Collection of essays about artistic statements in Belarusian contemporary art

Bergamot group:
series of performances
“Organic Life”
and “Organic Work”,
2000 – 2012

ZBOR #25

Series of performances

Bergamot group:series of performances“Organic Life”and “Organic Work”,2000 – 2012

Performance “Organic Life”, 2012

 

The Bergamot group (Volha Maslouskaya and Raman Tratsiuk) was formed in 1998. Originally, the group members were concerned about problems of human communication, gender and violence. Over time, the group departed from the small performances towards larger-scale projects, like their Biophilia series (2004, 2006, 2007). Gradually, the performances started featuring “swapping” the group members with other people, boundaries between performers and viewers, between art and life, got blurred and almost disappeared. Since then, Bergamot deal mainly with questions of authorship, relations between artist and viewer, performer, sometimes anonymous, and author, between creator and a work. In 2010, Volha and Raman announced an open call for ideas or scripts of a performance, and since then, their work consists of bringing to life the projects by the winners. The scripts were received in various ways: through on-line open calls at the group’s official website and Facebook page, as well as during the meetings with students and activist parties at clubs. Today, the members of Bergamot do not only make performances, actions, video art and installations, but also curate various art projects around the world. Currently, the group has radically transformed its agenda, creating performances written by others, thus denouncing the very concept of authorship.

The artists aim to make each performance a natural process of their interaction, where every new work continues the previous one, as is reflected in their series Organic Life and Organic Work. The series consists of over 20 performances, held at various venues in Europe during a 12-years period. On a narrative level, Organic Work by Volha Maslouskaya and Raman Tratsiuk refers to the sphere of exchange between its initiators and the viewers, while on a psychological level, it deals with the problem of social identity, self-identification and change of consciousness. Bergamot have defined the boundaries of the game mixing roles and levels of interaction of its participants. Over time, the members have moved from the problem of human communication to a narrower question – the analysis of the changeability of the statuses of “performer/artist/author” and “viewer”. Within the experimentation, all roles are questioned, pointing at the ambiguity of the relations between the aforementioned notions. “Being against apologists for an impassive “we”, who disguise their hunger for power with a feigned need for harmony in order to be more effective, Bergamot resort to blatant public displays of conflict to make the efficiency of this veiled power visible and attackable”.

Bergamot group (founded 1998) – creative duo of Volha Maslouskaya and Raman Trotsiuk specialised in performative practices.

Volha Maslouskaya (born 1974, Brest, Belarus) – artist, performer.

Lives and works in Brest, Belarus.

Raman Tratsiuk (born 1981, Brest, Belarus) – artist, performer.

Lives and works in Poznan, Poland.

 

Text: Sergey Shabohin, Tanya Setsko, KALEKTAR ©

 

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