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We're a team of eight artists, curators and critics with a broader network of art professionals on the post-soviet, post-communist and diasporic spaces. With our ability to grasp, to describe and to invert the sensable, we might be your best collaborator.

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Mission

 

TransitoryWhite is an online platform for the connectivity of intersected discourses of local, regional, and global perspectives on art, design and activism. TransitoryWhite is about contemporary art from the blind spots (“white spots”) from Central Asia, Caucasus and Eastern Europe.
 
Despite the territories heterogeneous cultural, historical and religious diversity, the respective countries share a fundamental experience of a realised utopia, which lasted over more than 70 years. In the turbulent time of the 20th century, the political events taking place were differing from those in Europe, which also resulted in an original set of cultural and aesthetic questions. The uniqueness of these questions was underlined by the particular term “Post-Soviet” which was coined to describe the political, economic and artistic transition from the communist regime to the democratic states. While we don’t deny that the initial generalisation was making sense, we claim for the new discussions and discourses for the art from these regions which are not tied by the restrains of its brand. We would love to show video art, bio art, art on the edge of science, communal projects, feminist initiatives, new media performances and much more on our platform and give the possibility for discovering the transnational connections and influences of the artists from these countries. Apart from that, we aim to translate and to publish the new and old texts written by the local art historians, art theoreticians and curators, which are usually expelled from the contemporary art discourse.
 
Crucial to our investigation of those regions is furthermore, the representation of artists and theoreticians from any ethnic, religious, sexual and even political minorities as an opposition to the accumulating national discourse. We’re dedicated to exploring any transnational networks as well as limits of connection within and on the borders.
 
TransitoryWhite is the White Noise of the post-post-Soviet, a constant disturbance, a random signal, cacophony, turbulence, restlessness, which - contrary to the musical White Noise - is not constant, but is in fluctuation and transition.

Contributors

Alex Ulko

Antonina Stebur

People

Irina Konyukhova

Ira Konyukhova is an artist, writer, curator, feminist activist and the founder of TransitoryWhite. In her practice, she explores the connection between female sexuality, pop-resilience, death as well as colonial technological practices. As an artist, her works have been presented on various international festivals and exhibitions, including DocLisboa, Athens Biennale, Teneriffa Espacio del Arte, Exground Film Festival e.t. Her latest article on the early 2000s Russian lesbian stars T.a.T.u. And their influence on queer politics has been recently published by Pop-Zeitschrift by University Siegen. Ira was a grantee of BS Projects Artist-in-Residence scholarship Programm and lives and works in Berlin.

Lene Vollhardt

Lene Vollhardt-Wongrowska is an artist, filmmaker, triple Gemini, and speculative pragmatist based in Berlin and London. Through various media, her work undermines the classical juxtaposition between conceptuality and corporeality. Fascinated by the cultural signification of the female body as a processing site for transfer of value and valuation, she conceives shapeshifting, liquid counter-processes in alliance with people across various backgrounds – philosophers, human rights activists, intuits, sex workers, economists, and so on.
Vollhardt's interest in the implied aesthetic of political negotiation and its proprietary tactics of performative gaslighting is reflected in her works. She explores this in transposition with the embodiment of herself as an environment and remote viewing the weather. She has exhibited and screened at many institutions: LOOP Barcelona, Vitra Museum Basel with BlessBerlin, Athens Digital Arts Festival, European Days of Culture Karlsruhe, and Toronto Arthouse Film Festival. She has received the scholarship from the German National Foundation and the Art Foundation Baden-Wuerttemberg, and her works have received the Nikolaj Kunsthal Fokus Award (DK) and Hong Kong Arthouse Award (HK).

Pavel Metelitsyn

Pavel Metelitsyn is a software engineer and developer focusing on interactive data presentation, user interfaces and web technologies. He is driven by the idea of making the information more accessible through interactivity and gamification. Working together with creative agencies he implemented interactive multimedia stations for Neues Historisches Museum, Frankfurt/Main, made a kiosk app for a permanent exhibition at Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Frankfurt/Main. Besides that, he works with a wide range of clients from FinTech Startups to national research institutions, helping them to collect, process and present the business information. Pavel holds an M.Sc. in Mathematics.

