“What remains original in the work is what is not verbal: for example its physicality, its voice, its body. The body: here is a land not yet colonized by power. ” Pier Paolo Pasolini
“Our body is a garden of which our will is a gardener.” William Shakespeare
Sergey Melnitchenko’s curious book investigates through a collection of evocative,original and in some ways ironic images, the daily training of a community of young people from Nikolayev (Ukraine) united by a goal: achieve at all costs the maximum in terms of fitness.
Melnitchenko’s images show young people engaged in practices such as athletics, acrobatics, fitness and body building, investigating the culture and discipline of the bodybuilder with a gaze capable of respecting and reading the most intimate aspects of this discipline, which, if understood at high levels, it is not simply about going to the gym to cultivate well-being and physical health, nor about competing to lift the heavier weight as in the disciplines of weightlifting and powerlifting: the aesthetic taste of bodybuilders and lovers of the discipline pushes them to train to increase muscle mass and definition as much as possible while maintaining harmony and proportions in line with the canons of bodybuilding, developing the very possibilities of a body.
By showing a community of young people who have found a reason to live in sport, “Schwarzenegger is my idol” not only tells us about the incredible daily control work and hard work done by these kids, but the attempt and the need to get through this practice and culture, a form of success and self-overcoming. Or even better, the attempt to overcome the physical condition of normal men by means of a rigorous and tiring work aimed at redesigning themselves.
Sergey Melnitchenko’s work is intelligent, illuminating, a project full of ironic ability and touch. A work that through its images manages to intuit, outline and show with great respect the attempt and effort to cope with a social impotence, through the redemption of what we can control, our body.
Sergey Melnitchenko, born in 1991 in Mykolayiv, Ukraine. Founder and curator of MYPH photography school and collective. Member of UPHA – Ukrainian Photographic Alternative. Started photography in 2009. For 10 years participated in more than 100 solo and group exhibitions around the world. Winner of Ukrainian and International competitions, including “Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award” in 2017, “Photographer of the year” in 2012, 2013 and 2016 (Kyiv, Ukraine), “Golden Camera” in 2012 (Kyiv, Ukraine). Shortlists of “Krakow Photomonth” in 2013 and “Pinchuk Art Center Prize” in 2015, etc. Participant of “Paris Photo” in 2017 and “Volta Art Fair” in frames of Art Basel in 2018, 2019, etc.