“Seven glances at Minsk”,
2003 – 2007
Diagrams: paper, graphite
Oxana Gourinovitch’s diagrams were originally shown at the exhibition Minsk, A City Diary in winter 2007/2008 at Łaźnia centre for contemporary art in Gdańsk. In the style of a personal diary, Oxana wrote discreetly and sincerely about learning a different, pre-Soviet history of Minsk, the birth of the official historical narrative and the role that the urban planning played in “sanctifying a pseudo-history”: “The public space of Minsk is structured like a village: all the important events take place on the main street. But, unlike a village, Minsk has two streets like that, which contribute quite successfully to the manipulation of mass consciousness, acting as an efficient tool for naturalising a manipulated history. Things that are not marked on the pages of the capital’s city centre are absent from people’s memory. But these places are reserved to the invited only. In my diagrams, I have collected several facts to dispel the hypnosis of the Minsk myths a little bit”.
Diagrams reduce the relations between phenomena to their basic properties. Their main attribute is visualisation. They transform viewing into observation, sharpening the viewer’s analytical eye. In the diagram about the city centre’s ideological implications, Oxana showed the abundance of monuments of the war against fascism, expressions of the popular peasant theme, symbols of the Soviet power and Lukashenko’s regime since 1994. This made obvious the transformation of Belarusian history through the monuments.
The graphic visualisation of the “Basic Structure of Residential Development” demonstrated that the Stalin-era buildings, usually published on all the postcards, occupy no more than 2% of the city space. Whereas the diagram of the panel modifications made a quite different picture. An ironic diagram showed world famous stars hailing from Belarus.
The most popular diagrams, however, proved to be the “Artists and designers I know who have left Minsk” and “Artists and designers I know who returned to Minsk”. The first one showed a massive wave of emigration from Belarus, while the second one formed a small stream of those who came back. These diagrams demonstrate perfectly the situation in 1990-2000s Belarusian culture.
Oxana Gourinovitch (born 1975, Minsk, Belarus) – architect.
Lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
Text: Sergey Shabohin, Lena Prents, KALEKTAR ©
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