Rossi & Rossi are delighted to present One of You and All of Them, Konstantin Bessmertny’s second solo show at Rossi & Rossi. The show will feature paintings and sculpture, as well as an installation work that incorporates high-tech digital media and 3D imaging technology.
Having grown up on the eastern edges of the former USSR, Bessmertny was trained by Russian dissident lecturers and instructors who enforced the rigorous training required of the classical European tradition while also exposing their students to progressive ideas about art, culture and history. The result of seventeen years of training is not only an artist with incredible draftsmanship and in-depth understanding of western art history and philosophy, but also a penchant for satire and irony.
Bessmertny draws references from history, classics, and philosophy to highlight the absurdity of contemporary life. The works recast historical figures as victims of modern society, for example Queen Victoria is depicted as a woman obsessed with beauty and cosmetics, while Mikhail Bakunin is cast as a rebel complete with cigarette dangling from his lips, or places them in surreal but picturesque settings. They draw on Bessmertny’s experiences and observations of life in Macau: a city that has been completely transformed within the past 10 years from a quiet Portuguese colony to the most densely populated city in the world, rivalling Las Vegas for its title of gambling capital. The result is works that parody our modern consumer society, highlighting its ironies and acting as an ominous warning.
Born in Blagoveshchensk, Russia, across the Amur River from Heilongjiang province in China, Bessmertny has been based in Macau SAR since 1992, quickly becoming one of the foremost artists of the region. In 2007 he became the first artist to represent Macau at the 52nd Venice Biennale. His works are held in collections that include the Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Macau; and the Standard Chartered Bank of Hong Kong; and have been exhibited in Museums that include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Fukuoka, Japan; the Museum of Art, Macau; and the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.