Artist, President of the Printmaking Research Centre of Macau and Chief Curator of the Macau Printmaking Triennial
Konstantin Bessmertny is a Russian-born artist who has resided in Macau since 1992, becoming a fixture in the local art scene. He is fluent in Russian, English and Portuguese. He is also conversational in Cantonese, Italian and Spanish.
Born on 8 November 1964, in Blagovesthensk, Amur Region, right on the Russia-China border, Bessmertny was nicknamed “the Artist” by the age of six. He won first prize for a painting at age seven and was enrolled in a local art school at eleven. He entered the Institute of Fine Arts in Vladivostok at 20, and upon graduating, he was invited to exhibit in Macau. Macau was “love at first sight”, and he has remained ever since.
Bessmertny paints, draws, sculpts and does installations but finds himself most drawn to oil painting due to its durability as well as the discipline required. His creations are always deeply instilled with his diverse cultural background, from a love of opera to cartoons, as well as a thoughtfulness in subject matter.
Bessmertny’s work has been exhibited all around the world: New York, London, Madrid, Lisbon, Venice, Berlin, Moscow, Kuala Lumpur, Fukuoka, Delhi, Beijing, Taipei, Hong Kong and of course Macau. For him, Venice is the “mecca for artists”—an inspiration and veritable living museum that must be visited at least once a year. In addition to his yearly visit to Italy, Bessmertny also travels annually to Japan where he appreciates the culture’s high respect for creative people.
Bessmertny claims to have “the creative energy of two or three artists” which is essential to simultaneously managing various projects, including commissioned works. In 2007, he represented Macau at the 52nd International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale.
Aside from art, he is also a published author; his most recent book entitled The Last Dumpling—Art & Cook Book is published by the Macau Cultural Creative Industry Association.
Bessmertny believes “in the idea of a cultural footprint”. As an artist, what matters most is contributing to this footprint. “Our duty is to do as much as possible to make people’s lives worth living. Success for an artist is to have another challenge, and not just a trivial pursuit of fame and riches.”