Sven Ballenthin: 'Identity is a Choice'
Sven is a Berlin-based artist, who has been working on his 'Identity is a Choice' series since 2013. His initial inspiration for the series was born from his interest in beauty and the question, 'what is beauty?'. After studying at the Berlin University of the Arts, he became frustrated with the constrictions of a conventional education system. He questioned how can one find themselves or their style, when everything around you is a constant influence. He decided the only way was to reduce everything to very small pieces. One size, one subject, two colors, black and white, one day to paint. These were the ingredients, the essence of reduction. Reduction of himself, reduction of the material, reduction of time, reduction of the subject. That was the starting point to let the 'Series' be born of itself.
Sven's idea of 'Identity is a Choice' is to choose very beautiful people such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and destroy the surface to see if beauty is still there. "I choose people who are beautiful but have something I can't describe in words. It's like, yes, these people have it. I can't say what it is. It's what I feel." In his current series, "Old Masters", Sven joins recognizable artist such as Botticelli, Dürer and Gabrielle d' Estrèes with pop icons. Questioning, if the 'Masters' were painting today would they think pop culture is beauty?
This series has led him to gain international recognition. His work has been featured in art blogs, television, press and his success has spread in the world of fashion. He is currently working on multiple projects with model Shaun Ross and fashion designer, Nina Athanasiou. He has upcoming exhibitions in New York, Miami, Houston and Los Angeles for 2017.
May 4-7 / 12-8pm
Opening Night: May 4 / 5:30-9pm
2 Rivington St