Sergey Bolovin

Balovin&Beccato

Sergey Balovin grew up in Voronezh, in western Russia in a family of geologists and studied fine art from a very young age. In 1996 he graduated from Fine Art School and in 2005 graduated from Art Faculty of the Voronezh State Pedagogical University. At 17 years old he went on teaching art at Studio I, school of Architecture and Design. Four years later, he began working at the Pedagogical University, teaching painting and organising group exhibitions featuring young artists from Voronezh. His class soon began a creative and associative meeting point for students. Due to clear limitations in Russian academic education, and being greatly inspired by French, German, and Belgian artists encountered, he taught himself contemporary art.

From 2008 to 2010 he curated the “Petit” project with Louise Morin in which they featured several dozen artists from Europe, Asia and America. The project participants reflected on the topic of “mobility” and created artworks around this theme. More than a hundred pieces were placed in a single suitcase, enabling the curators to cross country borders and represent this “contraband art”. The project united some dozens of artists form Russia, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Poland, China, USA, Brazil and was presented in France, Germany, Russia and China, including Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Red Gate Residency in Beijing and Art Labor Gallery in Shanghai.

In 2009 Sergey Balovin was invited to Jinan, China, to open his solo show. About a hundred paintings reflecting Chinese stereotype views of Russian contemporary art. Series deliberately beautiful landscapes with golden frames was a parody of 19th century Russian painting. The artworks were successfully sold in a few days and the artist decided to move to China for improve his financial well-being. But he soon realized he was becoming more focused on consumer demand than his own art vision. He decided to cease sales and, to prevent himself from repeating past mistakes, he performed «Euthanasia», a radical act, destroying his entire oil landscape exhibition, which had been painted according to consumer taste, with a bulldozer (allusion to the Bulldozer Exhibition). The «Euthanasia» project was represented in IFA Gallery.

In 2010, refusing to put price on his artworks, he launched “In Kind Exchange” where he drew portraits and exchanged them for currency free presents.[17] In 2011 his “In Kind Exchange” project was selected for Sergey Kuryokhin Modern Art Award and in 2012 the artist was in residence at Swatch Art Peace Hotel. The project got amazing feedback in social media and he soon began to receive invitations from all over the world from people who wanted their portraits done. In 2013 finally ready, he started his Money Free World Trip, painting for food, lodging and transportation. The journey ensuing lasted 17 months and covered 36 countries and created over 5,000 portraits and got the same amount of gifts in return.

Since he is been working with Claudia Beccato.[21] They met on Sergey Balovin’s “In Kind Exchange” tour in Europe. In the summer of 2016 they got married at Dukley European Art Community in Kotor, during their art residency program.[22] They celebrated their money-free wedding, opening the exhibition “The Wedding [as it should be].” The artists represented with collage on canvas all the elements of a classical wedding, without possessing anything and spending any penny.

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