Collection of essays about artistic statements in Belarusian contemporary art

Lipovy Cvet group:
actions in public space,
2010 – 2011

ZBOR #5

Documentation

Lipovy Cvet group:actions in public space,2010 – 2011

Lipovy Cvet 

 

The activity of the art group Lipovy Cvet (“Linden Blossom”) is the brightest example of a politicized art in Belarus. Despite the fact that the band existed for only 2 years, their activity evolved around the most important historical contexts of the period of rise of citizen activism in the country in 2010-2012. The art group was able to reveal the illnesses of the Belarusian society, and to show that behind the seeming stability, fear is hiding.

The art group Lipovy Cvet was created in Mogilev by Denis Limonov and Yuliy Ilyuschenko. Later, the art group became active in Minsk, and two more artists have joined: Katya Samigulina and Ira Trubina. The interesting fact is that there is no art performance in the history of the group that all 4 members would participate in.

All art performances of the group are critical towards the Belarusian government, and are risky for the members, because they were implemented during the complicated political times. For example, in November of 2011, the art group gave a situationist performance “Commotion in the bus #23”. The 7-minute video on the website Naviny.by that showed a confrontation of Denis Limonov with the passengers of a city bus, quickly got 5 thousand views. On the video, Denis Limonov, using abusive behavior, such as shouting and provocation, causes a conflict in the middle of a daily commonplace life, encouraging the Minsk inhabitants not to be afraid.

On December 19, 2010, in Belarus, the president election took place, which was won again by Alexander Lukashenko. In Minsk, on the Independence Square, the police harshly dispersed the demonstration of the protesters. On March, 22, 2011, the financial crisis started in Belarus. On April 11, 2011, in Minsk, on the subway station “Oktyabrskaya”, there was an explosion of a home-made bomb, as a result of which, 15 people died, and 203 people were injured. On April 13, 2011, Lukashenko declared that the terrorist attack was investigated. Dmitry Konovalov and Vlad Kovalev were arrested and later sentenced to execution by firing squad.

In response to this situation, Denis Limonov sent a letter to the Attorney General of the Republic of Belarus, in which he stated that the art group “Lipovy cvet” was involved into the attack that Konovalov and Kovalev were blamed for. Moreover, he declared that these crimes were a work of art, and he dedicated them to the victims of bloody wheels of state. At the end of his letter, Limonov openly signed it with his own name. Of course, first of all, the artist wanted to stop the execution, trying to protract the investigation of the terrorist attack. «The letter by Denis Limonov to the Attorney General of the Republic Belarus» has become the most famous work by Denis Limonov and of the art band «Lipovy cvet», even though it didn’t reach its goal because there was no official response from the Attorney General, and the accused in the crime were executed. Moreover, this performance led to the breakup of the group.

 

Lipovy Cvet (2010–2012, Mogilev and Minsk, Belarus) – art group comprising artists from Mogilev and Minsk. Group’s activity coincided with the rise of the civic activism in Belarus in 2011. Split up after Denis Limonov’s action “Denis Limonov’s Letter to the Prosecutor General of the BR”.

Participants:
Denis Limonov (born 1983, Mahiliou, Belarus) – artist, actionist, group’s leader. Lives and works in Moscow, Russia.

Yuliy Ilyuschenko (pseudonym Karen Karnak; born 1985, Mahiliou, Belarus) – asemic worker, poet, also founder and participant of the Asemic International, co-member of DAMTP. Lives and works in Minsk, Belarus.

Ekaterina Samigulina (pseudonym Tae Ateh; born 1989, Mahiliou, Belarus) – poet and asemic worker, also member of КЮ literary band and the Asemic International, co-member of DAMTP. Lives and works in Minsk, Belarus.

Irina Turbina (born 1987, Mahiliou, Belarus) – artist. Lives and works in Minsk, Belarus.

 

Text: Anton Borisenko, Sergey Shabohin, KALEKTAR ©

 

This is a shortened version of the text. Full article is under construction.

“Denis Limonov’s Letter to the Prosecutor General of the BR”, exhibition “Sounds of Silence: Art in Times of Dictatorship”, EFA centre, New York, USA, 2011: