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Artist Nikolai Ishchuk Creates Solid Artworks with Unusual Materials

Project details 

Award-winning artist Nikolai Ishchuk is best known for his photography. He is the winner of many accolades including the British Journal of Photography's Single Image Award. His artwork has also been displayed at The Whitechapel Gallery in London, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, and the Denny Gallery in New York. You can see his collections at  

With recent work, however, he needed a little help. Nikolai was creating photosculptures which required a fast setting, sturdy, non-porous alternative to concrete. Through online research, he found Concrex® Carbon Fibre. This is our most popular product for concrete repairs. It is the most hard wearing repair mortar on the market, is easy to apply and virtually indestructible.

Our solution

Watco's expert advisors recommended Nikolai used Concrex® Deep Fill to create his amazing photosculptures.

Learn about Nikolai’s experience of using Concrex® in his own words:

"I started working with concrete/cement as a counterpoint of sorts to my earlier lighter sculptures made of prints and aluminium or just folded prints. It also helped that a friend of mine had a bag of stuff lying around that's used to secure posts and she let me use it. Soon it became clear that I could really only work with fast-setting mixtures. Otherwise the paper soaks up too much water and not only does it then lose shape, the surface that I build up also gets damaged. However, concrete is already quite brittle around the edges. With fast mixes, the problem is exacerbated as they don't dry as evenly especially once you get over a certain size. I still love the rough, dry look of concrete and cement and don't necessarily see Concrex as an outright 

replacement. Concrex allows me to work with more complex shapes without having to worry that the ridges will crumble off. And thanks to epoxy content the material fuses with the paper in a lovely way that makes it look like it's skinned.

Another plus is that Concrex doesn't require water except to wash your hands after. A suitable water supply or sink isn't always available if I'm working onsite, and it keeps things neater too. I also have some ideas that I haven't gotten around to externalising yet that involve really thin, angled segments, and I don't think I could use anything else for that.

I found the product online through research. I didn't know it existed but reasoned that there has got to be something like that out there. In case my research wouldn't turn up any results, I was prepared to mix concrete and epoxy myself!”

"Altough inherently dealing with the difficulties and dilemmas of photography, my work strays far from what most would consider the typical output if the medium. In the last couple of years, I have been actively developing the sculptural strand of my practice. It originally stems from an interest in the link betweem modernist architecture  and photography: the former was often experienced through the latter, and some of that architecture now only exists in pictures. 

However, images are often hugely deceptive of the proportions, volumes, etc. and thus they themselves can be said to produce new objects far removed from the originals. My sculptures attempt to push the limits of this abstracting logic to the point where the resulting form does not specifically refer to anything extant any more. Tactility, surfaces and materials have also become very important in this work."

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