Igor Savchenko

BIOGRAPHY:
Born in 1962 in Minsk, Soviet Union.
Lives and works in Minsk, Belarus.

1980-85.- Studied cibernetics and automatic control systems at the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics.
1980 - First practice of scuba diving at Minsk School of Voluntary Society to Support Army, Air Forces and Navy with instructor Valery Burtsev.
1985-91 - Worked an engineer, Minsk.
1988-89 - Contacting Valery Lobko Creative Photography Studio in Minsk.
1990 - Prize by Kodak-Pathe Foundation at Salon International de la Recherche Photographique, Royan, France.
1991 - First solo exhibition, Galleri Index/ Fotograficentrum, Stockholm.
Artist working with photography.
1992 - Portfolio reviewer at FotoFest, Houston, Texas, USA.
2000 - Portfolio reviewer at Odense Photo Triennial, Odense, Denmark.
1995 and 1996.- Guest teacher at Turku School of Art and Communication, Turku, Finland.
1997-2006 - Artist in residence at: Hartford Art School, University of Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, (1997); Konstepidemin/ School of Photography and Film of Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden, (1998); Kuenstlerhaus Boswil, Boswil, Switzerland, (1999); Villa Waldberta, Feldafing-Munich, Germany, (2000); Literarisches Colloquium Berlin, (2006).
1994-95 - Started writing texts and prose.
1997 - Declarative abandonment from creation of new photographic works.
2001- First book of his prose "Nach Osten. Bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell" and art-object-book "Sergeyev's Temptation" .
2002 - One of his works has disappeared from a retrospecrive show of his photographs at Contemporary Art Museum (from 'Invisible' series), Minsk .
2003 - Resumed practicing scuba diving at Sea Pegas Diving Club, with instructor Andrey Likhachyov, PADI, Minsk .
2004 - First courses of technical scuba diving, with instructor Sergey Borisov, TDI, Hurghada, Egypt .
2005 - Certified as Adv Tx TDI diver with instructor Andrey Chistyakov; Trimix Deep Diving master-class with Chistyakov and diving with him to the depth of 192 meters, The Blue Hole, Dahab, Egypt.



In 1989 he presented his first project – the series of photographs “Alphabet of Gestures”, which had been updated with new images up to 1994.
The photos from this series were performed in an unusual technique of re-photograph. Savchenko had selected the photos of the 30-60s from the family archives and then selectively photographed some areas, cropping and thus modifying the meanings of images. The object of his interest, as the name implies, was the body language, a nonverbal sign: all irrelevant has been removed from the photos, all that distracts the attention, so gestures could appear in their symbolic nature. Such a “bare” sign devoid of contextual and narrative “garments” provokes a strong reaction of spectators, like a bare nerve.
The next project “Shadows” (1989-1993), which central objects-signs were human figures, was the logical extension of this concept. The photos, where on a sterile, devoid of details background we see human figures reduced to the graphic symbols of some unknown code, offer the spectator to unravel himself and provide them with subjective sense. Such images are, in some sense, anti-photographic: the photographed reality, which manifests itself in details, is deliberately deprived of these details. That is, a photo ceases to function in a copy mode of reality. In such cases, according to Baudrillard’s idea, when real objects lose one of their dimensions, their presence becomes magic: visual images begin to be regarded as “sensual mystifications”, which may be symbolically acquired by a spectator.
While in the first three projects (“The Alphabet of Gestures 1.2” and “Gestures”) Savchenko attached great importance to the variety of non-verbal communication symbols, in the following series (starting with the “Mysteries) his photos acquire a new dimension – historical. The artist becomes a narrator of stories, the witnesses of which were the photos: he complements these stories with his author’s marks (scratches, lines, dots) and signatures, so that the photos acquire an additional meaning.
In the project “We speak German” (1991) Savchenko refers to the time of World War II, when, according to his words, intercultural relations have reached their climax. War, as a specific mode of existence, has always possessed a terrible, but in a certain sense, romantic halo. During the war, there is always a place for an individual act of bravery. This is the time of the most palpable alienation of individuals and the time when fatalism as a position is the most appropriate.
Two parallel trends develop in his works – the reduction of the visual and the enrichment of narrative. They reach their apogee in “The Invisible” (1993-1994) and “Commented Landscapes” (1994-1995). In the series “The Invisible” the visual completely disappears from the pictures: we see only exposed or unexposed images. The only thing these pictures are valuable at is the fact of their existence. They become silent confirmations of their signatures. Thus, the stories they tell acquire an extra persuasiveness.





In “Nach Osten. Bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell” (1994-2002) Savchenko creates realistic audio-visual collages, in which he explores the aesthetic and ideological similarity between the Soviet and Nazi regimes. He imposes the music on pre-war newsreel fragments: the Soviet music is superimposed on the German newsreel and vice versa (e.g., the Soviet song “Higher and higher” on the fragments of “Triumph of the Will,” by Leni Riefenstahl). The audio fragment named “Free evening of Otto Stolz” (1999) is quite notable in this project.  It is an audiotape of the Eighth Symphony of Anton Bruckner made during its performance. On the record we can clearly hear the sounds emitted by a person in the room: the author narrates his thoughts arising during the performance of the symphony. So with Igor Savchenko’s brings luck, Otto Stolz – the protagonist of this work – appears.
In his latest project – “Nine, eight, six. Three numbers of Field-Marshal-General Keitel” (2009) and “Twenty seven seconds. Demiurge’s Practicing” (2010) – Savchenko gives each spectator the opportunity to become a demiurge for some time, to construct certain events and to experience them. The projects provide step by step instructions for modeling situations: following them, you can, for example, feel what Wilhelm Keitel felt at the time of signing the document of capitulation of Germany in World War II, or control the situation on a small area of the Minsk road. In order to feel full like a creator of the reality, you need only a little imagination and sensitivity, which is inherent to romantic and dreamy natures.


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