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WALTZ at Miami

2005-12-01 - Gallery Schroeder Romeo/NY in Miami Beach, Ice Palace Film Studios – NADA Art Fair, Miami Beach

Photos by Sonia Leimer


Waltz was conceived in 2001 and has been performed in Germany and subsequently in several European cities. The artist subverts the prevalent clichés of the "Russian woman" whose body became one of the main sources of revenues in the new capitalist economy of the 1990s. She also subtly comments on a forced "reconciliation" between Russia and the West, the former absolute war enemies and ideological adversaries. Choosing members of the Western audience to dance, the artist reverses the prevalent aesthetics of failure, empowering herself and symbolically activating what has been repressed.

Photos by Sonia Leimer

In Waltz spectators are invited to dance with the artist, who is otherwise engaged in a strange ritual of decorating herself with military badges, downing shots of vodka, and smashing the empty glasses on the ground, all the while becoming precariously smashed herself. The audience’s role gradually shifts; whereas at the beginning of the performance Kovylina offers them a pleasant dance, by the end of the piece they’re confronted with having to support the slumping, wobbling, nearly incapacitated artist.

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© Elena Kovylina, 2003-2008