Benjamin Beker was the winner of ArtSway Open 08. For his exhibition at ArtSway
, Beker will exhibit his War and Liberation Monuments and Interiors of Power series. These two bodies of work were attempts to ‘de-historicise’ various Serbian monuments and interiors, removing them from their usual context.
Beker will also exhibit a new series of work, based on research into the architecture and politics of building projects constructed on dried marshland in New Belgrade, in the former Yugoslavia, in the 1950s and 1960s - inspired by original plans, drawings and images for a proposed ‘modernist city’.
In the planning and construction of New Belgrade modernist concepts of the functional city were appropriated, and primarily Le Corbusier’s ideas of a city as an idealised image of a new social model. It was planned primarily for representative government buildings but has also become home to huge housing estates. These consist of parallel linear buildings, simply referred to as ‘the blocks’ and were built for tens of thousands of people.
The final series of images will feature digitally manipulated photographs the artist took whilst in Serbia; the artist will isolate them and place them in a fictional context, stripping them of their environment. They will be a mixture of fact and fiction – dark socialist housing estates will be transformed into toy-like objects. Beker is interested in the way that political events and Post-Communist Capitalism has affected the urban planning of cities in the former Eastern Bloc.
ArtSway’s annual Open exhibition usually attracts an entry of 350 artists. For Open 08, 30 artists were selected for exhibition, with Benjamin Beker being awarded the prize of a solo exhibition at ArtSway. The selectors for Open 08 were: Camilla Brown of The Photographers’ Gallery, ArtSway Director Mark Segal, ArtSway Curator Peter Bonnell and Open 07 winner Laura Green.
Benjamin Beker was born in 1976 in Bonn, Germany and grew up in Belgrade, Yugoslavia and in Hong Kong, China. On returning to Belgrade he studied Photography at the BK Art Academy and graduated in 2001. Beker moved to London in 2005 and a year later undertook an MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art.
He received the National Magazine Award in 2007, and his final exhibition piece War and Liberation Monument Installation, received the Painters and Stainers Prize, RCA Society and Thames & Hudson Art Book Prize, whilst being short-listed for the Conran Award.
Beker’s work has been published in the last edition of the Specialten Magazine and in the Magenta Foundation Flash Forward ‘08 Catalogue. He now lives and works in London and has been exhibiting in various group shows such as the Farmers Market at Handel Street Project Gallery and Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed at The Photographers’ Gallery in London.