Submit your contribution
If you're interested in working with us or have written a text on a related subject, or had an interview with an artist you think might be a discovery for us, you can send it to us for a publication review.
Submit your inquieries
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.

How to contact us




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.


Victoria Kravtsova

Ira Konyukhova

Thibaut de Ruyter

Asli Samadova

Antonina Stebur

Alex Ulko

Katharina Wiedlack


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. 

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.

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.

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.

Kundry Reif

Kundry Reif grew up in Vienna, Austria. Whilst studying cultural studies at university in Berlin she started to work in art collectives and galleries. Last year she went to work at the Goethe Institute in Tashkent, Uzbekistan for a year. Having never heard a lot about Central Asia before, this year abroad sparked her interest. Being back now, she misses Central Asian Kurt, and has decided that her favorite museum of all times is the Sawitsky Museum in Nukus, Uzbekistan. 

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.

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.

Alexandra Vetter

Alexandra Vetter is a film maker currently based in Berlin. In 2010, she achieved a Master Degree in theatre, film and media studies at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. She then specialized in creating documentary films and shorts, filming in Germany, the UK, Russia, Italy and Ireland. During her stay in Dublin from 2013-2019, she was co-organiser of an independent film group Dublin Filmmakers Collective, where she regularly held film-making events, workshops as well as film screenings. Her works have been screened at several film festivals including REFLECTA – Rethink Your World, Frankensteiner Film Festival, Open Film Festival Weiterstadt, International Theatre Festival Frankfurt am Main "Sommerwerft" and Underground Cinema Film Festival in Dublin. Her video works were shown at the Historische Museum Frankfurt, at the World Cultural Museum and the exhibition hall 1A in Frankfurt. More recently she has been exploring the topic of age and ageing.

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.


This disclaimer ("Disclaimer", "Agreement") is an agreement between Website Operator ("Website Operator", "us", "we" or "our") and you ("User", "you" or "your"). This Disclaimer sets forth the general guidelines, terms and conditions of your use of the website and any of its products or services (collectively, "Website" or "Services").


Any views or opinions represented in this Website belong solely to the Content creators and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the Website Operator or creators may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.

Content and postings

You may print a copy of any part of this Website for your personal or non-commercial use.

Indemnification and warranties

While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained on the Website is correct, Website Operator is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. All information on the Website is provided "as is", with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results obtained from the use of this information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied. In no event will Website Operator, or its partners, employees or agents, be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information on the Website or for any consequential, special or similar damages, even if advised of the possibility of such damages. Furthermore, information contained on the Website and any pages linked to from it are subject to change at any time and without warning.

We reserve the right to modify this Disclaimer at any time, effective upon posting of an updated version of this Disclaimer on the Website. When we do we will revise the updated date at the bottom of this page. Continued use of the Website after any such changes shall constitute your consent to such changes. Policy was created with

Acceptance of this disclaimer

You acknowledge that you have read this Disclaimer and agree to all its terms and conditions. By accessing the Website you agree to be bound by this Disclaimer. If you do not agree to abide by the terms of this Disclaimer, you are not authorized to use or access the Website.

Contacting us

If you have any questions about this Disclaimer, please contact us.

This document was last updated on March 10, 2019

Privacy policy

This privacy policy ("Policy") describes how Website Operator ("Website Operator", "we", "us" or "our") collects, protects and uses the personally identifiable information ("Personal Information") you ("User", "you" or "your") may provide on the website and any of its products or services (collectively, "Website" or "Services"). It also describes the choices available to you regarding our use of your Personal Information and how you can access and update this information. This Policy does not apply to the practices of companies that we do not own or control, or to individuals that we do not employ or manage.

Collection of personal information

We receive and store any information you knowingly provide to us when you fill any online forms on the Website. You can choose not to provide us with certain information, but then you may not be able to take advantage of some of the Website's features. Users who are uncertain about what information is mandatory are welcome to contact us.

Collection of non-personal information

When you visit the Website our servers automatically record information that your browser sends. This data may include information such as your device's IP address, browser type and version, operating system type and version, language preferences or the webpage you were visiting before you came to our Website, pages of our Website that you visit, the time spent on those pages, information you search for on our Website, access times and dates, and other statistics.

