1999-07-20 - The performance photos by G.Pervov – Arsakan village, Armenia
In the spring of 1999 I was invited to Erevan, the capital of Armenia, to take part in one exhibition. After having acquainted with neighbourhoods and enviroments I was most surprised at the women’s lifestyle. Women who live in armenian villages never sit down at the table together with men, never with the guests, they only serve everybody and spend their time in a kitchen. We visited several houses of popular armenian people and everywhere I saw the same. I was interested in armenian customs and traditions realated to discrimination on women. I was especially interested in one wedding custom.
At the first night after the wedding it turns out if the bride is a virgin or not. If she is not a virgin, a special mesenger who brings green apples with him sends to her parents. Or the bride herself sends back home and takes green apples with her. That means the great shame for her and her parents. If everything is okay, her parents receive red apples. This way, private life of every girl keeps under control from the society. This custom looks similar to some rituals of the Eastern Europe. I also remembered something about the witches who were victimized in the Western Europe during the Middle Ages.
In my performance I have combined all these associations related to armenian auls, some old weddings rituals, which all are aimed to repress women’s autonomy. During the performance I ride across the village sitting back to front over an ass. If I’m meeting a man on my way, I give him the green apple. My procession ends near an old church. The artistic will of mine transfers some elements and symbols of a repression into the manifestation of autonomous woman’s subjectivity.