Under masks of stereotypes

Under masks of stereotypes

 On June 13 in the Center of the Modern art of Veliky Novgorod Natasha Van Budman’s interactive art project of "Cheloveynik/LOOK OUT" will open. The art project it was repeatedly exhibited on exhibition platforms of Moscow and St. Petersburg – Erarta (St. Petersburg) where has received the most ready response of the audience has been last time presented in gallery of the modern art. The art project Natasha gives the chance to the audience to reflect on a subject which excites mankind from century to century and once again to ask itself a question: who do I am? The artist and asks itself a question – that in me original, and what is introduced from the outside? And also reflects on emergence of stereotypes, as about the survival mechanism in modern Russian society and that starting point where all unusual becomes hostile and frightening ….

– Natasha how there was an art project concept Cheloveynik what has served as a starting point?

– The thought of the similar project has visited me, strangely enough, in furniture store. I very much like furniture from ротанга, it can make cosy any room, and once I have decided to achieve the dream. The furniture shop from ротанга is near to my house. And, about happiness, at an entrance I have seen a fine sofa which could satisfy my thirst of beauty and comfort. Having found for a look of the seller, I have gone to it with a request to remove bedside tables which blocked a way to my possible purchase. I so would like to feel a cosiness of a desired sofa! But at all so the seller of the cosiest furniture in the world was represented to me: nervous person, ispolosovanny deep wrinkles, and prickly eyes. The seller has answered my request that anything will not move. I have asked once again, having hinted that it as to the seller does not need to refuse to the potential buyer. The seller пробуравил me a look also has bellowed with undisguised hatred that he in Afghanistan and Chechnya was at war. The seller hating the buyers is news! During that moment it seemed to me that it with pleasure would kill me on the spot in the most literal sense of a word, but has not made it only because in shop was to many people. There was I a little shop without a sofa, shivering for horror. To think only: seller victim of wars. And how many them, such victims which would like to kill you only because you want to sit down on a sofa. My next soft and cosy stereotype which has appeared on closer examination by the blood-thirsty cannibal … so has collapsed.

Under masks of stereotypes

At the Cheloveynik exhibition

– Whether there is at the art project Cheloveynik a "social" component?

– Initially art project ЧЕЛОВЕЙНИК is deeply personal research. The main objectives which have pushed me to be engaged in this work: first, to understand itself, in that system of stereotypes which is present, first of all, at my consciousness, and, secondly, to reflect on mechanisms of emergence of stereotypes and reactions to them at first in life of each certain person, and then and in our society in which today it is total one of important base requirements – need for safety is not satisfied.

When I developed the project concept, I was very much interested by a subject of an origin of public phobias. At this time to me in hands Humberto Eko’s book “Madness history has got to a classical era” where very logically and the narration about that is extremely interestingly built, these or those public phobias from where undertake. Rejection by society of people with disability, in my opinion, is one of the public phobias inherent in Russia.

Under masks of stereotypes

Vladimir Mikhaylutsa, Valeria Rogozha, from Natasha Van Budman’s personal archive

– That is, this phobia is connected with what reminds inhabitants of our country of own vulnerability because of absence in the society of feeling of safety?

– I think and. Matter in it. The person is more satisfied, the less it is aggressive to another. Having studied the reasons of emergence of phobias, I have found out natural and clear aggression of the individual considering good and normal that in his opinion "norm" is not, that is does not correspond to those stereotypic ideas of world around which do existence of the individual safe. Validly, initially stereotypes come to our life to make it more clear, but over time they completely "erase" identity and as parasites, destroy all special personal manifestations. The personality is at some instant deformed, and then and collapses, completely losing lines of identity and the originality, given by the nature at the birth.

Under masks of stereotypes

Vladimir Mikhaylutsa, Valeria Rogozha, from Natasha Van Budman’s personal archive

– In other words, the person becomes absolutely "normal" in public understanding?

