SERGEI SVIATCHENKO IS CELEBRATING 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY WITH CLOSE UP AND PRIVATE

Sergei Sviatchenko has through a decade put a noticeable mark on the Danish and international fashion landscape – both with his personal style and the blog project Close Up And Private. A project that has revolutionized fashion photography and curated the style we love the most. We spoke with the artist about his blog project, his close collaboration with his children, and the designation as a style icon. 

 

Sergei Sviatchenko – visit his page HERE

 

Sergei Sviatchenko is a style icon. Several times national and international media have pointed towards him as one of the best dressed men in Denmark – and in the entire world. It’s cemented how well dressed Mr. Sviatchenko really is, when we meet up with the artist in Copenhagen for a cup of coffee and to talk about the first decade with the blog project Close Up And Private. 

Today Sergei Sviatchenko is dressed in a white oxford shirt with a button-down collar. His tie - tied with a four-in-hand-knot of course - is grey and timeless. The proportions on the khaki chinos are wide and the blazer is a navy classic with gold buttons from the American designer Thom Browne. It's clear that Sergei is a man of details. Today his look has got an extra edge with a pair of yellow sneakers and a cap, likewise from Thom Browne, whom has been one of Sergeis favourite designers for years.

»The Thom Browne universe is like a good book or movie. You can find new details and meanings every time you see them (the collections and the clothes, red.). I have huge respect for Thom Browne. He is a true artist«, says Sviatchenko, whom simultaneously state that Japanese brands such as Comme Des Garcons and Porter also are amongst the favourites.

Outfit of the day, when we met Sergei for a coffee in Copenhagen 

The Style Icon

Todays look encapsulates everything that makes Sergei Sviatchenko a true style icon and a huge source of inspiration for all generations. He uses the wardrobe classics and essentials as his starting point but manage to interpret them in ways that are both distinctive and very contemporary.

During the interview I mention several times that he is a true style icon, he smiles humble every time, though he states that it’s the art that comes first.  

»I am first and foremost an artist, but style and the interest in style and fashion has always been present in my life. It has also evolved as one of my artistical forms - as for instance collage, video installations, work with textile and so on«, he says.

From Close Up And Private

Sergei Sviatchenko has been chosen multiple times as one of the best dressed men in Denmark by the Danish magazine Euroman, and the Japanese magazine Free & Easy has also had him on best-dressed-lists several times. And Sviatchenko gladly communicate how you can be more well dressed as a man. This is expressed on his blog Close Up And Private, where he has created the manifesto ‘Etiquette for the modern classicist’. Here Sergei point out elements such as loafers, oxford shirts, khaki-coloured chinos and other wardrobe classics, that you as a man should have in your wardrobe. But he underlines at the same time that great style is about much more than just what you wear.  

»Style is a complex thing. It’s also about how you interact with the world around you. You need to prove that you aren’t careless. It’s totally alright to be “dressed down”, but you can’t be careless«.

 

From Close Up And Private

One of the things that always underline the fact that Sergei Sviatchenko definitely isn’t careless, is his consequent use of a tie (striped and knitted), and the tie is always incorporated into his looks in exciting ways. And the tie is a special symbol for Sergei.

»It (the tie, red.) is a bit like a stage between generations. My father made that movement in front of the mirror. I repeated his movement - and you know, that your son will repeat it too. The occasions (in time) is different, but we make the same movement, when we put on the tie. We walk out and feel ready!«, he says. 

 

Q: How do you find inspiration for your own style, when you have the designation as a style icon?

»The greatest influence is probably a bit coincidental; it’s a bit like cutting different layers in the street, where you notice an exciting and harmonic thing and layer it in your consciousness«, says Sergei Sviatchenko, that earlier expressed that Serge Gainsbourg also has inspired him.

Collage from CUAP

CLOSE UP AND PRIVATE AND THE UNIQUE APPROACH TO FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY

As an artist Sergei Sviatchenko has created pictures, collages and other pieces of art, that mix, amongst other things pop culture, architecture, fantasy and political events for more than 40 years. He is characterised as one of the most recognised collage-artists in the world, and it was the art that brought him to Denmark in 1990.

