Ala Savashevich

When edges jab harder

Solo exhibition: september - october, 2022
Goyki 3 Art Inkubator, Sopot, Poland
Curator: Kasia Sobczak
Text: Kasia Sobczak
Co-author of the flag installation: Bartek Buczek 

Photo: Daria Szczygieł 

The exhibition "When edges jab harder'' refers to the cultural themes and the current situation in Belarus, to which the artist often returns in her work. The contemplation and commentary on reality with simultaneous strong references to personal stories is a recurring motif in Savashevich's works. In the exhibition, the narrative is carried out in two directions. On the one hand, the artist explores romantic and historical elements in the culture, while on the other hand, she looks at the nationalist-socialist present. In this context, Savashevich considers the relationship between the social body and the private body. In her works, we often see bodies that are subjected to oppression and placed in uncomfortable situations. The artist places them on one side in forms that are commonly known, such as high-heeled shoes, festive clothing and a uniform. On the other side, add to them elements that arouse a kind of anxiety and provoke reflection. Importantly, the bodies used and discussed by the artist are always female bodies.

In the work located in the center of the fireplace room, the artist looks at the forms of submission accepted in society as mechanisms that regulate the female body and its meaning. The body will always fit into a certain form, the question is how it can stop being subordinated to it and find room for regeneration and movement. In this work, the title edge is most evident - visually and metaphorically. The uniform presented in the exhibition is an improved and feminized version of the uniform used during parades by high-ranking officers of the Belarusian army. On either side of the silhouette are sculptures alluding to monumental fires, made of plush fur.

In the second room, the main work is an installation consisting of a wooden structure with flags, which by its form refers to the decoration of spaces during mass state ceremonies in Belarus. This form has stayed in the artist's memory as a symbol of the punctuated occupation of public space. The characteristic of Savashevich is the use of felt materials, which are traditionally associated with women's handiwork. Felt is one of the materials the artist often uses to create custom shapes and patterns, including large-format objects.

The visual recognition of the forms and the stories the exhibition conveys can be related to many places in the world, not just Belarus. The universality of the message of Ala Savashevich's work is one of its main features so that everyone can relate to it.