Ala Savashevich

The rite of spring

Exhibition: “Renewal“
october - november, 2020-2022
BWA Zielona Góra, Poland
Curators: Marta Gendera, Joanna Sokołowska, Bartek Lis
video 3'25''
Text: Joanna Sokolowska

Photo: Alicja Kielan

The inspiration for the artist’s on-camera performance came from the famous ballet by Igor Stravinsky, choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky and performed by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, staged for the first time in 1913. Its content was the pagan rites in Rus related to the cult of the Earth. These rituals linked human life with the cyclical process of death and rebirth in nature. Their element was the sacrifice of a virgin who was forced to dance to death in order to awaken the Earth from hibernation. Dressed in a hand-made felt uniform, the artist recreated the death dance of the victim in accordance with the ballet choreography. The premiere of Savashevich’s song took place online on 9 May 2020 during the Covid epidemic. The date was chosen by the artist in response to the Victory Day (over the Third Reich in World War II) celebrated in Belarus at that time. President of the Republic of Belarus, who was denying the pandemic threat, ordered a great parade of veterans in Minsk. To achieve his own propaganda goals, he put veterans at mortal risk, sacrificing them, as it were, to his regime. And the generation, accustomed to obedience, succumbed to the learned patterns of social choreography. Savashevich’s Rite of Spring introduces a seed of change to it by breaking a single human body out of line, bringing out its fragility and mismatch with the uniform.