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Sculptor Sergey Bondarenko about childhood, horses and inspiration

Sergey Bondarenko is a talented sculptor from Minsk, a pupil of the famous Belarusian sculptor Zair Azgur, and a participant of the city’s project “It’s me who…” His works are recognizable and favorite symbols of Minsk.

Sergey’s talent for art appeared in the youth. The boy made good use of his time in a village. It was useful not only for health, but also for his soul. Sergey spent time with horses in a stable and made his first sculptures of plasticine. He looked curiously at insects in boundless fields and liked TV programs about nature.

Love to animalistic art then transformed in the business of his life – sculpture. There is nowadays a gallery of horses, riders, and stars of equestrian sport in Bondarenko’s studio.

Sergey Bondarenko, sculptor, member of Belarusian Union of Artists, laureate of the Belarus President’s special prize:
This city district was called the motor factory district; there were a tram loop and a music school. These nice two-storied houses with creaking floors and stairs were built by Germans at the end of World War II. I remember there was a park of marvelous beauty. I attended Pioneer House and boarding music and art school in childhood. I like postwar places, such as Osmolovka, because there are similar buildings here. Also, there is a similar zone in the Traktorny district. It has its own peculiarity.

The stele Triumph near Minsk Arena and Sport Stars' Alley of Fame, and the sculpture Hospitable Belarus near the Independence Palace are the works of Sergey Bondarenko. He always has good ideas for the native town. The sculptor works in an old technique of wax model casting. This process includes sketching, work on plasticine details, wax mould creating, and bronze sculpture casting.

A combination of art and engineering is a complex author’s work. His sculptures look alive; you want to touch them and to look at them endlessly.

Sergey Bondarenko, sculptor, member of Belarusian Union of Artists, laureate of the Belarus President’s special prize:
A wax model is made, and then, according to this model, a mould for casting is made. A sculpture is cast of sand and gum mix. This technology is rather old, so you can’t bring something new into it, except materials. There is no opportunity to automatize the process, because only one copy is made. It’s manual labour.

Hippological genre is Sergey’s most favorite one. The beauty, grace, and nobility of these animals inspire him. The sculptor knows everything about horses, from their anatomy to motion features and plasticity. As Sergey Bondarenko makes sculptures from life; he has become an expert on equestrian sport, has visited many international exhibitions and shows. The sculptor is ready to go on about his favorite animals for hours. He was allowed to choose any horse for modelling at the Arabian race championship in Minnesota in 1995. He had chosen young Legacy of Gold, who then became a champion of USA.

Sergey Bondarenko, sculptor, member of Belarusian Union of Artists, laureate of the Belarus President’s special prize:
This is the famous mare Ratina. This horse was No.1 in ratings on show jumping 2-3 years in succession. This is the sportswoman Poturayeva and her horse. They are multiple champions of Russian championships. This is a uniquely big horse of 1.90 meters height at the shoulder and weighing about a ton. It was the biggest horse in sport at that time. There is also a winner of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, who has inharmonious name Gepatit (in English: hepatitis).

Bondarenko’s horse appeared in the main city’s avenue after the Belarusian State Circus reconstruction in 2010. The horse with a gymnast has acquired a graceful monumental form. It’s also interesting that the horse is made almost in full-length.

The sculpture with the rider was to be placed closer to the arch at the Yanki Kupaly Street crossroad, but it was replaced in order not to damage metro communication. A smaller pyramid with animals was set at that place.

The idea of the pyramid has also been changed. According to the author’s idea, an elephant is afraid of a mouse and gets smaller, while the mouse gets huge. There is also a cat between them. However, the mouse is a bad sign for circus actors, which is why a charming turtle has taken the place of the mouse. The animals remind of an old good tent circus with the taste of cotton candy from carefree childhood.

Sergey Bondarenko, sculptor, member of Belarusian Union of Artists, laureate of the Belarus President’s special prize:
There are also general characters as these two clowns. The red clown is more stinging, while the white one is a good soul. This is a pig, it is kind! In general, I would like to enlarge this ‘zoo’, but I don’t have enough time. There are many creations in the world I’d like to embody in sculptures. Now, I am going to create a number of bugs.

Sergey Bondarenko is the first person in Belarus who started to create plastic compositions. A new bug series will be made of plastic too. Their unique structure, different tints and sculptural forms captured the artist’s imagination.

Sergey is a perfectionist who studies material before work. He sculpts every day. Otherwise he suffers from “hands dermatitis”, as he jokes.

The sculptor is interested not only in fantastic and real animals, but also in history. The city is dead without memory. Sergey believes there are few sculptures of historical people and public figures who created the chronicle of the country. Monumental propaganda was important in Soviet period. There are many monuments in Minsk from that time.

The sculpture of Grad Duke of Lithuania Algirdas made by Sergey Bondarenko appeared in Ratushnaya Square in Vitebsk. Our heroes, both historical and mythical, have to be honored in Minsk too.

Sergey Bondarenko, sculptor, member of Belarusian Union of Artists, laureate of the Belarus President’s special prize:
I have one interesting project. There is a version that Minsk’s name stems from a miller hero Mienesk. So I have a project of this Mienesk. Nowadays, there is no any equestrian statue with a hero in Minsk.

Sergey Bondarenko’s sculptures are nowadays in museums, private collections in USA, Europe, Middle and Far East. The sculptor is an honorary member of China Academy of Art. Thanks to such talented and charismatic people, the capital’s life will be bright and amazing.

Sergey Bondarenko, sculptor, member of Belarusian Union of Artists, laureate of the Belarus President’s special prize