Human Unconscious

2007-12-14 - exhibition 24 Solo. Performance Museion Bozen (Italy) Museum of modern and contemporary art

When looking at the modern life as it goes all around, a gap between the history of culture and the modern expression of culture could be easily noticed.
The cultural history which is mainly found in museums, becomes no more than the other surface which main role in life is to attract tourists.
This summer I went for the first time in my life to Bolzano (Bozen - in German), a typical European city that has unique history. The principal object of local archeology and, and the same time, the number one entertaining historical figure of the city is, for years, this Snowman: a mummy someday found here and taken into the museum.
During the performance I dressed in a costume by Prada and having taken anesthesia - right alike the Snowman named Otzi - lie inside a glass cube for twenty four hours successively.

While consumerism, relax, and entertaining attitude to the life
are those values common to see, I acted a contemporary human being, somewhat sleeping permanently inside a glossy sarcophagus of culture.

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2007-10-20 - Exhibition Sots-Art La Maison Rouge, Paris

Starting from the title of the performance I'm referring to Vladimir Majakovskii’s known political project "Windows of ROST" / Okna Rosta, a series of everyday propaganda slogans placed inside the widows of a town, noticeable for the pedestrians on their average way somewhere and back while the day. In both satirical and threatening - towards the previous political regime – manner the revolutionary personages have been featuring with weapons, appearing brave and severe. 
Thinking of what might be a political project in Russia looking like nowadays, I appeal the tradition of revolutionary art in Russia in the 1920es.

Socialist realism had criticized the bourgeois and capitalist ideals and aesthetics, when became the official media of the new Soviet ideology, whereas Sots-Art is criticizing, in its turn, the ideology of socialism. The break-up of USSR had caused the disappearance of so-called Sots-Art, and the political art today stood again the position of criticism towards the new (capitalist) authority and bourgeoisie.

Performance description:

Inside the window a red slogan "Long live the new Russia!" is placed. I appear from the window being masked as a sniper. With a rifle in my hands I aim at the public around, choosing different people as a target for a shot that, however, I never go for.
A hymn of Russia sounds, causing a proud and ceremonial atmosphere.
While acting, I coordinate with someone I am speaking with via Skype, and whose voice is hearable, and who dictates on which the next object (sacrifice) of mine should be.
With this gesture of permanent control over the people attending, I somehow produce uneasy and troubled expectations, which, however, never gives out a result.   

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Pick a girl!

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.

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Kovylina Action Art Gallery

2006-05-30 - Art Athina 2007, Athens, Greece

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.

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2006-03-10 - film project MAK Schindler House, Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a town worldwide known as a place of the Hollywood.
The image of the Hollywood is the only thing that an average inhabitant of the Earth knows of LA.
Movies those coming out from the Hollywood provide utopias and myths towards and regarding the entire world, showing either cosmic or world wars or teaching of the meaning of life. There do exist some schemes – those aesthetical and informational - in the Hollywood, which are aimed to represent almost each phenomenon and aspect of life. The nature and the essence of cinema is the ideology, which canalize itself through aesthetics. However, those common senses given by the Hollywood are not always that objective. The images of heroes, for instance, are not always that realistic. The whole picture of life, including architectural views and interiors of the flats is sometimes totally fake, because scenarios are mostly based on tales and anecdotes.

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© Elena Kovylina, 2003-2008