Willi Reinecke

Willi Reinecke is a film director, writer, and researcher on Lev Vygotsky's Psychology of Art at the Institute for East European Studies (Freie Universität Berlin). He is teaching at Szondi-Institute for Comparative Literature and Institute for East European Studies. He worked as assistant director of the documentary film "Familienleben" which premiered at Berlinale 2018. The film was nominated for German Documentary Film Award and was awarded prizes at Saratov Sufferings Festival (RU) and Neisse Filmfestival (GER). He's currently working on documentary films for Institute of Contemporary Art Yerevan and Deutsche Gesellschaft e.V.

Sascia Reibel

Sascia Reibel is a graphic and product designer. Her focus lays on printed matter, especially books and posters, with a strong dedication for typography. She engages in projects within the field of culture, art, and education. She studies communication design at the University of Art and Design Karlsruhe and has also studied in the design master program of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China. Her work has been honoured with several awards, including «Most Beautiful Swiss Books», «Most Beautiful Books from all over the world», «Bronze Nail, ADC», as well as the «Badge of Typographic Excellence, TDC New York.

Thibaut de Ruyter

Thibaut de Ruyter is a French curator and critic who lives and works in Berlin since 2001. In the last ten years, he has organized exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Bochum, Museum Kunstpalais Düsseldorf, Museum of Applied Arts in Frankfurt, HMKV in Dortmund, EIGEN + ART Lab and CTM in Berlin, Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź and CRP / in Douchy-les -Mines. One of his latest projects is a travelling exhibition co-curated with Inke Arns for the Goethe-Institut: The Frontier that calls into question the dividing line between Asia and Europe in the former Soviet states. Since 2017 this exhibition has been exhibited in St Petersburg, Moscow, Tashkent, Almaty, Krasnoyarsk (u.A.) and will open in Erevan in May 2019. His areas of interest range from new media to spiritualism to "exhibitions that are not exhibitions". Most of his projects are related to everyday, pop or underground culture. He has been the German correspondent for the French magazine artpress since 2003.

Lioudmila Voropai

Lioudmila Voropai is a curator, art critic and media artist. She studied philosophy at the Russian State University for the Humanities (RGGU) in Moscow and New Media Art at the Academy of Media Arts (KHM) in Cologne. Her curatorial and artistic projects are mainly focused on issues related to institutional critique and fake as an artistic strategy. As an art critic, she contributes to XZ Moscow Art Magazine, Art Issue, Logos and other periodicals. She is also a translator and editor of the Russian translations of Jürgen Habermas (Legitimation Crisis), Slavoj Zizek (Parallax View), Giorgio Agamben (State of Exception), Michael Walzer (The Company of Critics) among others. Lioudmila Voropai is an adjunct professor for Media Theory and Philosophy at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design.

Ina Hildebrandt

Ina Hildebrandt is an art historian and cultural journalist. Born in Kazakhstan, she grew up as a so-called Russian-German in the south of Germany. After spending years of total assimilation she developed a strong interest in her cultural roots. Several long travels and stays took her to Easter-Europe over Russia to Central-Asia. Thereby she started to focus more on those regions also as art historian and journalist. She lives and works in Berlin. 

