Antonina Stebur made a presentation in the Intellectual Club “Women in Philosophy”
A public lecture “Feminist Discourse in Belarusian Contemporary Art” was held as part of the meeting of the Intellectual Club “Women in Philosophy” on July 11. The lecturer Antonina Stebur is Master of sociology, curator and researcher, author of publications on contemporary art. Among her projects, there are the following: exhibition of Belarusian contemporary art “Zabor” in the National art museum of Belarus; charitable exhibition project “Imena”; exhibition projects “Kondensat” and “Karantin”. The lecture was visited by researchers, university professors, artists, representatives of the art community and civil society.
The reporter noted that the world’s artistic community has long been familiar with the concept of feminist art. In the 60’s-70’s of the last century, art-feminism was the direction, the supporters of which claim the right of women to be recognized and inscribed in the world history of culture. The group WAR (Women Artists in Revolution) was the beginner. They supported equal representation of women and men in the art environment. However, despite the long time of existence of feminist art, Belarusian artistic space is not fully included in this discourse. In some cases, one can speak about a conscious distancing from feminism or its ignoring even from the point of view of research interest. Nevertheless, A. Stebur underlined that the representatives of the art community in one way or another affect gender issues in their works, study patriarchal patterns rooted in the collective consciousness and manifested in individual experience. Among authors of such works one can note the following: Zh. Gladko, A. Slobodchikova, S. Shabokhina, M. Svyatogor and others. The beginning of discussion about feminist practices in the Belarusian art space can be the round table “Is Feminist Art Possible in Belarus?” (2012), during which there were discussed the issues of specifics of the media discourse, which describes the art of women, exclusion of Belarusian female artists from the history of art, existence of a symbolic space for feminist art in Belarus.
According to A. Stebur, it is impossible to single out a systematic, consistent, conceptual approach in their works. However, there is a desire to analyze power practices, patterns and matrices of perception of one’s identity, patterns of behavior and social constructs that make the base of Belarusian society. The strategies used by artists are very diverse. Their visual language has undergone many transformations. It “grows” from the social reality, into which they themselves are immersed. For example, A. Slobodchikova’s works are characterized by “poor” aesthetic manner using available materials, which lets the author to reflect the features of everyday experience of women. The series “Yano tut” (2010) aims to study how the media image of a woman is constructed, how she is transferred from the subject to the object and source of pleasure.
Summing up, the lecturer underlined that there are many examples of how the art, interacting with the environment and communities, transforms them and qualitatively transforms itself, being enriched with new artistic practices, mastering new linguistic means. In this interaction, we have the opportunity to address our personal and our joint experience of living, open the boundaries of perception and expand the research horizons. In the field of Belarusian contemporary art, there are many issues and tasks both in the art environment and in the content produced by it. They are not yet uncovered; their depth is yet to be brought to the surface. It seems that such work should have a systemic nature and acquire a conceptual framework.