Sergei Balenok is one of the best known Belarusian graphic artists of the 20th century. He is also a book designer and has laid out numerous publications known to many from childhood, such as Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle”, the collection of sci-fi stories “Planet for Sale”, several collections of Joseph Brodsky’s poetry, and many others. Arts critics consider him an “atypical” or even “scandalous” artist and praise a very distinctive lyricism of his works. Yet, one can’t but feel there aren’t enough words to describe Sergei’s art and wants to come back and look at it again. This is an invaluable quality for a true piece of art — to always be an inexhaustible source of sensations, associations, emotions, and thoughts so much needed for redefining both the Art and Oneself when the New self has been discovered. It all begins with the title. Oftentimes, it is a separate one line literary masterpiece. This spout of the poetical component becomes one with the visual thus giving birth to a unique artistic statement – precise and expressive. The black-and-white etchings may be referred to as a series without a finale. Each one of them is a separate delicate observation, sometimes an impression, yet always a discourse and can be included with the indivisible long story about those invisible but perceivable phenomena that occur when night comes and streetlights are on. This is when a man becomes a Shadow taking completely inhuman shapes. A usual cap seems like an ancient cylinder hat, while the face is hiding behind the long collar of a winter coat. The magic of the night light turns falling snow into flying gold dust and streets into a sanctuary for bizarre creatures who wander along with the wet and cold sleeping city in loneliness. It is a unique mood – the mystery of a streetlight in the night reminding us, vividly and distinctly, of what loneliness really is: when not yourself, but some other entity of yours is one on one with emptiness, while the cold wind is blowing into your face. In a mysterious manner every “philosophical picture”, as the artist refers to his works, becomes an illustration to the life of our Hidden – something one avoids, makes an effort not to see, yet it is so vivid in the light of a streetlight at night and so palpable to the sound of dark ambient and sad tango. The motions of the graphical needle obey and follow the main desire – to convey what happens when the city is asleep and windows are dark, this fantastic and absolutely human world of unique emotions – the most delicate shades of magical sorrow.
Sergei Balenok is one of the best known Belarusian graphic artists of the 20th century. He is also a book designer and has laid out numerous publications known to many from childhood, such as Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle”, the collection of sci-fi stories “Planet for Sale”, several collections...Read more →