photos: Abdulsalam Ajaj
Meet the Berlin-based artist creating his own, undressed version of the BVG’s ‘Because We Love You’ campaign.
Deliberately provocative, Mischa Badasyan is known for unusual art projects in photography, film or performance art. The Russian-born multidisciplinary artist is stepping over graphic, ethical and legal lines to move his viewer to reflect the society and the politics we live in. After moving to Berlin in 2013, his project “Save The Date” (2014) put him on the critics’ map, raising the age-old question: What is art, and is this art?
During his project, in between self-experiment, performance piece, and social study, he slept with a different man every day for a year. The project dealt with the absurd ways we seem to seek a brief feeling of proximity in blind dates and one night stands, that’s only followed by painful emptiness. “Only through pain we are able to learn something truly honest,” Badasyan told MAZ during the project.
The 30-year-old artist with Armenian heritage has dealt with his ‘Russian Soul’, the refugee crisis (Pristine / 2017), and, in collaboration with photographer Abdulsalam Ajaj, covered the waterfall in Victoria Park in naked human bodies creating a unique synergy of man and nature. His art does not gain him solely favorable reactions. He is confronted with harsh criticism, aggressive comments online, and homophobia. But to Badasyan, evoking these aggressions seems to be the point of his art.
His latest project “Weil Ich Dich Liebe” is a “public art intervention in the underground of Berlin,” as the artist puts it.
“BVG is doing cute and expensive videos and posters about how they are open-minded, tolerant, and funny. Is it really like this? Do we feel safe in the Berlin underground? How much freedom is allowed there?” reads the project’s description. The result is a collection of unusual photography exploring the possibilities of freedom of expression in public spaces normally limited to traffic and commute. Dozens of volunteers of different shapes, ages and genders made the project possible by bearing it all.
Badasyan’s latest project is not only theatrical and funny but shamelessly subverts the well-known BVG campaign with nipples, balls, and bums in spaces not normally occupied by so much naked skin. We certainly love it!
photos: Abdulsalam Ajaj