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This document was last updated on March 10, 2019

6th September 2019

It is more important to make films queerly than to make queer films

interview

12th July 2019

When there are no opputurnities, create your own Giardini

article

Asli Samadova

1st July 2019

Juggling Dinosaurs

article

The precariousness of motherhood in arts
Anna Kamay

24th June 2019

Interview with Elene Abashidze

interview

14th June 2019

Unfortunately, we cannot pay for your flight and accommodation

article

Thibaut de Ruyter

28th May 2019

Ich liebe dich!

article

Antonina Stebur

17th May 2019

Interview with Anna Vahrami

interview

23rd April 2019

Artist Portrait: Anastasia Akhvlediani

portrait

13th April 2019

Artist Portrait: Alisa Berger

article

Thibaut de Ruyter

21st March 2019

Faig Ahmed

interview

Interview geführt von Ira Konyukhova und Pavel Metelitsyn

18th March 2019

There Is Sex After Soviet Union!

article

Irina Konyukhova

11th March 2019

Interview mit Samvel Saghatelian

interview

Geführt von Ira Konyukhova

8th March 2019

Artist Portrait: Salome Dumbadze

portrait

4th March 2019

Interview mit Chinara Majidova

interview

Geführt von Ira Konyukhova

26th February 2019

East Wind - Art in the Former Soviet Republics

article

Thibaut de Ruyter
Samvel Saghatelian in seinem Studio, 2018
Foto: Pavel Metelitsyn
Atelier von Samvel Saghatelian, Jerewan, 2018
Foto: Pavel Metelitsyn
Aus der Serie Ghost Phallus 1995-2010
Zeichnung auf dem vorgefundenen Foto
American King in Love, 2013
Acryl auf Holz
Procession (Aus der Serie Ghost Phallus) 1995-2010
Zeichnung auf dem vorgefundenen Foto
Samvel Saghatelian in seinem Studio, 2018
Foto: Pavel Metelitsyn

Wir trafen uns mit dem armenischen Künstler Samvel Saghatelian, der nach 12 Jahren in den USA 2015 zurück in seine Heimatstadt Jerewan zurückkehrte. Seine Zeichnungen, Fotos und Installationen, die eine Herausforderung an Sexismus und Patriarchat darstellen, sind provozierend und oft schockierend. FeministInnen und KünstlerInnen Armeniens sind in Bezug auf seine Arbeit oftmals gespalten: von den einen wird er als unzureichend aktivistisch betrachtet, von anderen wird er gesehen als einer der ersten Künstler des postsowjetischen Armeniens, der wertfrei über die Sexualität  thematisiert. Wir trafen uns in seinem Studio, um über seine Kindheit, die Zeit in Amerika und jahrzehntelange patriarchale Strukturen zu sprechen.

Samvel Saghatelian in seinem Studio, 2018
Foto: Pavel Metelitsyn

TransitoryWhite

Samvel, Sie haben 12 Jahre in Amerika gelebt. Wie hat diese Erfahrung Sie und Ihre Kunst beeinflusst?

Samvel Saghatelian

Ich habe in Los Angeles gelebt. Wir hatten dort eine Galerie. Aber ich wurde in Jerewan geboren und lebte in der Sowjetunion. Die Hälfte meines Lebens verbrachte ich in sowjetischen Zeiten, die andere Hälfte ist postsowjetisch. Die Auflösung der Sowjetunion, die Zeit der Karabach-Bewegung, die Unabhängigkeitsbewegung, fiel mit dem Beginn meiner kreativen Biografie zusammen.

TransitoryWhite

Wie alt waren Sie zu dieser Zeit?

Samvel Saghatelian

Es war das 1988/89, das heißt, ich war etwa 30 Jahre alt. Ich habe schon immer gemalt, habe aber Fakultät für Architektur abgeschlossen. Ich erinnere mich sehr gut, wie alles begann. Mom nahm mich mit in ein öffentliches Bad und es gab dort viele nackte weibliche Figuren, was für mich wirklich inspirierend war.

TransitoryWhite

Laut Freud erwacht die bewusste Sexualität sowohl bei Frauen als auch bei Männern im Alter von etwa fünf oder sechs Jahren.

Samvel Saghatelian

Ja, für mich ist das offensichtlich. Danach kam ich nach Hause und fing an, an den Wänden in der Wohnung die Frauen zu zeichnen.

Atelier von Samvel Saghatelian, Jerewan, 2018
Foto: Pavel Metelitsyn

TransitoryWhite

Waren in Ihrer Familie andere Künstler?