In 2009 he started a new project: the blog Close Up And Private. The idea was simple; Sergei would take part in the sprouting blog culture with inspiring pictures that he took with his Leica-camera of elements from the men’s wardrobe - especially with focus on the details in the styling.

»I wanted to show fashion photography as something natural and capricious«, he says.

Collage from CUAP 

 

 

 

The blog format became popular very quickly - thanks to both the style he communicated, but also because he with the everyday approach to the aesthetics of fashion photography created a new visual language that has revolutionised fashion photography. »It was a form of monologue, that surprisingly evolved to a dialog with the whole world«, he says and states, that Jason Jules, copywriter and style expert from London, has written a text, that in the finest way catches the essence of Close Up And Private: 

»If I wrote a piece on what’s happening now, I’d kick off with CLOSE UP AND PRIVATE - a completely radical take on menswear photography.

It’s not just the hard crops, the brilliant styling, the lack of credits or concern for branding, or the playfulness. It’s all of the above done seamlessly, employing a language all it’s own

It blurs the lines between documentary, portraiture, surrealism and fashion; and that’s what I’d say. I’d also explain how this new aesthetic has inspired other photographers, brands, websites, e-shops and bloggers«.

 

 

 

What started as photographs on the blog with the 50's and the 60's Ivy League-style in focus quickly evolved to painting and collages that all circled around the same style and the small details that makes Sergeis personal style and CUAP son unique.

»It has been incredibly exciting as an artist to develop the blog. I developed the paintings in the same form, but under the pseudonym “Sergey Nielsen”, after using photography as a media on the blog. This gave me a new form of dialogue with the followers of the project. The collage came later in the process in CUAP. Right now, I feel, that I have developed the CUAP photography to yet another more conceptual expression - if you look at some of the images from 2019«, he says.

 

Erik Sviatchenko for CUAP

Sergei Sviatchenko has always been true to the concept, even though the blog has evolved over time, and the models has always been the ones standing closest to him. Especially his son Erik Sviatchenko, footballplayer in FC Midtjylland, has been photographed multiple times. Sergei Sviatchenko’s children Philip and Alexandra has modelled on the blog as well, and the close work with his children has always meant a lot for the artist. 

»We have always created small art projects and performances together, where we created a new universe. It’s very life-affirming to see them repeat the patterns, that we had in the family with their kids now«.

10 YEARS, WHAT NOW? 

Close Up And Private can celebrate 10 year anniversary this summer, and Sergei Sviatchenko did that with an exhibition in Viborg, where multiple of the best creations from the first decade with Close Up And Private was on display.

Sergei Sviatchenko has a wish to keep on the blog project for many years to come and nevertheless keep evolving the visual language in close collaboration with his son Erik. They have a couple of interesting CUAP-collaborations in progress, in the meantime - we can’t be more specific right now ;)

From the series ANIVY, 2014-19, collage, Dedicated to Close Up And
Private 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY 2009-2019

But there are other things on the agenda as well. Sergei Sviatchenko has for example recently worked with the Danish Dance theatre, where he has the responsibility of creating the scene and costume design for multiple different perfomancs. He will travel to Brussels this autumn to exhibit his most important new works, which he dreams about exhibiting at Tate Modern in London one day as well. This month he moves his CUAP-exhibition to Photo Kiev Fair, while he is also having a huge exhibition in Berlin later this year. But what creates the most resonance, is that Sergei Sviatchenko just worked with Cartier on a reinterpretation of the iconic ‘Love Bracelet’.

He has meanwhile created a couple of new collages, that we have gotten permission to present exclusively here on the blog. Collages, that has a clear inspiration from both the 50’s and 60’s Ivy League-schools, important historic events and his own universe. And in some way the collages symbolise and encapsulate the great style that we should talk much more about in Denmark. 

From the series ANIVY, 2014-19, collage, Dedicated to Close Up And
Private 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY 2009-2019

»I wish there would be more focus on it (fashion, red.) and guiding people to become more well dressed. We should promote fashion a lot more - exactly like it's done with all the stuff in the media that focuses on food«.

The request is hereby given on.

Visit the Close Up And Private-blog HERE.

From the series ANIVY, 2014-19, collage, Dedicated to Close Up And
Private 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY 2009-2019

From the series ANIVY, 2014-19, collage, Dedicated to Close Up And
Private 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY 2009-2019