Nudes collide with brutalist buildings in Kiev

A juxtaposition of concrete and sex, these photos contrast the naked body against the crumbling architecture of the post-Soviet state

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Sasha Kurmaz's Concrete & Sex
Photography Sasha Kurmaz

Sasha Kurmaz is a Kiev-born photographer with an eye for clashing and complementing the naked body against the brutalist architecture of his hometown. Taking the two and comparing them in a series of diptychs published in his 2013 book Concrete & Sex, the artist reveals that his personal interest in architecture stems from his graffiti background, where he trekked the city in search of good locations for his art. “While walking, I kept looking over the city. This is the magic of these brutal shapes; functionality, and a frank expression of materiality,” he says. “During these trips I have always done pictures to remember the place and go back at night to paint – sometimes I just shoot the landscapes of the city.”

With images that see flesh and ripped stockings juxtaposed against the post-Soviet state’s concrete buildings, piles of rubble and fences made of barbed wire, Kurmaz explains, “Nudity is not a primary goal – the human body is the material for the construction of meanings for me, not just fixing of visual expression. Every work of art has a political component and reflects an ideological stance towards or against an authoritative direction. Ukrainian society for the most part is very conservative. In this context, demonstration of the naked body and sexuality acquires political overtones and acts as a weapon against conservatism, conformism and religious fanaticism.”

Concrete & Sex, published by Pogo Books, is available now. To see more of Kurmaz’s work, click here

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