Ala Savashevich


Exhibition: “Naked Nerve“
may – september, 2021
BWA Wrocław Głowny Gallery, Poland
The Master’s Studio: Joanna Rajkowska
Curator: Anna Mituś
Text: Anna Mituś
Photo: Alicja Kielan courtesy of Museum

"Politics has no heart. It has only a head" - the words, attributed to Napoleon, sound funnily literal in describing the form obsessively followed by Ala Savashevich in her latest sculptural project. The work, created within the framework of Naked Nerve, is an attempt to reconstruct the key element of a political "body". In this way, the artist refers to her earlier work, meant to cope with the post-Soviet symbolic and material heritage. She first explored the theme in 2017, with a sculpture she evocatively entitled Ghost (2017). The starting points for the creation of the sculpture are the symbolic decapitations of monuments, recurrent in news reports from various periods in history andifferent parts of the world: "Legnica. The bust of Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky disappeared from the lapidarium in late July. The police found it in the field – headless. The perpetrators were detained"; "Lenin lost his head near Orenburg"; "Why was Christopher Columbus decapitated?". The concept of her new work further explores the mystery of the missing head and the atavistic power of the image. At the same time, the choice of such an "antihero", soft material, associated with the feminine (sewing) is an act of provocation. She humorously "retaliates" against centuries of great history written in heroic biographies, overshadowing the quiet, "cheap" work of subordinated, marginal perspectives. The over four-metre tall male figure is made of felt, hiding a steel frame underneath. Despite the evident spectrality of the figure - perversely evoking the beginning of the Communist Manifesto ("A spectre is haunting Europe") - every time the work was presented, the artist had to answer questions: "Who is this hero?", "Why is he headless?" and "What happened to the head?" That is why, explaining the reasons for her choice of the topic, Ala Savashevich writes to Joanna Rajkowska: "In order to say goodbye to the past that we view with distaste, we part with its visual component first. Why does the farewell begin with a symbolic execution, beheading of an already "dead" body? Perhaps this act separates us completely from the inconvenient memories and history which is difficult to accept? And the remaining torso represents an empty space, ready to be recast by forming a new hero? Is it erasing or updating history? We are currently living again in the period of great changes, deformations which have a powerful effect on the way we perceive both the past and the future. Everything that is happening incessantly influences their final shape.