Samvel Saghatelian

Nein, eine Künstlerfamilie war es nicht, aber die Familie war kreativ. Mein Vater sang wunderschön, er war eine berühmte Person in der Stadt. Und mein Großvater sang bei Komitas in dem Chor. Oft kamen sehr berühmte Leute zu unserer Familie zu Besuch. In unserer Familie hörte man zum Beispiel nie ein Rabis an. Rabis ist ein Musikgenre, dessen Name von der Abkürzung von zwei Wörtern stammt: “RAbochee ISkusstvo” (Arbeiter-Kunst). Dies ist eine Synthese der von billiger und kitschiger Musik, aber es ist sehr interessant, weil es urbane Kultur repräsentiert. Es ist gleichzeitig mit der männlichen Macho-Kult verbunden. Man kann sagen, dass die Rabis unser Chanson ist.

TransitoryWhite

Ist das ein Jerewan-Phänomen?

Samvel Saghatelian

Ja, das kann man sagen. Es war eine Art Subkultur. Und ich war darin sehr interessiert, weil ich mich sowohl für die “niedrige Kultur” als auch für die sogenannte "Hochkultur" interessierte.

TransitoryWhite

Das waren also proletarische Lieder?

Samvel Saghatelian

Ich habe nicht von proletarischer, sondern von Straßenkultur gesprochen.

TransitoryWhite

Und sie thematisieren Erotik?

Samvel Saghatelian

Es gibt dort keine Erotik. Ich würde unsere armenische Gesellschaft als eine von Männern dominierte Gesellschaft betrachten, aber darunter liegt etwas wie ein Fluss, etwas sehr Empfindliches, sehr Subtiles. Ich würde sagen, wenn wir uns in weibliche und männliche Manifestationen aufteilen, dann ist weibliche Manifestation die Zärtlichkeit, die Feinheit. Dies war für Männer eine Gefahr: den männlich dominanten Zustand zu verlieren.

TransitoryWhite

Wann war dies eine Gefahr?

Samvel Saghatelian

Dies ist immer noch in der armenischen Kultur. Männer dürfen keine Raffinesse zeigen. Aber ich habe es in Rabis Liedern gefunden. Wenn Sie auf die Texte achten, ist das unterwürfig. Es ist eine billige Lyrik, die keinen künstlerischen Wert besitzt; aber plötzlich sieht man dort diese Zärtlichkeit, unerreichbare Liebe und Verletzlichkeit.

TransitoryWhite

Das ist sehr interessant. Als ich gestern alleine in einem Taxi durch Jerewan fuhr, gab es Rapmusik auf Russisch. Und die Sänger rezitieren Folgendes: Welche schönen Augen hat das Mädchen, wie gerne er die ganze Nacht und den ganzen Morgen mit ihm verbringen möchte, warum es so unzugänglich ist usw. Also es ging um das Leiden eines Mannes. Im allgemeinen ist Rap eine ziemlich aggressive Musik für harte Jungs, die scheinbar keine Gefühle haben. Aber die russische und vielleicht auch postsowjetische Manifestation dieses Genres, die momentan eine Renaissance erlebt, drückt sich gerade in der brutalen Zärtlichkeit und Verletzlichkeit aus.

Samvel Saghatelian

Ja, und das war für mich sehr interessant: Einerseits manifestierte sich ein männlicher, dominierender Zustand in der Gesellschaft. Eine Frau sollte sanft sein. Tatsächlich beruhte unsere armenische Gesellschaft auf der Überlebensmentalität, die für viele Jahrzehnte sehr wichtig war, weil wir vor sechs Jahrhunderten unsere Unabhängigkeit verloren hatten. Und alles war darauf ausgerichtet, die Kultur zu erhalten, die Familie - um jeden Preis. Und in dieser Hinsicht stellten Sex und Sexualität, insbesondere weibliche Sexualität (nicht so viel männliche Sexualität) in irgendeiner Weise eine Gefahr dar.

