Grobianus et Grobiania I
Konstantin Bessmertny (Macao, China)
Acrylic and mixed media on canvas
100 x 80 cm

Grobiania, or Gobiana, is a place invented by the satirist Sebastian Brant in 16th century. It was inhabited by Grobianites, followers of Sanctus Grobianus, the patron saint of people with coarse manners and bad habits. The two paintings are from the “Grobianus et Grobiania” series, which offers a modern interpretation of narratives from various books from the eras of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. The paintings were made during the first months of Covid when the artist was trapped on an island in Thailand with a pack of face masks, some painting materials, few canvases and the “Grobianus et Grobiana” book by Friedrich Dedekind. First published in Latin in 1558, the book showed the pitfalls of society in a grotesque way. In fact, upon analyzing the text, there have not been many improvements in correcting peoples’ habits and manners since then. The elucidation of this centuries-old narrative became as much a satirical narration of modern society.

The first canvas (I) depicts appearance of Sanctus Grobianus in a style of Deus ex Machina. He comes with an effort to save the situation and improve a stage set below with an allegorical landscape presented as a playground of Grobianites’ petty activities.

The second canvas (II), the narrative of “Natarajasana will save the world”, provides a universal solution to earthly problems with the debut of yoga novices performing various poses in front of advancing structures and personages that allegorically represent the drawbacks and pitfalls of society. The Natarajasana pose is a Lord of Dance asana that straightens the balance and improves the state of well-being.

Konstantin Bessmertny

Konstantin Bessmertny was born in 1964 in Blagoveschensk, in the former USSR. Based in Macao and Hong Kong since 1992, Bessmertny is one of the most distinguished artists working in Asia today. His technical mastery, which he achieved after studying fine arts for seven years in the grand academies of the Soviet Union, combined with his detailed knowledge on wide range of subjects – including literature, music, history and politics – lends his work exceptional intelligence and credibility.

location: Macao Museum of Art
28/07/2023 - 29/10/2023