprom Group, one of the many temporary artist groups that came together within the Kharkiv School of Photography. Sergey Bratkov first attracted international attention within the Immediate Reaction Group, which he formed with Boris Mikhailov, Vita Mikhailov and Sergey Solonsky from 1994-1997. In a series of performances and photo series, the group took the taboo-breaking of their imagery against the never-ending post-Soviet reality to extremes. The physical radicalism of the group’s actions, in particular, reflected approaches from Viennese Actionism.

Art at Berlin - Courtesy of DIEHL - Sergey Bratkov - Photographed by Stefan Heyne
Sergey Bratkov, Fuck a Star, 1989, C-print, 57 x 37 cm © Stefan Heyne

Sergey Bratkov unfolds his artistic work in the media of photography, video and spatial installation.  Using the methods of montage, collage and bizarre staging, he stages supposedly surreal visual worlds that nevertheless profoundly tell of existence in the post-Soviet societies in Ukraine and Russia that are so different today.

HEARTBREAK is the title Sergey Bratkov has given to his second exhibition at Galerie Volker Diehl in Berlin in these cruel times. The title is derived from a rather inconspicuous small-format work, Heart Hole, 2022, which shows the shattered wounds of a shot mirror and becomes one of the centrepieces of the exhibition.

Sergey Bratkov’s exhibition is a very personal commentary on his own and the general situation in the state of war. With works from the past 30 years, the artist has staged his view of the current present. Images of criticism of the post-Soviet system, images of remembrance of home in Kharkiv and images that metaphorically encircle the inconceivable cruelty of the current war thus appear. We see a multi-layered artistic existence that has to constantly find itself anew in the fissures of the reality of war, as a Russian-speaking Ukrainian who has found his centre of life in Moscow since the 2000s and now lives temporarily in Berlin, always circling around the core of the deep-rooted spirit of opposition that has broken through in Bratkov’s works from the very beginning. With HEARTBREAK, Sergey Bratkov has succeeded in creating a sublime song about fragmented existence in times of war.

Carsten Ahrens

Vernissage: Friday, 9 December 2022, 11pm – 6pm

Exhibition dates: Friday, 9 December 2022 until Friday, 27 January 2023

To the gallery



Photo caption: Sergey Bratkov, Fuck a Star, 1989, C-print, 57 x 37 cm © Stefan Heyne

Exhibition Sergey Bratkov – DIEHL | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Ausstellungen Berlin Galerien | ART at Berlin

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