Sergey Balovin

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Sergey Balovin (born 5 July 1984, Voronezh, Russia) is a visual artist and curator. In 2011, to escape the conventional application of monetary value to art, he started the popular "In Kind Exchange" project in which he is exchanging artworks for useful presents.[1] The project has attracted a lot of attention around the world. In 2013 he started his money-free world tour with "In Kind Exchange",[2] travelling the world and swapping portraits for flight tickets, food, accommodation, without spending any money.[3] Since 2015 Sergey Balovin is been working with Claudia Beccato, Italian gastronome and artist.[4] In 2016 Sergey Balovin is on the list of the Database and Analytics of Russian Contemporary Art as 20th of the Top 100 young artists and as 16th according to the list of People's rating. [5]


Sergey Balovin grew up in Voronezh, in western Russia in a family of geologists and studied fine art from a very young age.[6] In 1996 he graduated from Fine Art School and in 2005 graduated from Art Faculty of the Voronezh State Pedagogical University. At 17 years old he went on teaching art at Studio I, school of Architecture and Design. Four years later, he began working at the Pedagogical University, teaching painting and organising group exhibitions featuring young artists from Voronezh. His class soon began a creative and associative meeting point for students. Due to clear limitations in Russian academic education, and being greatly inspired by French, German, and Belgian artists encountered, he taught himself contemporary art.[7]

From 2008 to 2010 he curated the "Petit" project with Louise Morin in which they featured several dozen artists from Europe, Asia and America.[8] The project participants reflected on the topic of "mobility" and created artworks around this theme. More than a hundred pieces were placed in a single suitcase, enabling the curators to cross country borders and represent this "contraband art".[9] The project united some dozens of artists form Russia, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Poland, China, USA, Brazil and was presented in France, Germany, Russia and China, including Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Red Gate Residency in Beijing and Art Labor Gallery in Shanghai.[10][11][12]

In 2009 Sergey Balovin was invited to Jinan, China, to open his solo show. About a hundred paintings reflecting Chinese stereotype views of Russian contemporary art. Series deliberately beautiful landscapes with golden frames was a parody of 19th century Russian painting. The artworks were successfully sold in a few days and the artist decided to move to China for improve his financial well-being.[13][14] But he soon realized he was becoming more focused on consumer demand than his own art vision. He decided to cease sales and, to prevent himself from repeating past mistakes, he performed «Euthanasia», a radical act, destroying his entire oil landscape exhibition, which had been painted according to consumer taste, with a bulldozer (allusion to the Bulldozer Exhibition).[15] The «Euthanasia» project was represented in IFA Gallery.[16]

In 2010, refusing to put price on his artworks, he launched "In Kind Exchange" where he drew portraits and exchanged them for currency free presents.[17] In 2011 his "In Kind Exchange" project was selected for Sergey Kuryokhin Modern Art Award[18] and in 2012 the artist was in residence at Swatch Art Peace Hotel.[19] The project got amazing feedback in social media and he soon began to receive invitations from all over the world from people who wanted their portraits done. In 2013 finally ready, he started his Money Free World Trip, painting for food, lodging and transportation. The journey ensuing lasted 17 months and covered 36 countries and created over 5,000 portraits and got the same amount of gifts in return.[20]

Since 2015 he is been working with Claudia Beccato.[21] They met on Sergey Balovin's "In Kind Exchange" tour in Europe. In the summer of 2016 they got married at Dukley European Art Community in Kotor, during their art residency program.[22] They celebrated their money-free wedding, opening the exhibition "The Wedding [as it should be]." The artists represented with collage on canvas all the elements of a classical wedding, without possessing anything and spending any penny.[23]


