Sculpture and photography are two vectors of Oleg Podberezni’s creative activity
Stable and movement, the monumental and eternal, continuously flow into each other, changing with every second. This logical flow presents itself through Oleg’s artwork. Podberezni came to the world of photography during an era of changes after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He collaborated with magazines in Saint Petersburg to take cover shots of TV, Rock, and Pop stars.
Oleg was involved with portrait photography since the 1990s. He photographed the heroes of the Saint Petersburg underground art scene, as well as politicians, new businessmen, and punk concerts in former bomb shelters. Saint Petersburg was a city full of chaos in the 1990s. There were no hierarchies; horizontal and vertical were balanced together, existed on an equal playing field, such that everyone could either make a fast career or lose everything. The underground art scene came to the halls and clubs of Saint Petersburg during a time in the 1990s when the emerging political “elites” were busy inventing new rituals and rules, and the business world was looking for its own “themes.”
It was in this turbulent and heady atmosphere of possibilities and changes that Oleg Podberezni started to work with nascent glossy magazines and hone his skills as a photographer. He developed a variety of effective lighting schemes, technologies, cover and photo shot themes.
In 1990s Oleg Podberezni created the artistic union, “Ladomir”. At the time, Oleg was influenced by the ideas of the Russian poet and playwright, Velimir Khlebnikov (1885-1922), who was a central figure of the Russian Futuristic movement. The title "Ladomir" refers to Khlebnikov's key poem.
Oleg was interested in the processes taking place in the “noosphere” - its fragility, vulnerability and defenselessness. He was concerned about the idea of integrity in the world and the implementation of human’s will within it.
In his sculptures, Oleg concentrates the world into symbolic meanings.
The direction of his art draws inspiration from the fragmentary and atomic to the holistic and strong in order to create an object of force.
The sculpture “Czech Hedgehog - Blockchain”
The title of the work refers to the anti-tank barriers used to construct defense lines during World War II. These defense lines resembled a line of pyramids or “hedgehog” (English: Czech hedgehog). The sculpture was originally conceived as a lighting installation. As his design work progressed, Podberezni came to the conclusion that his ideas could only be materially realized through the medium of metal.
Oleg’s sculpture consists of “hedgehogs” forming a network of diaries that represent an unfolding metaphor of a blockchain intended to protect personal information. The purpose of such a blockchain is to save this information for the future. Oleg thus creates a message - symbol for the descendants that is protected from future disasters. Symbols and texts are encrypted in the binary number system he applied to the sculpture, “Czech Hedgehog – Blockchain.”
As Oleg says, “I agree with those scientists and thinkers who are convinced that the noosphere is extremely fragile. People treat the noosphere disregard and carelessly, especially in recent decades. It is very likely that the only chance to keep and send information from the 20th and 21st centuries is in primitive forms, using dense materials and the simplest encoding/cipher systems.” The nicks and notches of these information systems are realized in Oleg’s artwork - they represent the personal diary and life history of the artist.
Photography is another important part of Oleg's art
This is a fixation of life around, theater, this is the distance between "you" and "others", where everything is in continuous dynamics. Each of the crowd, from the group carries this solitude. In various countries and in various cities, the author's gaze captures paintings, where a person is dissolved in urban spaces, among walls and stones.
Cities seem like an illusion applied to our inner screen. The virtual is merging with the real world.
Photographs are stored somewhere inside us, as if there is a constant record of everything we have seen from the beginning.
How many frames are there in this illusory movie? Stone and photographs; fleeting and doomed to eternity. Oleg collects the opposite into the whole and the one.
Michail Borisov, a curator and art critic; chief redactor of the magazine "100 % Krasniy"
1992 The State Russian Museum. St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
1992 Ethnographic museum. St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
1993 Central Exhibition Hall Manege. St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
2000 The photography exhibition "Kalevala. The Other World". The Finnish Institute in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
2004 The landscape art project "The Fire". Kamen Bryag, Bulgaria
2008 The photography and sculpture exhibition "People and Antennas". Culture Centre Manilla. Turku, Finland
Publications and Interviews
1991 "To be real". Nevskoe vremya. St.Petersburg, Russian Federation
9-10/2000 "Seaman in the Saddle". New Horizons. Helsinki, Finland
1/2002 "Kalevala". Kamera lehti. Helsinki, Finland
15.02.2006 "The marvelous photos". Turkulainen. Turku, Finland
13.01.2008 "People and Antennas". Turun Sanomat. Turku, Finland
26.01.2008 "Antenner mot omvärlden". Åbo Underrättelser. Turku, Finland
13.11.2011 "The Doors of Turku". Turun Sanomat. Turku, Finland
08.02.2013 "The Doors of Turku. Oleg Podberezni". Channel 2, Yle. Turku, Finland
Czech Hedgehog - Blockchain. The metal sculpture. 2018.
Digital Hedgehog. Stereogram. 2021
Curator and Festivals Organizer
1992-1995 The Festival "Easter week" in St. Petersburg
1992 The exhibition "Other world" in The Sevastopol Art Museum, Ukraine
1994 A founder of an International art projects competition for the monument in memory of the victims of The Kronstadt rebellion in 1921
1996 The Festival "Myths of Petersburg"
Contact Oleg Podberezni