Affe im Angriff mit Axt und Revolver
Konstantin Sotnikov, born 1979 in Kirowo-Tschepezk, Russia made his degree in Fine Arts in 1996 in Tambov, Russia. After his studies of German and literature in 2002 he moved to Germany where he made his degree in Fine Arts at HFBK (The University of Fine Arts), Hamburg, Germany.
To a certain stage, Sotnikov’s deeply mysterious works, which are charged by a multitude of clues and references, are never fully accessible. The spectrum of media used by the artist ranges from multilayered narrative scenarios on canvas to three-dimensional assemblages consisting of objects found at flea and antique markets.
In 2008 he was awarded by Eduard Bargheer Foundation.
Konstantin Sotnikov lives and works in Hamburg, Germany.
SCOPE 2014, Basel
2017 „Hundrede og tyve timer i København” MVP – Gallery, REFSHALEØEN, Copenhagen, Denmark
2014 Zott´s Artspace Gallery, Singapore
2013 „Malerei und Skulpturen“ Heissingsart Gallery, Luebeck, Germany
2012 „Bastard“ Feinkunst Krüger Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
2011 „Macrosystic Pyrifera“ Bongartz Gallery, Hannover, Germany
2009 „KS steht nicht für Kelly Slater“ Feinkunst Krüger Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
2017 „Eis am Stiel“ MVP – Gallery, Berlin, Germany
2016 „Kitzbühel meets Art & Architecture“ Kitzbühel, Austria
2016 „Puss In Boots“ MVP – Gallery, Brooklyn, New York
2016 „Collective Identity“ Greskewitz&Kleinitz Galerie, Hamburg
2015 „Pollux Capella“ Zott´s Artspace, San Cassiano, Italy
2013 „Junge Positionen“ Heyne-Kunstfabrik, Offenbach, Germany
2013 „CircleCultureGallery“ Hamburg, Germany
2012 „Displacements“ Hamburg, Germany
2012 „Bridget“ Hafencity Hamburg, Germany
2009 „Willkür“ Hamburg, Germany
2009-2012 „Marilyn Monroe Museum Exhibition Travel Tour“ Levy Gallery
2008 „Lumen Christi´s“ St. Katherinenkirche, Hamburg, Germany
2007 Index, Kunsthaus, Hamburg, Germany
2006 „Plattform“ Kunstverein Hannover, Hannover, Germany
Excerpt from ‘Maison Pompadour’ by
“Konstantin Sotnikov looks at the state of the world with a dystopian view. Some of his atmospheric creations could be described with the word ‘Menschheitsdämmerung [twilight of humankind]’. This shares a title with a satirical genre painting published by author Oscar A. H. Schmitz in 1918 at the end of the First World War, a ‘magical collection of stories’ which inspired Sotnikov to create new images over the past year.
One of the stories tells of a fictitious colony in which humans, following their animal tendency, slip into their real animal being and henceforth live together in a paradisal community with real animals. Interestingly, this world is also based on societal role play and hierarchy. The ‘Maison Pompadour’, the brothel, is institutionalised along with the rest of the location and the animals are subject to the human animals. The escapist utopia falls when the animals revolt violently, demanding human rights, and the author’s only conclusion is Nietzsche’s dictum: ‘Man is something to be surpassed! ‘
Sotnikov’s idylls are also fragile. Between the old masterly and pop, the Baroque opulence of colours and shapes seduce the eye of the beholder, who only discovers the inscrutability of the portrayed at second glance. Amused, one dives into an artistically draped, surreal fantasy world in which proportion and relation are overruled. Here, you will witness an absurd, ultimately disjointed event in an empty landscape. The detailed hidden objects pictures are reminiscent of the works of Hieronymus Bosch, such as the Garden of Earthly Delights and his depictions of hell, who already 500 years ago depicted the viciousness of humans. At the same time, they simulate the sensory overload of today's global media coverage.
A mannered fountain, built on pachyderms and a big-mouthed fish, turns out to be a wobbly civilisational imposture. Dreamers and predators, lovers and violence are part of an irrational, chaotic mix of beauty and disaster, of artwork and a mountain of rubbish. The tiny painting chronicler is part of his own nightmare, he is a realist and a dreamer at the same time. Just as in Goya’s Capricho no. 43, the sleep of reason produces monsters. The fountain is quite probably a modern incarnation of superbia, or arrogance and vanity, as well as the gigantic construction of people in the tradition of the Roman eagle standard. It turns out to be a desperate patchwork project from the remains of a castaway society. The animal looks of this hybrid show that libido and instinct are part of an incorrigible appetite for power.
An apocalyptic mood spreads in this man-made world: a zombie caravan flees, clowns stand before their burnt down circus, humanity goes around on the carousel, a fallen angel leaves the earth, resigned. Sotnikov digs things out from a pool, some of which seem antiquarian. But old pathos formulas are not taboo, rather, these relics serve to help him create timelessness. He happily ponders the large dimensions of human evolution, for example, about how millions of years ago, the blood lines of humans and apes separated, of how an apparently advanced civilisation is only a blink of an eye away from primitive prehistoric times. However, the over-saturation of bad news and images of terror increases the demand for safe places and hope of rescue. Thus a parable like the painting "The Fountain of Youth" nevertheless allows hope for rejuvenation to grow.