When Forms Become Attitude is a contemporary response to Harald Szeemann's exhibition “When Attitudes Become Form” (1969), which showed ‘new art’ 24 years after The War.
By altering the title of the exhibition to “When Forms Become Attitude,” holding it one year after the onset of the pandemic and local changes in every region of the world, there is making a statement about implementing new ways of interaction between actors in a broad sense of the word, which resulted from the new conditions.
This exhibition brings together Belarusian women artists whose formative years have taken place during the 26-year-long presidency of Lukashenko. As of today, he has now been in power for over a year in an illegitimate status. One of the exhibits, the video work “Of our women” by Olia Sosnovskaya visualizes the role of women in the Belarusian state from the perspective of the official discourse. It is noteworthy how the illegitimate president's rhetoric regarding his refusal to step down is reflected in the phrase "The beloved is not to be given away" and is built on a comparison of a specific physical territory of the country to the body of an abstract woman. Thus, in the presented embroidery “Untitled,” Vasilisa Palianina ironically paraphrases this narrative and concretizes the worldview of powers that be as primordially peasant in its nature: from arduous cultivation and protection of mother-earth to the potato seeds as an embodiment of the idea of constant self-reproduction of harvest.
Today, the smartphone with its ‘contents’ is the link between this official rhetoric and resistance to it, between mythology, tradition, mundanity and the concrete life of an individual. Antonina Slobodchikova's installation outlines a common fear of how, through physical or digital intrusion, one can identify or de-anonymize a person, weed them out by removing them from the field of vision, and clear the space for new seeding.
The online tools' potential for defence, offence or surveillance use is examined in Кaterina Sokolovskaya's project: dog sculptures, existing elsewhere in the real world, can be seen through a smartphone screen. These two realities with different initial data for measurement and reference, the physical and the digital, produce a hybrid info-visual environment, which is reflected in the installation by Zhanna Gladko. Marina Naprushkina tries to escape from the hybrid present in her video “future for everyone,” repeating aloud the desired characteristics of this future, as if summoning it. This running, the search for the road in relation to a safe place in the world – a home – is reinterpreted by Masha Maroz in the installation “Long way home”. Here, the same traditional peasant motifs that are not really all that alien to Belarusians are rethought in relations between the language, the ‘harvest’ economy and production: we hear the names of Belarusians and see potatoes, but this time 3D-printed.
The conceptual linking of the exhibition project is made complete by the video work of Ala Savashevich, where communication between individual subjects changes not only the relationship in the very nature of their differences – national, bodily, physical, geographical, mythological, – but also establishes interaction through time and space by giving voices to those who may be deprived of the right to speak their mind, in order to support universal humanistic ideals in an unstable present.
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