Born in 1974 in Boyarka, Ukraine. Lives and works in Brussels, Belgium.
Andrej Babenko is a Belgian artist of Ukrainian origin who grew up in an environment permeated by Soviet propaganda. Babenko is captivated by the Russian realistic classical painting school, as well as the forbidden rock scene of the 80ies. At the age of fourteen, he flees his parental house in Ukraine and goes to St Petersburg, where things get out of hand. He finds a safe haven in Belgium through political asylum and with a view to job security, he enrolls for a degree in graphic design, which allows him to indulge in the design of high-profile posters for Flanders Opera. Yet, Babenko cannot deny his true passion and – coming from street art and performance art – he throws himself back into painting with heart and soul, which he has been doing ever since.
Babenko’s works are monumental art. They reflect daily life, but also his inner demons he tries to conquer. A whirlwind of personas, color, drama and melancholy strongly mixed together. He combines the layering of oil paint in an explosive organic way with the speed of graffiti techniques. Starting from his expressive Ukrainian background fed with elements from the Russian Revolution he refers for example to Neo Rauch, Salvador Dali, Jheronimus Bosch and Francis Bacon.
Babenko, from imprisoned punk in a Soviet cell to a domestic family man with two children, portrays our society with all its contrasts, struggles and hypocrisy.
Andrej Babenko shows his work also through performances where music, poetry and live painting become one, but also by giving workshops in museums or for youngsters with a socially vulnerable background.
The pitfalls of mankind functioning within different social systems keep on inspiring him. Beyond any limits of thought.
Babenko lived through his subjects.
The dualism and mysticism of Russian female poet Hippius and the writer Bulgakov at the time of the Russian revolution are recurring themes in his art.
Especially in times of the corona crisis, fears and worries have become very present. It is interesting for an artist - whose natural state is one of isolation - to observe people's behavior when general isolation is imposed. The power of nature is also tangible in his paintings. The pollution brought by man, even at small scale and at the same time the encouraging power of nature to recover, brings back hope. A ray of light in this crisis, much like the light that is present in Babenko's works.
2008 Erasmus, Master in Visual Arts University of the West of Engeland, Bristol, UK
2004 - 2008 Master in Visual Arts, Karel de Grote Hogeschool, Antwerp, Belgium
2002 - 2008 Painting & Drawing, Royal Academy for Fine Arts, Antwerp,Belgium