On September 8, 1997, a conceptual text was created to accompany the performance carried out on December 2, 1997 in the contemporary art gallery Sixth Line, Minsk, Belarus
Performance: assistant, Armenian black wool kerchief, Dagestani white silk kerchief, bronze bowl from a Buddhist temple, zinc bucket, WWI-era Austro-Hungarian knife, wooden plank, chalk paper
Ludmila Rusova is a legend of Belarusian art and a pioneer of performance, whose name is forever linked with the development and popularization of performatory practices in Belarus. Performance appeared in the artist’s resume even before the actual term came into use of Belarusian art community. Starting with the “trips out of town” in her student days, to continue with the work Mirror Cross ½ (Georgia, 1989) and actions dedicated to Kazimir Malevich (Suprematist Kazimir Resurrection, 1988 – Viciebsk, 1989 – Minsk, 1990 – Moscow), implemented in collaboration with Igor Kashkurevich, Ludmila Rusova mastered the new language, its features and capabilities.
While in neighbouring states the centers of contemporary art started to assemble up-to-the-minute art, similar project in Belarus remained unfulfilled. In a way similar function took on the cult Minsk modern art gallery Shestaya Liniya (1992-1998). The performance of Ludmila Rusova After fully reflected the despair and impenetrability of nearest future. The performance was featured in the gallery during the last days of its existence.
For her action the artist invited an assistant (Alyona Doroshevich), the first director of Shestaya Liniya gallery. An action in front of the audience is a farewell to the past or an initiation ritual, a pass into the next life, into something that will happen after. The assistant, covered with Armenian black kerchief, is dipping water from a zinc bucket with a Buddhist temple vessel and pouring it on Ludmila Rusova’s head. The artist, moving on his knees, literally mops the gallery floor with her own hair, cleaning the sacred circle for the further action. Ludmila Rusova puts her assistant on a wooden board and makes a sweeping motion of her arm with the Austro-Hungarian knife of the First World War times. The audience is getting tense. The performance comes to its trembling culmination point. Hit! Hit! The artist cuts Alyona Doroshevich’s hair. Thus, fulfilling the performance After and visualizing the gallery history, place of worship, which is about to decline, Ludmila Rusova marks “the end of a great era.”
Ludmila Rusova, defining herself as poststructuralist, in her works yet always leans toward metaphysics with its absolutes and belief in the eternal verities. That is reflected in text form in the published book of her texts, manifestos and poems, “Through” (1999).
Ludmila Rusova (born 1954, settlement Doschanoe, Arkhangelsk region, Russia – † 2010, Minsk, Belarus) – artist, poet, key representative of Belarusian performance. Author of the first ever performance in Belarus.
Lived and worked in Belarus.
Text: Sergey Shabohin, Tanya Setsko, KALEKTAR ©
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