"We live in the age of fetishism. All areas of our lives are filled with fetishes. Discovering the so-called primitive cultures and communities, enlightened Europe attributed them with barbaric characteristics, veneration of fetishes being one of them. Centuries later, analyzing our behavioral strategies, we realize that we ourselves were the main fetishists.
In his interview "Fetishism in Contemporary Culture," German philosopher Hartmut Böhme mentions three forms of fetishism:
- Religious fetishism, or fetishization of figures of gods, sacred objects, and relics. Idolatry is characteristic of the European tradition, especially Catholicism;
- Sexual fetishism as a form of the libidinal relationship with objects. According to Freud, fetishism is contained in any form of erotic relationship and is not a perversion. That is, no sexual relationship is possible without a fetishistic idealization of the object;
- Economic fetishism discovered by Karl Marx in the nineteenth century. Marx pointed out our belonging to a capitalist commodified culture that fetishizes artifacts, objects of consumption, and other goods produced by the industry. This means that we endow these objects with a splendor, an aura, an appeal so seductive and dazzling that we are willing to pay for them much more than they're worth. More than their consumer value demands. Thus, fetishism is a kind of mechanism for overvaluing objects within capitalism. Just as fetishism can be used to evoke sexual desire, so here it serves to increase turnover and maximize profits.
All these forms of fetishism are reflected in Victor Senkov's latest project.
Conscious borrowing and appropriation through radical framing of insignificant parts of other people's images make an essential part of this project's concept. The primary study material is social networks, namely pages accumulating content from various primary sources and presenting it to users as inspiration for creating their own photographs. The author chooses fashion and commercial photography, both professional and amateur, as the only reality that shows the essence of our society. The images that dominate the pages of magazines and electronic resources are themselves fetishes, imposing on consumers the easy way of comfortable existence. However, Victor brings deconstruction of the original image to the level of magical archaeology. He deliberately highlights insignificant fragments of artifacts until they acquire an independent meaning and become signs.
The search for an interpretation of fetishes occurs through the display of recognizable objects. However, Victor's pursuit of abstract form results in the fetishization of the very method of image simplification, where simple geometric shapes, color combinations and color itself become the author's fetish.
Video art makes an integral part of the project. Over two thousand photos demonstrated at the speed of 24 frames per second are contained in one minute and constitute the quintessence of the author's thoughts on the subject of fetishism. This video corresponds perfectly to the contemporary clip thinking when the consumption of visual information is limited only by a person's physical ability to scroll through a newsfeed at maximum speed. Victor consciously uses an extra-linguistic mode of communication with the viewer, imitating an endless "photostream" of a social media feed. The author takes the idea to the point of absurdity by ruthlessly imprinting images of the world fetishes into the viewer's retinas.
Victor Senkov was born in Mogilev, Belarus. Victor is an accomplished visual artist, photographer, curator and member of the Belarusian Union of Artists.
Victor is interested in concept art, video art, art photo, concept photography, alternative photography and printing. He has participated in more than thirty national and international exhibitions, and was recently nominated for the “National Prize for the Fine Arts 2019 – 2020” for the project “Memory Remains.”
Victor organized and worked on more than twenty national and international exhibitions and curatorial projects of photography and graphic art with government and private galleries and museums as a curator. His prints are held in galleries in Slovenia, Ecuador and private collections in Australia, UK, New Zealand, USA, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Austria, Lithuania, France, Russia, Sweden, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland.
Victor Senkov interests are represented by the Gallery of classic and modern art DK GALLERY (Belarus), ART FABRIKA Gallery (Belarus) and 5X7 GALLERY (USA).
Lives and works in Minsk, Belarus.