Ala Savashevich

(b. 1989, lives in Wrocław) studied sculpture at the Belarusian State Academy of Art in Minsk and the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław; she is currently studying for a DFA at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. She creates sculptures, installations and video works, often in the form of camera performances. In her practice, Savashevich takes up the topics of collective memory and identity formation, in particular, gender roles in social systems with the experience of authoritarian rule. Touching traumatic events from the past, with the help of art, she looks for ways to process them and expand the field of individual freedom.

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 Alexander Lukashenko, who was denying the pandemic threat, ordered a great parade of veterans in Minsk. To achieve his own propaganda goals, he put veterans and 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.

The Rite of Spring, 2020/2022, video, courtesy of the artist
Photo: Alicja Kielan


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