2006-06-08 - videostill, camera Abdilla Bacon – Performance space, Sydney Biennale 2006
For the 2006 Biennale Kovylina's initial proposal Boxing, which involved the staging of a boxing match where audience volunteers were encouraged to fight with the artist, has been cancelled due to legal concerns. Kovylina is currently in the process of developing a new proposal for her June performance. It is likely she will perform Pick a girl! a 2005 work where the artist pins to her skin a number of cut-outs of naked women. As explained on Kovylina's web site, in Russian, the expression snimat devoychku means to pick up (i.e. to hire) a prostitute, while the verb snimat also means to pick off or to remove. Kovylina invites members of the audience to come and unpin a woman from her skin and discard her. Inspired by Yoko Ono's famous performance Cut Piece (first performed in 1964) where members of the audience were invited by Ono to cut a piece of her clothing away, Pick a girl! makes a broad comment on the politicization of women's bodies with particular reference to the experience of women in Russia.
Being an artist I do paticipate to an art fair - which might be any of the many - with my personal stand: the Kovylina Action Gallery one. Basically, my gallery works with no artists. There is nothing exposed at my stand except just a photo portrait of the gallerist (myself) made as a lightbox of 2 x 3 metres. The lightbox itself is not an art piece, but the entire construction, in which it becomes a component of the artistic gesture as a whole. Some visitors are about to notice that the gallerist and a person on the lightbox are the same ones. This way, some spectators are perplexed with their impresson: who is, in the end, in front of them: a galleist, artist, model, or photographer? The others, less attentive, just see the lightbox as an average object within the line of the rest those on fair. The glamorous image of a woman beautiful, that all the people no doubt do admire at, looks somewhat very commercial. The light box is on sale together with the video documentation of the performance. In this work, the conditions of quality of the art market are questioned.