Opening the Door? Belarusian Art Today

24.05 – 21.08.2011 Opening the Door? Belarusian Art Today

Zachęta National Gallery of Art

artists: Anna Chkolnikova, Lena Davidovich, Oxana Gourinovitch, Artur Klinau, Aleksander Komarov, Alexander Korablev, Aleksej Lunev, Marina Naprushkina, Igor Peshehonov, Positive Actions, Igor Savchenko, Sergey Shabohin, Aleksei Shinkarenko, Philippe Tschmyr ir Belarusian Climate, Vladimir Tsesler ir Sergey Voichenko, Maxim Tyminko, Ruslan Vashkevich, Oleg Yushko
curator: Kęstutis Kuizinas
co-operation on the part of Zachęta: Anna Tomczak

This exhibition is one of the largest presentation of Belarusian contemporary artists in Warsaw to date. Despite the fact that Belarus is a neighboring country to Poland (as well as to Lithuania – a country where this project was originally presented in 2010), trade and cultural exchange between Poland and Belarus in the last twenty years has been slow, due to the current political situation in Belarus and exceptionally pro-western orientation of goals and perspectives of Poland (the same is true speaking of exchange between Belarus and Lithuania).

Presumably, the official cultural policy of Belarus is not in favour of the development of contemporary art; this could be the reason why artists have difficulties in starting a productive discussion with viewers and critics and becoming part of a broader international art scene. The sociopolitical reality of Belarus also enforces certain limitations and taboos on the local artists and this often results in the use of a rather metaphorical contemporary art language. Despite this, the Belarusian contemporary art community is quite active and searches for ways to realize their creative ambitions and present them in Belarus and other countries.

Opening the Door? Belarusian Art Today presents both artists living and working in Belarus as well as those residing abroad. It is not the first time that both halves of a disconnected art scene are being presented in a united project, but significantly it is being held in the closest proximity to its country of origin. Most of the Belarusian artists living in the West keep in touch with their families and make regular visits home, but seldom have they an opportunity to present their work in Minsk (or Belarus, generally). In this context the Warsaw project, similarly to its first presentation in Vilnius, located in a city within the European Union where Belarusian people can travel with relative ease, becomes a point of meeting, a place of special reunion in a neutral neighborhood territory. It has been proved by an impressive number of visitors in Vilnius’ exhibition as well as the exceptional attention to this show by Belarusian press, which has resulted in active discussions on the identity of Belarusian contemporary art and its’ present situation in the international art scene.

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.

Opening the Door? Belarusian Art Today is accompanied by a catalogue in English, Russian and Lithuanian with an insert of translated texts into Polish and a series of public events at which Belarusian artists and researchers will present on the broader context of Belarusian contemporary art and culture.

Related events
  • Grafika wydarzenia:
    22.05.2011 (Sun) 00:00
    Zachęta – National Gallery of ArtZachęta
  • Grafika wydarzenia:
    26.05.2011 (Thu) 18:00
    Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)
  • Grafika wydarzenia:
    31.05.2011 (Tue) 18:00
    Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)
  • Grafika wydarzenia:
    01.06.2011 (Wed) 17:00
    Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)
  • Grafika wydarzenia:
    02.06.2011 (Thu) 18:00
    Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)
  • Grafika wydarzenia: Cultural and Civic Activism: New Media and Civil Society Sector in Belarus
    07.06.2011 (Tue) 18:00
    Cultural and Civic Activism: New Media and Civil Society Sector in Belarus
    Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)
  • Grafika wydarzenia: Belarusian Design: A Battle with Stereotypes
    14.06.2011 (Tue) 18:00
    Belarusian Design: A Battle with Stereotypes
    Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)
  • Grafika wydarzenia:
    17.06.2011 (Fri) 12:15
    Zachęta – National Gallery of ArtZachęta
  • Grafika wydarzenia: Becoming Urban or Getting Bogged Down?
    27.06.2011 (Mon) 18:00
    Becoming Urban or Getting Bogged Down?
    Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)
  • Grafika wydarzenia: Belarus Today
    29.06.2011 (Wed) 18:00
    Belarus Today
    Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)
  • Grafika wydarzenia: film screening and discussion
    04.07.2011 (Mon) 18:00
    film screening and discussion
    Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)
  • Grafika wydarzenia: belarussian film summer
    07.07.2011 (Thu) 18:00
    belarussian film summer
    Zachęta / workshop room (entrance through the main hall)Zachęta / workshop room (entrance through the main hall)
  • Grafika wydarzenia:
    14.07.2011 (Thu) 18:00
    Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)
  • Grafika wydarzenia:
    21.07.2011 (Thu) 18:00
    Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)
  • Grafika wydarzenia: concert
    22.07.2011 (Fri) 18:00
    concert
    Zachęta – National Gallery of ArtZachęta
  • Grafika wydarzenia:
    28.07.2011 (Thu) 18:00
    Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)
  • Grafika wydarzenia:
    04.08.2011 (Thu) 18:00
    Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)
  • Grafika wydarzenia: Keeping the Door Open?
    21.08.2011 (Sun) 00:00
    Keeping the Door Open?
    finissage of the exhibition
    Zachęta – National Gallery of ArtZachęta
Related media
  • mediateka / audio
  • mediateka / audio
    What about Belarus?
    A discussion
  • Grafika obiektu: Opening the Door? Belarusian Art Today
    mediateka / folders / Texts
    Opening the Door? Belarusian Art Today
    Folder accompanying the exhibition
  • Grafika obiektu: Opening the Door? Belarusian Art Today
    mediateka / posters
    Opening the Door? Belarusian Art Today
  • Grafika obiektu: Opening the Door?
    mediateka / video-documentation
    Opening the Door?
    Belarusian Art Today

Information

Opening the Door?
Belarusian Art Today
24.05 – 21.08.2011

Zachęta National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
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exhibition produced by: CAC, Vilnius
exhibition in Warsaw organized by: Zachęta National Gallery of Art
production of the exhibition in Vilnius supported by: Lithuanian Ministry of Culture, Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)
sponsors of the gallery: PERI, Lidex, Netia
sponsors of the opening ceremony: DeLonghi, Kenwood, Blikle, Ash Tree Estate
media patronage: Gazeta Wyborcza, TOK FM, The Warsaw Voice, Stolica, Art & Business, artinfo.pl