Aus der Serie Ghost Phallus 1995-2010
Zeichnung auf dem vorgefundenen Foto

TransitoryWhite

Ja, weibliche Sexualität wurde vom Staat viel stärker reguliert als männliche.

Samvel Saghatelian

Und auch heute ist es so! Ich führe dieses Gespräch zur sexuellen Revolution. Wir brauchen nur eine Revolution - die sexuelle. Insbesondere für die armenische Gesellschaft führen alle Wege politischer Veränderungen zum Sex. Ich versuche den Menschen zu erklären, dass dies nicht nur für den Sex selbst gilt. Dies ist ein systemisches Problem. Weil unser politisches System immer noch ein vertikales Pyramiden-System ist, und dies ist ein von Männern dominiertes System. Meine Idee ist es, dieses System zu zerstören oder sogar: das weibliche Prinzip der Kontrolle einzuführen, das auf Teilen basiert. Die männliche Dominanz kontrolliert also. Die weibliche teilt. Wenn du diese Dinge kombinierst, wird das die sexuelle Revolution sein.

American King in Love, 2013
Acryl auf Holz

TransitoryWhite

Die sexuelle Revolution fand in Europa 1968 statt, in der Sowjetunion und aber auch in Europa wurden die Voraussetzungen dafür bereits in den 20er Jahren des 20. Jahrhunderts geschaffen. Zu Stalins Zeiten kehrten jedoch alle patriarchalen Strukturen an ihren Platz zurück. Der kommunistische Staat hat in den zwanziger Jahren die sexuelle Emanzipation gefördert, da man glaubte, dass nur befreite Menschen echten Kommunismus und Gleichheit aufbauen könnten. Viele sowjetische Kulturschaffende gehörten in dieser Zeit zum Beispiel zu schwulen und lesbischen Kreisen in Paris. Unglücklicherweise wurde diese Kultur mit der Untergang der Avantgarde aufgegeben, etwa 1933. Nach dem Zusammenbruch der Sowjetunion gab es einen zweiten Versuch der sexuellen Emanzipation. Vor allem im Zusammenhang mit dem Kapitalismus gab es eine sehr starke Änderung der Gender-Begriffe. So ging die sexuelle Freiheit mit der Objektivierung und dem Verkauf des weiblichen Körpers einher. Gab es auch in Armenien eine ähnliche Entwicklung?

Samvel Saghatelian

Ja, es gab starke Änderung der Begriffe in Armenien nach dem Zusammenbruch der Sowjetunion. Daher hat der Zusammenbruch der Sowjetunion das armenische Überlebenssystem verändert. Wie ich schon gesagt habe, hatten wir keinen Staat. Der Staat von Dashnaktsutyun, der nach dem Völkermord entstanden war, hat etwa zwei Jahre überlebt. Es entstand die erste armenische Republik. Davor hatten wir etwa fünf Jahrhunderte lang keinen eigenen Staat gehabt: Armenien stand erstmal unter dem Joch der Perser, dann der Türken (Osmanisches Reich), dann kam das russische Reich. Wir hatten keine Unabhängigkeit. Und wir haben eine Mentalität, die meiner Meinung nach als Überlebensmentalität bezeichnet werden kann. Und die Familie war am wichtigsten. Die Familie ruhte auf einem Mann von außen, und von innen - auf einer Frau, Mutter. Nach dem Zusammenbruch der Sowjetunion kamen neue Ideen und es stellte sich heraus, dass Frauen unter den neuen wirtschaftlichen Bedingungen besser überleben können, leichter eine Arbeit finden können. Viele Männer verloren ihren Job, vor allem einfache Arbeiter. Die Rolle der Frau wurde zu dieser Zeit bedeutender und es fand eine Art Emanzipation statt.

