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THE STORY BEHIND…
Vladimir Putin wasn’t always the topless leader riding horseback that we’ve come to know and parody. No, he once was a lad with his very own pony tucked innocently between his legs. Barbara van den Berg imagines a “Mini-Me” version of the Russian leader, but with a single tear – the compassionate motif that ties her series together. Barbara takes her sympathetic approach from Giovani Bragolin’s ‘The Crying Boy’, which was mass-produced to profit the artist directly. But in the context of a crying baby ‘dictator’ do we care more or less or not at all? What are the parameters and personal thresholds of exploitation Maybe it’s the devil inside you that dictates your answer?
Barbara van den Berg (The Netherlands, 1978) is an insanely talented artist. Did you think the Dutch could only paint flowers and cows? Well, you will have to reconsider after seeing her work. Look closer: some of her collages are the mix of up to 40 different characters. Who would have thought a patchwork of people could be that beautiful? She sure did. Is she a visionary? Is she a magician? Go back a few lines: insanely talented, it’s as simple as that.