Checkpoint Charlie, 2008
wood, plastic, bronze

Installation view

Installation view

Drawings (without title), 2009
carbon on paper

View from the inside of the installation

photos by Zeno Zotti

Checkpoint Charlie
Alexej Koschkarow

curated by Farronato

February 11 -March 21, 2009

On Wednesday February 11 Viafarini DOCVA, at Fabbrica del Vapore, will open Belorusian artist Alexej Koschkarow’s solo show Checkpoint Charlie.
“Icons, simulacrums and their evocative power” could be the proper subheding to all the solo shows of belorusian born - german naturalized artist Alexej Koschkarow.
His artistic education includes painting studies at Minsk Art Academy in Belorussia (now in Viafarini’s exhibition we can clearly perceive the result of this step) and continued with sculpture studies in Düsseldorf.
Even though sculpture currently represents the core media by which circumscribe and define artist’s approach, it simply doesn’t frame the entire body of his works, that ranges from performance to composite enviromental installations and actions.
Koschkarow’s oeuvre is characterized by a chic allure exceed through unmistakable baroque attractions; some kind of perfect gem-set cameos or repertoires of various motifs linked altogether by a morbid passion for details.
His pieces represents many different sets: starting from the classic Wunderkammer, dominated by the echo of a glossy, black toned memento mori, to a dusty archive (a kind of paper made prison with a skull shaped handle door) to a black and gold bathroom full of datails reminding of the classical Ancient Egypt motifs (such as pyramids, sarcophagus etc).
The “Triumph of Death” is a recurring theme in Koschkarow’s body of work, shaped into sculptures or sculptural environments, pretending to maintain a functionality and to imitate the look of different materials, such as marble, paper, ceramic or bones.

The project held in Viafarini, reflects upon a monument of recent history (monumentality is another outstanding characteristic of Alexej’s visual research).
From 1945 until 1990 Checkpoint Charlie was a well known gateway between the two sectors in which Berlin was split after II World War: the Soviet sector (Mitte district) and the American one (Kreuzberg district). Only army members, diplomatic corps and foreign citizens were allowed to pass through. After the Cold War reunion process, the gateway was knocked down, and the gatekeeper’s lodge was placed in AlliiertenMuseum.

On August 13 2000, a close replica of the original structure was placed in the very same place, quickly becoming one of Berlin’s most visited sightseeing.
The scale model created by Koschkarow represents a personal reconstruction of the original structure, deliberately subjected to a process of historical revision and falsification.
The artist stresses some details in a retrospective mood; he transforms the checkpoint, in reality a small shack, into a highly symbolical monument, halfway between a saloon and a trench. Artist’s attention didn’t focused only upon the external perimeter of the structure, but also upon the interior arrangement, which has been totally transformed through a triumph of baroque motifs. Koschkarow invites visitors to take a look at the interior, peeping throuh a hole.
Checkpoint Charlie, as symbol of a both phisical and cultural distance as well as a place for collective and personal traumas, becomes a scenario on which Koschkarow traces his dichotomical views of history and reality. Koschkarow’s reconstruction is characterized by a striking sense of constrast and opposition, although blunted by the sophisticated plastic and pictorial manierism.

Born in Minsk in 1972, Alexej Koschkarow graduated from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. He lives and works in Berlin.

With the support of Fondazione Cariplo and Gemmo.


last update 12-10-2011