Yes. Further I have asked myself a question that such "norm" and as this concept is connected with stereotypes. At some instant I have found out that “the public norm” is a set of external physical signs and communication mechanisms in the society, approved and accepted in large quantities. And, acceptance depends including on the policy imposed by the state. Here it would be pertinent to remember fascist Germany where moral and ethical standard was to kill people from these or those groups which are not corresponding to the category "norms". It is also possible to remember and the interesting fact an exhibition of degenerate art of Entartete Kunst which was realised by Goebbels and the president of chamber of the fine arts Adolf Tsigler on the instructions of Hitler. It is known that Hitler himself dreamt to be an artist in youth, but has not arrived in Academy because of full lack of talent. At everything thus he considered itself(himself) as the expert on painting and hated «degenerate art». Similar exhibition it suited all once and that with the educational purpose – to prove to Germans that such pictures are extremely harmful to them. “ It is said that these artists not so see, how others, – he spoke, – I here have looked at some of the sent pictures, and should recognise — some of them are really written by the people seeing "inside out". At them present representatives of our people are presented as degenerating cretins, meadows for them dark blue, the sky — green, clouds — sulphur-yellow etc.; so they feel or as they are expressed, it endure. I do not wish to interfere with the dispute, whether really specified persons so feel and see or not, but I want to forbid that causing pity unfortunate which suffer sharp disorder of sight, fruits of the painful vision tried to impose to world around for the sake of the German people or even tried erect it in an "art" rank. No, we have only two possibilities: or so-called "artists" see surrounding really so strange and believe that they represent the world correctly — then it is required to define only, whether are their visual impairments damages of mechanical character or they are hereditary. In the first case we deeply sympathise with them, in the second — it is important — to prosecute for the Imperial Ministry of Internal Affairs this subjects and to avoid, at least, further inheritance of such awful visual impairments. However it is possible also that these persons do not trust actually in these "chuvstvovaniye" and "visions", but try, proceeding from other motives — to offend our nation by this disgrace, a sneer. Then such acts belong to area of criminal punishment … From now on we will wage ruthless cleaning war against the last at us elements of cultural decomposition”.

Under masks of stereotypes

The exhibition consisted of two parts: in the first part works which have been brought together across all Germany have been presented and have received Goebbels’s assessment as vyrozhdenchesky and degenerate (Marc Chagall, Vasily Kandinsky, Emil Nolda, Pete Mondrian’s works, Lissitsky’s Ale and others) and it was accompanied by the comments of the Fuhrer written on walls, pictures of the first part have been hung up at random. The second part of an exhibition, on the contrary, consisted of Hitler’s favourite artists who bore in itself, by definition of organizers, health and the "correct" view of the world. And so, the "degenerate" part of an exhibition had tremendous success in public, it was visited by huge crowds whereas Hitler’s favourite artists remained almost without attention. After an exhibition the majority of works of a degenerate part have been sold or irrevocably lost for world art in fires and bombardments. This historical example, in my opinion, perfectly illustrates, as far as скользок and the way of planting of such ambiguous category "traditional values" or "norm" not only within art, but also within destiny of the whole state, and in a consequence and the world device is dangerous.

– You say that often work at a joint fine and ugly …

– In this project and. I have created gallery of the masks faces, each of them is the stereotypic character living in the Russian society, familiar and safe. All masks are broken, crushed, sawn is a reflexion of moral violence, and also symbolises my personal "victory" over stereotypes – any of them I managed to break. The stereotype is a mask, the person living in a mask or pulling this mask on people around for own comfort and tranquillity is made by violence both in relation to itself, and in relation to people around, without wishing to be beyond stereotypes. Any violence – is ugly, as harms also sufferings. I consciously use in this project this category of an aesthetics – ugly. As a result of someone the exhibition frightens, someone sets thinking strongly.

– How it seems to you, we on a threshold of the new aesthetics reconsidering classical (going from antiquity) beauty canons?

