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For the Avid Explorer: Dina Belenko’s Still Lifes

Rube Goldberg Coffee Machine © Dina Belenko

Oh, those happy childhood memories! From an early age I’ve been an explorer, fascinated by the ways the world works, devoured books and binge-watched every documentary I could get my hands on back then – natural phenomena, technical inventions or the outer space, you name it – it seems almost odd that I never wound up in any of these fields professionally. For me it’s always been (and still is) a sweet feeling to conceive and refine a concept, to puzzle over an idea, to disassemble and put it together again, to struggle, despair and eventually succeed, seeing a project grow and turn into something amazing even if you’re the only one who treasures the effort on your way to an accomplishment. That’s probably where my enthusiasm and curiosity for art derives from: The chance to embark on a visual journey and immerse myself in somebody’s idea of the world. And exactly this gripping joy of imagining and (re)-discovering somehow slumbers in the witty still life works of fine art photographer Dina Belenko. At the very heart of her wonderfully creative endeavours lie those neatly wrapped narratives, drawn from the vastness of the outside world into the microcosm of her own four walls. To create her playful settings, Dina gathers whatever she can find in her household – from sugar cubes and biscuits to coffee mugs and stationery items – or scouts local flea markets for suitable objects. Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I’m diving into her humorous, dreamy and adventurous miniature set-ups, I can’t shake the feeling that it’s my hand that’s steering the satellite orbiting the moon, clutches the joystick that guides Pacman through his coffee-table level, stubbornly opposes the inevitable change of seasons or becomes one with the solar system. Once an explorer, always an explorer, eh?

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