Im Allgemeinen scheint es mir jetzt überall, dass unsere Welt immer noch eine patriarchale Pyramide ist. Wenn wir zum Beispiel USA betrachten, ist es ein demokratisches System. Aber es basiert immer noch auf der männlichen Herrschaft, es ist ein vertikales System, selbst wenn es eine Frau ist, die sich oben an der Spitze des Systems befindet. Dasselbe gilt für Armenien: selbst wenn Sie eine Frau mit einer Struktur beauftragen, basiert die Struktur immer noch auf dem vertikalen Prinzip der Macht.

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Sie haben sich in Ihren Arbeiten auch mehrmals mit der Verknüpfung von Architektur und Sexualität auseinandergesetzt. Die berühmte Serie “Ghost Phallus” ist die bekannteste, aber sie haben auch eigenartige monströse Architekturmodelle gezeichnet. Können sie uns darüber etwas mehr erzählen?

Samvel Saghatelian

Wir hatten einmal eine Ausstellung im Byurakan-Observatorium. Die Ausstellung wurde den außerirdischen Lebensformen gewidmet. Ich fand heraus, dass 1970 eine große internationale Konferenz zu diesem Thema in Byuroban stattfand. Als ich dort ankam, hatte ich das Gefühl, dass im Byurakan-Observatorium schon längst Außerirdische gelebt haben. Das sind Leute aus der Sowjetunion. Dort hat sich nichts geändert. Typische sowjetische Wissenschaftler und Arbeiter. Es war sehr interessant.

Procession (Aus der Serie Ghost Phallus) 1995-2010
Zeichnung auf dem vorgefundenen Foto

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Kann man sagen, dass sie in einer Zeit wie eingefroren sind?

Samvel Saghatelian

Ja. Deswegen ging es im ersten Teil der Arbeit um Kommunikation. Ein Mensch als Träger von Ideen und Kommunikation. Und der andere Teil befasste sich mit Löchern. Loch als einzige Möglichkeit der universellen Kommunikation. Ich nahm den menschlichen Körper, der eine Struktur ist, die aufgrund von neun Löchern funktioniert. Und ich habe eine Fotoserie zu diesem Thema gemacht. Dazu habe ich ein Objekt gemacht. Wir haben einen vorchristlichen Ritualplatz namens Karaunch. Es wird davon ausgegangen, dass es dort ein Observatorium gab. Es sind Steine ​​um ein Loch herum platziert. Hier, durch dieses Loch, wird angenommen, dass die Leute die Sterne angesehen haben. Ich habe diesen Entwurf in einer modernen Form gemacht. Für mich war es wie ein menschliches Konzept. Der Mensch ist ein Loch. Der Mensch ist die Idee der Kommunikation. Und daher sind meine Ideen für neue Arten von Observatorien entstanden. Architekturprojekte einer möglichen Realitätstransformation.

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In einigen Architekturskizzen gibt es eine Mischung aus männlichen und weiblichen Körperformen. Sollen aus den Löchern die Raumschiffe fliegen? Sind das also Kosmodrome?

Samvel Saghatelian

Ja, genau. Wissen Sie, immer wenn ich mit einer Ausstellung nach Jerewan kam, wurde meine Arbeit als provokativ empfunden. Sie wollten mich sogar aus Armenien ausweisen, und in den Artikeln wurde geschrieben, dass ich ein amerikanischer Agent sei, der unsere armenische Werte untergrabe. 2012 habe ich eine Ausstellung mit dem Namen Transromance gemacht. Diese Serie entstand, nachdem ich die Dualität der Geschlechter hinterfragt habe. Diese Ausstellung hat ziemlich viel Lärm gemacht, ich arrangierte sie in einer Wohnung meiner Bekannten, weil sich niemand bereit erklärte, die Arbeiten auszustellen. Es wurde immer wieder gesagt, dass sie pornografisch seien.

Samvel Saghatelian in seinem Studio, 2018
Foto: Pavel Metelitsyn

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Samvel, wir danken Ihnen für ein spannendes Gespräch und freuen uns auf die neue Arbeiten von Ihnen!

 

 

Redakteur*innen: Lene Vollhardt, Willi Reinecke

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