Antique models of art I respect, I like to happen in Hermitage halls where they are presented in a large number – especially works of sculptor Praksitel. If you mean approach of an era of a cult of a body in our country and anthropocentric statements that the Person is a measure of everything is certainly this so. Look around and you will see everywhere traces of "greatness" of the Person, now I work over the art project devoted to ecology in which I will mention this subject. Experience of one era taken out of context and used in special purposes, – in my opinion, is very slippery and ambiguous slope. For example, antique canons of beauty have been just very demanded and rethought in fascist Germany, singing of physical-corporal norms and destroying everything that to them did not correspond. Leni Rifenshtal’s film "Olympia", a fine sample on this subject is very indicative?

Under masks of stereotypes

– Natasha, and what you think in this regard oh, for example, models with disability?

In my opinion, people with the disability, capable win the fears «I cannot, at me it will not turn out, I am not capable”, not using people around, as a board and a prop or as a means source for life are People from capital letter. It is sure that presence of such people in society – a peculiar guarantor of that at society always remains at least one chance for development. I think that very few people from people who and close did not meet their difficulties when – or it will be possible to learn that they worry every minute that feel. Cheloveynik is present at an art project exposition the character under the name "Udilshchik" is an embodiment of stereotypical perception the Russian society of people with disability, as slovenly beggars whom it is accepted to treat with fastidiousness and humiliating pity.

Under masks of stereotypes

Vladimir Mikhaylutsa, Valeria Rogozha, from Natasha Van Budman’s personal archive

The models leaving on a podium to show an alternative look on fine and into smithereens to break sample representations are that inspires me some years to live further. The paraolympic athletes showing such will to live both to a victory and to belief that possibilities of an organism is illusion is people who inspire me. They are ready to win all fears and to show existence of other reality which, unfortunately, for them does not exist – there are no other conditions normally to exist and receive means for existence not sovreshy every day a feat.

Under masks of stereotypes

– And what do you think of the works, which heroes with physical defects or features?

– Unfortunately, I did not see the Russian works on this subject. Perhaps, such projects also are, but they are not popular at mass media, it is quite difficult to viewer to learn about them and, probably, even to live in a mode of sincere energy saving more quietly. Those actions which I visited, left at me feeling that people with disability and want to exist in tight space with tight cultural, social, material structure. For example, first I very much liked the Bezgraniz Couture program but when I began to learn about what practical value it had for people with disability, it has appeared that everything has terminated at level of beautiful pictures and interesting parties. I am sure that for people with disability is too pleasure and a holiday – to be published, communicate, but it is impossible to forget that it is the project pursuing the aims, first of all, which should make life of people with disability more convenient.

Foreign works on this subject are fine and extremely interesting. For example, Mark Kuinn has created a statue of English disabled artist Alison Lepper (Alison Lapper). Mother has refused it in maternity hospital as Alison had no hands, and feet were shorter than norm three times (late it has become clear that it happened because mother took pills for toxicosis). Alison has grown in a shelter for disabled children.

The sculpture representing it in 2005 has taken a place on one of four pedestals of the Trafalgar Square in London. In 2012 the copy of this sculpture became a symbol of the XIV summer paraolympic Games which have taken place in the capital of Great Britain. I do not know, on what Mark Kuinn in the course of statue creation reflected, but, for example, it is obvious to me that it, undoubtedly, the woman with character and with self-respect, she is a happy mother, she is an artist, she is an author of the book who has sufficed self-irony to call the autobiography the motto of own way: «My life in my hands».

It is possible to note that at many mass foreign films recently there are non-standard characters: or people with disability, or pair of nonconventional sexual orientation. I consider that one of the main signs of advanced society is the tolerance degree to other shape, a way of life, opinion and so on. Very much it is pleasant to me that thanking, including, to such works the audience has a possibility to reflect on alternative reality where there are the people, to not answering stereotypic "norms". I love the country, but extremely painfully to hear and feel every day that is ever less created conditions for peaceful co-existence of the people not similar at each other.

-, Of course, in principle it is interesting to us, what you see the art future?

– If to speak about art within Russia, I expect or the Renaissance – in the country very favourable situation caused by mass of a ban or reconstruction of that degenerate exhibition but already with other works is created.

Photo: Vladimir Mikhayluts, Valery Rogozh, from Natasha Van Budman’s personal archive

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