Use and processing of collected information

Any of the information we collect from you may be used to personalize your experience; send notification emails such as password reminders, updates, etc; run and operate our Website and Services. Non-Personal Information collected is used only to identify potential cases of abuse and establish statistical information regarding Website usage. This statistical information is not otherwise aggregated in such a way that would identify any particular user of the system.

We may process Personal Information related to you if one of the following applies: (i) You have given their consent for one or more specific purposes. Note that under some legislations we may be allowed to process information until you object to such processing (by opting out), without having to rely on consent or any other of the following legal bases below. This, however, does not apply, whenever the processing of Personal Information is subject to European data protection law; (ii) Provision of information is necessary for the performance of an agreement with you and/or for any pre-contractual obligations thereof; (ii) Processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which you are subject; (iv) Processing is related to a task that is carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in us; (v) Processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by us or by a third party. In any case, we will be happy to clarify the specific legal basis that applies to the processing, and in particular whether the provision of Personal Data is a statutory or contractual requirement, or a requirement necessary to enter into a contract.

Information transfer and storage

Depending on your location, data transfers may involve transferring and storing your information in a country other than your own. You are entitled to learn about the legal basis of information transfers to a country outside the European Union or to any international organization governed by public international law or set up by two or more countries, such as the UN, and about the security measures taken by us to safeguard your information. If any such transfer takes place, you can find out more by checking the relevant sections of this document or inquire with us using the information provided in the contact section.

The rights of users

You may exercise certain rights regarding your information processed by us. In particular, you have the right to do the following: (i) you have the right to withdraw consent where you have previously given your consent to the processing of your information; (ii) you have the right to object to the processing of your information if the processing is carried out on a legal basis other than consent; (iii) you have the right to learn if information is being processed by us, obtain disclosure regarding certain aspects of the processing and obtain a copy of the information undergoing processing; (iv) you have the right to verify the accuracy of your information and ask for it to be updated or corrected; (v) you have the right, under certain circumstances, to restrict the processing of your information, in which case, we will not process your information for any purpose other than storing it; (vi) you have the right, under certain circumstances, to obtain the erasure of your Personal Information from us; (vii) you have the right to receive your information in a structured, commonly used and machine readable format and, if technically feasible, to have it transmitted to another controller without any hindrance. This provision is applicable provided that your information is processed by automated means and that the processing is based on your consent, on a contract which you are part of or on pre-contractual obligations thereof.

The right to object to processing

Where Personal Information is processed for the public interest, in the exercise of an official authority vested in us or for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by us, you may object to such processing by providing a ground related to your particular situation to justify the objection. You must know that, however, should your Personal Information be processed for direct marketing purposes, you can object to that processing at any time without providing any justification. To learn, whether we are processing Personal Information for direct marketing purposes, you may refer to the relevant sections of this document.

How to exercise these rights

Any requests to exercise User rights can be directed to the Owner through the contact details provided in this document. These requests can be exercised free of charge and will be addressed by the Owner as early as possible and always within one month.

Privacy of children

We do not knowingly collect any Personal Information from children under the age of 13. If you are under the age of 13, please do not submit any Personal Information through our Website or Service. We encourage parents and legal guardians to monitor their children's Internet usage and to help enforce this Policy by instructing their children never to provide Personal Information through our Website or Service without their permission. If you have reason to believe that a child under the age of 13 has provided Personal Information to us through our Website or Service, please contact us. You must also be at least 16 years of age to consent to the processing of your personal data in your country (in some countries we may allow your parent or guardian to do so on your behalf).


We offer electronic newsletters to which you may voluntarily subscribe at any time. You may choose to stop receiving our newsletter or marketing emails by following the unsubscribe instructions included in these emails or by contacting us.


The Website uses "cookies" to help personalize your online experience. A cookie is a text file that is placed on your hard disk by a web page server. Cookies cannot be used to run programs or deliver viruses to your computer. Cookies are uniquely assigned to you, and can only be read by a web server in the domain that issued the cookie to you. We may use cookies to collect, store, and track information for statistical purposes to operate our Website and Services. You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. If you choose to decline cookies, you may not be able to fully experience the features of the Website and Services. To learn more about cookies and how to manage them, visit

Do Not Track signals

Some browsers incorporate a Do Not Track feature that signals to websites you visit that you do not want to have your online activity tracked. Tracking is not the same as using or collecting information in connection with a website. For these purposes, tracking refers to collecting personally identifiable information from consumers who use or visit a website or online service as they move across different websites over time. How browsers communicate the Do Not Track signal is not yet uniform. As a result, this Website is not yet set up to interpret or respond to Do Not Track signals communicated by your browser. Even so, as described in more detail throughout this Policy, we limit our use and collection of your personal information.

