Belarusian Design: A Battle with Stereotypes

Zachęta / cinema room (entrance from Burschego street)
free entry

Belarusian Design: A Battle with Stereotypes – Alla Pigalskaya

Design in Belarus is a very curious phenomenon. In order to characterize this situation, perhaps it is best to start with an old joke:  ‘There is an old story about a worker suspected of stealing. Every evening as he leaves the factory, the wheelbarrow that he rolls in front of him is carefully inspected.  The guards can find nothing.  It is always empty.  Finally, the penny drops: what the worker is stealing is the wheelbarrows themselves.’ (Slavoj Zizek, Violence: Six Sideways Reflections, Picador, 2008, p. 1)
This anecdote is symptomatic of the way in which the objects usually presented at design exhibitions (Design-Format or Design-Exchange), products of folk crafts or exclusive objects for luxury interiors, can scarcely be qualified as design. At the same time, however, those who really shape the visual environment of the Belarusian population, those who produce the design products which on a mass scale are emitted and consumed by Belarusians, are never shown at exhibitions, festivals or competitions of design. For example, the authors of the most widely distributed Za Belarus (For Belarus) projects remain anonymous for the wider public and never figure in design competition programmes. Using Michel de Certeau’s concepts of strategies and tactics, an attempt will be made in this lecture to analyze the situation of the unwillingness of the Belarusian design community to accept mass-produced and consumed products.

Alla Pigalskaya – head of the BA Programme in Media and Visual Design at the European Humanities University, where she oversees and lectures in an innovative design programme. Author of an extensive number of articles on visual culture, gender studies and design, and creator of a wide range of design projects for books, calendars and multi-media projects; her Ph.D. explores the history of the museum. 

multimedia room
entrance from Burschego Street
free entrance

event accompanying the exhibition
  • 24.05 – 21.08.2011
    Opening the Door?
    Belarusian Art Today

    This exhibition attempts to provide Belarusians with a possibility to look at their art from the outsider’s perspective, without common taboos. Most of the works in the project, in one or another way, reflect upon Belarusian society and its concerns today, but only a few dare to openly express things that ‘we don’t talk about’. Potentially the project can open new channels of communication for Belarus’ comparatively isolated and internationally unknown art scene. In other words, the successful realization of it can leave the door slightly ajar.

    Zachęta National Gallery of ArtZachęta
Upcoming events
  • 01.04 (Sat) 18:00
    Finissage of the exhibition (In Polish)
    Monika Chlebek. Close up
    Zachęta Project RoomZPR
  • 02.04 (Sun) 12:15
    Spring Never Comes Again… CHILDREN & ART IN THE 20TH & 21ST CENTURIES
    (guided tour in Polish)
    Zachęta – National Gallery of ArtZachęta
  • 02.04 (Sun) 13:15
    Sunday guided tours
    (in Polish)
    Zachęta – National Gallery of ArtZachęta
  • 06.04 (Thu) 18:30
    Stasys Eidrigevičius !Reactions
    (in Polish)
    Zachęta | Cinema Room - entrance from the ticket officeZachęta | Cinema Room - entrance from the ticket office