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eng Automatic Translation

Vital Razhkou (Bismarck / Kalgin)


Real name Vitaly Rozhkov. Pseudonyms: Bismarck, Vitaly Kalgin, Vitaly Skivitsa, Vitaly-Hippocrates Kalgin.

Artist, actionist. Organizer and sole member of the Bismarck association. Member of the art association "Form".

Engaged in artistic actions and performances of a personal-subjective nature. Prior to his arrest, under the pseudonym Bismarck, the artist carried out many provocative actions flirting with Nazi and nationalist aesthetics, which was typical of this period for artistic practices in many countries of the former Soviet bloc. His strategies of guerrilla and art terrorism were quite radical for Belarus and revealed dangerous topics for the new society. As Alexander Volodarsky writes: “Anti-fascism is not only a struggle against ultra-right tendencies in society, but also the continuous destruction of those mechanisms that make these tendencies possible and inevitable.” The fate of Vitaly Kalgin, unfortunately, shows that, having exposed certain mechanisms of the political system, he himself became its victim.

In 1988, under conditions of censorship, he received a diagnosis that played a fatal role in 2011: the artist survived a severe attack on his person and, according to a court decision, underwent compulsory treatment until the end of 2015. This event caused a great wave of outrage and community support.

Lives and works in Minsk.


Selected events

Selected Artwork Series

Selected artworks

Associated institutions

Articles on KALEKTAR

Associated Documents

Selected dates:

April 25, 1959

Born in Minsk (BSSR, today the Republic of Belarus).

1974 - 1978

He studied at the Minsk Art College. A.K. Glebov with Oleg Rakovsky and Leonid Lapchinsky.

Since 1984

Began to participate in exhibitions .


He founded the Bismarck group, of which only he himself was a member.

September 21, 1987

A group exhibition "On Collectornaya" has opened in Minsk, one of the key exhibitions of Belarusian nonconformist art. The exhibition was not typical for Belarus at that time and was a total installation created from mixed works of the participants of the exhibition project (Aleksey Zhdanov, Todor Kopsha, Artur Klinov, Andrey Plesanov, Vitaly Kalgin), various objects and garbage. Bismarck's painting "The Red Emperor or Patriarch" aroused indignation among viewers who perceived it as "pornography", the exhibition was constantly tried to be closed. To support the exhibition, the organizers even sent a telegram to Raisa Gorbacheva.


Because of the work "The Red Emperor or Patriarch" Vitaly Kalgin was diagnosed with schizophrenia . Compulsory treatment in psychiatric clinics (sometimes experimental ones) is one of the most famous methods of the Soviet government's struggle against dissidents, including avant-garde artists. The diagnosis made in Soviet times turned out to be fatal in 2011.

Since 1999

Engaged in artistic actions and performances of a personal-subjective nature.


The artist was attacked by three tipsy men, but in the end, the court, due to the lack of witnesses and despite Vitaly's severe beatings, accused the artist of the conflict precisely because of his "mental disorder" (diagnosis made in 1988). In accordance with the court decision dated January 25, 2011, Vitaly Kalgin had to undergo compulsory treatment for two years in an institution for citizens who committed a crime in a state of mental disorder in the village of Gaytyunishki. The artist was illegally detained at the Republican Scientific and Practical Center for Mental Health in Novinki (where he was transferred in 2013) without official explanation. At the same time, neither the artist's open letter, signed by representatives of cultural and social life, nor the lawyer's complaints about numerous violations during the investigation and trial, nor special publications helped.

End of 2015

Was released .