Ala Savashevich

Sew on your own

Exhibition: “When The Sun Is Low – The Shadows Are Long“ 
june - september, 2022
GfZK-Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig, Germany
Curator: Anna Karpenko
Text: Anna Karpenko
Photo: Brigita Kasperaite

Aprons (white for festive occasions, black for everyday use) were a permanent feature of Soviet school uniform. Made from a standard pattern, they had a special function: to symbolise cleanliness and diligence. The formal starched, white version was designed to emphasise the compliance and helpfulness of the schoolgirls who wore it. Their skin, which was irritated by the rough fabric, was kept out of sight. The idea was that a perfect form results in obedient bodies and subjects.

Ala Savashevich is interested in both the protective function of clothing and its role as an instrument of oppression. The apron, made by hand from thousands of braided metal parts, stands for the overwhelming burden of the “image of femininity” ascribed by society. However, it is also a symbol of resistance against the violent, patriarchal “normality” that prevails in many places in social institutions such as the family or school.