ZBOR: 40 == works from the history of Belarusian contemporary art
We are publishing the main text of the exhibition "ZBOR. Constructing an Archive", which is a brief overview of Belarusian contemporary art with a mention of 40 selected works.
In 2015, the KALEKTAR platform team prepared a scientific and exhibition project "" in , which presented the first results of the activities of the platform and its project. This large-scale scientific and exhibition project presented 40 selected works of Belarusian artists, artists and groups created between the 1980s and 2014. All selected works are one of the key statements that have determined, to one degree or another, the development of various areas of Belarusian contemporary art.
The main explication of the exhibition:
The style and content of many works of the exhibition refer to the avant-garde experiments of the 1920s and created on its basis. The key figure for the Belarusian artists of the BSSR period, who doubted that there was no alternative to socialist ideological clichés and the necessary realism in art, was . Until the end of the 1980s, his modernist works were practically not exhibited in the BSSR.
The end of the 1980s was marked by euphoria: art left apartments, workshops and "fled out of the city" into public spaces, mastering new exhibition venues. One of the memorable events of that time was the scandalous group exhibition "" in 1987, in which took part. His painting at the exhibition was branded as pornographic, because of which the artist was diagnosed with schizophrenia, which played a fatal role in his current fate.
The turning point in the history of the collapse of the USSR is recorded in their photo collages duet and . At this time, an independent culture became active: numerous self-organizing events took place, performative practices were tested (for example, among the "" group), private galleries were opened, and new institutions began their activities. The opening of borders allowed the artists to travel abroad, where the first international contacts began.
In the early 1990s, conceptual art began to develop. Among the works of that time, the exhibition presents an experimental photo series "", as well as works with text and sculptures from poor materials by the Vitebsk artist .
The environment of contemporary art in Vitebsk became more active: with the support of , which began its short work in Belarus, the Center for Contemporary Art, the gallery "" of the artist developed, festivals and exhibitions were held. The festival became the most important platform for the presentation of the new conceptual art of Belarus. The conceptual actions within the framework of this festival clearly demonstrate the themes and strategies of the artists of this period. In , which opened in 1995, the monumental painting was done by .
With Alexander Lukashenko coming to power in 1994, fundamental changes took place in the independent culture of Belarus. The galleries were closed one after another (during the closing days of the gallery "" it hosted an alarming performance ), the activities of independent cultural institutions were stopped, as well as the creation of new ones. let. At this turning point, the exhibited (left unfinished) project "" was created. It became a marker of the upcoming passive-crisis period of the second half of the 1990s - early 2000s. In 2002, began publishing an almanac about modern Belarusian culture , which for many years remained the only publication that recorded the events and names of Belarusian contemporary art.
In the second half of the 1990s, a wave of emigration from the environment of culture and art began, which was clearly demonstrated by the drawings-diagrams . Students also left the country, who were massively expelled from art educational institutions (this, among other things, is the topic of work ).
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, various artistic strategies were developed. So, created post-minimalist sculptures. has developed quasi-nostalgic designs. At the end of 1999, thundered, criticizing the activities and arbitrariness of Alexander Lukashenko.
Many artists in this period hoped for the emergence of an art market in Belarus, for which they began to work in the aesthetics of commercial art, and many went into design. With all the pathos at the turn of the century, the gloss "" was created by a duet of artists-designers: and . In its objects, criticizes consumerism and the strengthening of capitalist relations in culture.
The 2000s were marked by the creation of a number of major spectacular works created in teams of artists who left Belarus. Among the most notable are: project, digital opera , and Maija Ilic, happening. A wide range of expressions of contemporary art can be traced in the work of the artist_ts-emigrant_k: interdisciplinarity (in works at the intersection of science and art and or ceramic installations ), performativity and rejection of authorship (in the group ""), post-minimalist experiments with form and technique (in works by and interactive sculptures by ), work with concept videos (in films by ), artistic research (by ), site-specific installations (in ), narrative (in religious works ) or absurdist approaches (as in projects and ).
In the works of their fellow artists in Belarus, the connection with the local context was more pronounced. So, in his multi-year multimedia project worked with the architecture of a dying Belarusian village. Photographer began to explore the contradictions in the construction of the local history of the Second World War. Nevertheless, the "zero" years were felt by many representatives of the artistic environment as stagnant, crisis years. For them, found the perfect expression in the formula "".
2009 was a turning point. On the eve of the presidential elections in 2010, a course was set for political liberalization. Then the gallery of contemporary art "" was opened and the processes of activation of the art community began.
However, the 2010 elections shocked Belarus with a violent crackdown on protests, repression, and the economic and political crisis that followed. In 2011, a bloody terrorist attack took place in the Minsk metro. Many situationist actions of the "" group are devoted to these events. At the same time, the contemporary art portal was launched, demonstrating the need to move from hidden partisan strategies to open activism (this transition was demonstrated in his work by the founder of the portal and artist ). Political context and open criticism are key elements of 's writings.
In recent years, against the backdrop of the politicization of art and the revitalization of the community in Belarus, new spaces and resources, curatorial and educational projects have begun to appear. Interest in feminist and gender topics (projects and ) and issues of public expression (actions ) has increased.