From Partisans to Activism”,
Installation: banners, leaflets, paint, staged red light, video, TVs, ventilator, cloth, tools.
The total installation was created as part of the exhibition The Journey to the East in the basement of Elektrownia, Arsenal gallery, Białystok, Poland
Sergey Shabohin is a representative of the younger generation of Belarusian artists, whose work is related to activism in the artistic life of Belarus. The artist is a curator of many exhibitions, illegally conducts educational courses for students of the Academy of Arts, at the same time being the founder and chief editor of the modern Belarusian art Art Aktivist portal, as well as the co-founder and editor of research Kalektar platform.
Namely the creation of Art Aktivist in 2011 became a notable event, when Sergei Shabohin with his editorial team had proclaimed the need for the change of Belarusian art paradigm: the transition from the escapism and the partisan strategy to independent culture with visible activist and critical actions against the arbitrariness of the official cultural policy. “From Partisans to Art Activism” – said the portal slogan.
Total installation by Sergei Shabohin was put in the basement space of a power station, owned by Arsenal Gallery in Bialystok in the framework of Journey to the East exhibition in 2011, at a time when the portal artaktivist.org was launched. The installation looked like an opened underground, in which some activists were preparing videos, writing slogans and printing leaflets, ready to get out of the basement in the public space. As a part of the installation, Art Terrorism video was also shown, in which representatives of the Belarusian culture, disguised as terrorists, proclaim their slogans. Artwork Art Terrorism. From Partisans to Activism has become a symbol of the transition period in the Belarusian contemporary art, when artists and other representatives of culture no longer have rights to keep silence about external problems and should join the waves of civic activism, which broke out in Belarus in 2011.
The installation shows the methodology of artist: working with the context and features of a place, revealing hidden processes, the use of slogans. For Sergey Shabohin the topic of history formation and museumification of reality is of high importance. The artist works with archives, forms the authors’ collections, creates critical statements towards the government, and often borrows the art history codes. Thus, from 2011 to the present time Sergey Shabohin collects the author’s collection-museum Practices of Subordination. Terror Ready-Made Collection, consisting of evidence that proves the detrimental effect of the state system and the authorities to the citizens of Belarus.
Sergey Shabohin (born 1984, Novopolotsk, Belarus) – artist, curator, critic, founder and editor-in-chief of the Art Aktivist portal, founder and co-director of KALEKTAR platform.
Lives and works in Bialystok, Poland.
Text: Aleksei Borisionok, KALEKTAR ©
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