Curated by Anastasia Leonova
For this photography exhibition at SomoS, Sergey Melnitchenko (b. 1991, Ukraine) shares his series titled “Loneliness Online.” The project, curated by Anastasia Leonova, is a solo exhibition of Melnitchenko’s work representing the state of loneliness through the pairing of solitary images of trees and strangers’ bodies as seen in video chat rooms online. Melnitchenko brings a layer of complexity and a poetic meaning through his sensitive juxtaposition of the intimate imagery with complementary natural landscapes.
In 2013 Melnitchenko created Loneliness Online, one of the artist’s first projects exploring the boundaries of public and intimate spaces, by experimenting with a kind of cameraless photography only recently enabled by our increasingly intimate relationship with digital devices:
“I waited until I came across such a companion, then “photographed” him by pressing ‘Prt Sc’. During all the time I spent in the video chats, I captured about 200-300 of such characters, and then selected the most interesting in my opinion. This is how the left side of the picture developed.”
–Sergey Melnitchenko, Artist’s Statement
Loneliness Online also marks a moment in time, when the novelty value of video-enabled technology was leading to widespread adoption, but at the same time it still maintained an aura of mystique and an insider appeal (think Chatroulette rather than FaceTime). These randomized and anonymous online encounters were and still are a vital forum and an outlet for desires, not only exhibitionism, but a space of freedom, fueled by the anonymity and the digital remove, which offers many an escape from prejudicial attitudes they may encounter “in real life.”
Loneliness Online is Sergey Melnitchenko’s first solo exhibition in Germany and takes place less than a year after Melnitchenko last exhibited in Berlin when he was awarded the prestigious Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award in 2017. Loneliness Online is on view at SomoS Art House until June 16th, 2018 with regular visiting hours from 2 to 7pm Tuesday to Saturday and by appointment.
About Sergey Melnitchenko
Sergey Melnitchenko is a rising star of the Ukrainian underground photography community, fearlessly seeking out challenging subjects such as masculinity in Ukraine, the secretive backstage world of showgirls in China, and queer, transgender, and other marginalized identities throughout the world. His deep immersion in these topics allows him to photograph his subjects at their most vulnerable, affording us insights into the extremely intimate moments in the everyday life of these people. His creative approach extends beyond the traditional boundaries of the medium of photography, involving collage and installation to further contextualize his work, blending elements of the political with his personal, poetic and often conceptual approach.
Born in 1991, Sergey Melnitchenko is a Ukrainian photographer and a member of Ukrainian Photographic Alternative, a collective that promotes contemporary photography in Ukraine. His recent photo essay “Behind the Scenes” offers an intimate peek into the underground nightlife of the Chengdu nightclub in China and was honored with the Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award in 2017. Additionally, he has been named Photographer of the Year (Kiev, Ukraine) in 2012, 2013, and 2016. His work has been internationally exhibited in over 10 solo shows and over 50 exhibitions worldwide.
About SomoS Art House Berlin
SomoS’ mission is to create an international open framework for innovative arts, exhibitions, education and creative cooperation. SomoS’ active Artist-in-Residency program and ambitious exhibitions and event schedule allow for an agile and responsive curatorial approach to tackle challenging current topics and present socially engaged work from marginalized and underserved minorities. Founder/Director: Paulus Fugers.