  1. "Воронежский художник Сергей Баловин борется с капитализмом", TV Kultura, 6 July 2011
  2. "Натуральный обмен. Проект художника Сергея Баловина", Museums News of Saint Petersburg, 13 August 2011
  3. "Один день из жизни в „нехорошей квартирке“", XXL, 22 March 2012
  4. Сергей Баловин. Интервью, Россия 24 News, 17 April 2012
  5. "Портрет в обмен на сок, пирог, печенья и сканворд", 48.RU, 25 April 2012
  6. "Putting the art in barter", Global Times, Shanghai, 5 June 2012
  7. "Euthanasia", IFA Gallery, Shanghai, 30 June 2012
  8. "Schneider Ammann beendet Mission mit Farbtupfer", Swissinfo, 13 July 2012
  9. "Ipak se od umjetnosti živjeti može!", Ziher, 27 March 2013
  10. "Piktori shëtitës, portret në këmbim të një dhurate", MAPO, 8 April 2013
  11. "«Утро»: художник Сергей Баловин", Moscow 24, 4 March 2013
  12. "Портрет без монет. Воронежский художник путешествует без денег", AIF, 27 3 July 2013
  13. "Украинские СМИ назвали известного воронежского художника бомжом", Моё, 15 February 2013
  14. "Sergey Balovin’s ‘In Kind Exchange’: Russian Portrait Artist Lives... ", The Huffington Post 26 March 2013
  15. "Russian Artist Sergey Balovin and the In-Kind Exchange Project: How He Lives Without Money", YAHOO!, 28 March 2013
  16. "Сергей Баловин: Художник не должен голодать", Arterritory, 2 August 2013
  17. "Of Bulldozers and Nail Houses", P.I.G. China, 7 December 2012
  18. "Painting portraits to sustain a lifestyle with no money", Visual News, 25 March 2013
  19. "Get the picture", South China Morning Post, 27 June 2013
  20. "Russian Artist Living on No Income", The Echo, 15 April 2013
  21. "Artista demuestra que es posible vivir y viajar sin dinero", Mariana Tiquet, Mexico, 18 July 2014
  22. "Sergey Balovin, the artist who’s travelling the world without money", Mumbai DNA, 29 June 2014
  23. "Feed the artist and get your portrait made.", Contemporary Food Lab, 2015
  24. "Вокруг света без денег: Художник путешествует по миру за портреты", Тут и там, 17 February 2016
  25. "Обменный пункт, Псковская Губерния", Gubernia online, 11 July 2016
  26. "Izložba i svadba: Neobičan projekat Sergeja Balovina u Kotoru", Crna Gora, 13 August 2016
  27. "Сметана, творог и что-то исконно псковское", ПЛН, 29 June 2016
  28. "Arte e coraggio di Sergey Balovin", My Personal Mind, 6 November 2016
  29. "Sergej Balovin večeras predstavlja svoj rad sarajevskoj publici", Depo, 30 August 16
  30. "Sergej Balovin gost sarajevske ‘Čarlame’", Federalna TV, Sarajevo, 28 August 2016
  31. "Artisti (russi) di tutto il mondo, benvenuti in Montenegro", alfabeta2, 4 December 2016


  1. ^ the world without money - Sergey Balovin , MUKHA, 2013
  2. ^ In Kind Exchange project, Youtube, 2 August 2012
  3. ^ Russian Artist Sergey Balovin and the In Kind Exchange project: how he lives without money Archived 9 January 2017 at the Wayback Machine., YAHOO!, 28 March 2013
  4. ^ Художник, путешествующий без денег, нарисует портреты воронежцев за свадебные подарки, Moe online, 11 June 2016
  5. ^ [1], IN ART 2016
  6. ^ Travel the world without money - Sergey Balovin, MUKHA, 2013
  7. ^ Sergey Balovin's biography, IFA Gallery
  8. ^ Сергей Баловин: «Все мои проекты вытекают из самой жизни и продиктованы необходимостью», VRN Times, 26 September 2011
  9. ^ "Petit" project, Moscow Museum of Modern Art
  10. ^ Petit Gallery
  11. ^ Art Labor, exhibitions of 2010
  12. ^ PETIT: Exhibition in Suitcase, ART IN ASIA
  13. ^ В Шанхае откроется персональная выставка русского художника, Магазета, 27 October 2011
  14. ^ Sergey Balovin dhe Ruslan-i ne Klubin e mengjesit, Club FM Albania, 12 April 2013
  15. ^ В Шанхае художник из Воронежа раздавил свои картины бульдозером, Комсомольская правда, 2 October 2012
  16. ^ Euthanasia 2, P.I.G. News, 2 September 2012
  17. ^ Putting the art in barter, Global Times, 6 April 2012
  18. ^ Sergey Kuryokhin Modern Art Award
  19. ^ Retrospective: artists-in-residence 2012 The Swatch Art Peace Hotel, 2012
  20. ^ Sergey Balovin website
  21. ^ Сметана, творог и что-то исконно псковское - пожелания от художника Сергея Баловина, который в субботу напишет портреты псковичей за еду, PLN PSKOV, 29 June 2016
  22. ^ Artisti (russi) di tutto il mondo, benvenuti in Montenegro, alfabeta2, 4 December 2015
  23. ^ Izložba i svadba: Neobičan projekat Sergeja Balovina u Kotoru, CDM, 13 August 2016


Balovin&Beccato website