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Green Apples

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.

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Do it yourself

1999-01-01 - Performance within the exhibition Saljut attrakcion, curated by K. Zvezdochetov, photos by Georgy Pervov and Maxim Gorelik Zwerevs center of contemporary art, Moscow


I’m applying myself to the problem of choosing within the life of a woman-artist.
On this matter there’s a lot of feminist literature, for a while it has become an imporant problem of my own life.

I’m standing on a stool with a loop around my neck. On my breast I have a sign with instructions for the audience: you can see on it a leg kicking my stool.
The duration of this performance is two hours.
The main question here is the distinction between life and art, or love and creative work,
or private life and career.
It’s necessary for the woman who is living in a masculine society to make these choices.
All the same every of them expects the whole self-sacrifice. If you are an artist, you cannot be a normal woman.
This way, my performance is basically about the impossibility of such a choice.
Somebody from the audience, not me, is free to make this choice on my behalf.

I repeated this performance for three times in different countries. Once a man tried to kick the stool from under my feet but the cord broke off.

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© Elena Kovylina, 2003-2008