Links to other websites

Our Website contains links to other websites that are not owned or controlled by us. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other websites or third-parties. We encourage you to be aware when you leave our Website and to read the privacy statements of each and every website that may collect Personal Information.

Information security

We secure information you provide on computer servers in a controlled, secure environment, protected from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. We maintain reasonable administrative, technical, and physical safeguards in an effort to protect against unauthorized access, use, modification, and disclosure of Personal Information in its control and custody. However, no data transmission over the Internet or wireless network can be guaranteed. Therefore, while we strive to protect your Personal Information, you acknowledge that (i) there are security and privacy limitations of the Internet which are beyond our control; (ii) the security, integrity, and privacy of any and all information and data exchanged between you and our Website cannot be guaranteed; and (iii) any such information and data may be viewed or tampered with in transit by a third-party, despite best efforts.

Data breach

In the event we become aware that the security of the Website has been compromised or users Personal Information has been disclosed to unrelated third parties as a result of external activity, including, but not limited to, security attacks or fraud, we reserve the right to take reasonably appropriate measures, including, but not limited to, investigation and reporting, as well as notification to and cooperation with law enforcement authorities. In the event of a data breach, we will make reasonable efforts to notify affected individuals if we believe that there is a reasonable risk of harm to the user as a result of the breach or if notice is otherwise required by law. When we do, we will post a notice on the Website.

Legal disclosure

We will disclose any information we collect, use or receive if required or permitted by law, such as to comply with a subpoena, or similar legal process, and when we believe in good faith that disclosure is necessary to protect our rights, protect your safety or the safety of others, investigate fraud, or respond to a government request. In the event we go through a business transition, such as a merger or acquisition by another company, or sale of all or a portion of its assets, your user account, and personal data will likely be among the assets transferred.

Changes and amendments

We reserve the right to modify this Policy relating to the Website or Services at any time, effective upon posting of an updated version of this Policy on the Website. When we do we will post a notification on the main page of our Website. Continued use of the Website after any such changes shall constitute your consent to such changes. Policy was created with

Acceptance of this policy

You acknowledge that you have read this Policy and agree to all its terms and conditions. By using the Website or its Services you agree to be bound by this Policy. If you do not agree to abide by the terms of this Policy, you are not authorized to use or access the Website and its Services.

Contacting us

If you have any questions about this Policy, please contact us.

This document was last updated on March 10, 2019

6th November 2019

Conversation with Julieta Aranda and Anna Kamay


29th October 2019

Where the roses grow


Interview with Almagul Menlibaeva

25th October 2019

On language of supremacy: Medina Bazargali in conversation


16th October 2019



Exhibition by Xenia Fink In Ta(r)dino 6 Baku

10th October 2019

Madina Tlostanova on decolonizing the post-Soviet, exotization and political imagination(s)


part two

26th September 2019

Madina Tlostanova on feminism, coloniality, returned pasts and reimagined futures


part one

6th September 2019

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


12th July 2019

When there are no opputurnities, create your own Giardini


Asli Samadova

1st July 2019

Juggling Dinosaurs


The precariousness of motherhood in arts
Anna Kamay

24th June 2019

Interview with Elene Abashidze


14th June 2019

Unfortunately, we cannot pay for your flight and accommodation


Thibaut de Ruyter

28th May 2019

Ich liebe dich!


Antonina Stebur

17th May 2019

Interview with Anna Vahrami


23rd April 2019

Artist Portrait: Anastasia Akhvlediani


13th April 2019

Artist Portrait: Alisa Berger


Thibaut de Ruyter

21st March 2019

Faig Ahmed


Interview geführt von Ira Konyukhova und Pavel Metelitsyn

18th March 2019

There Is Sex After Soviet Union!


Irina Konyukhova

11th March 2019

Interview mit Samvel Saghatelian


Geführt von Ira Konyukhova

8th March 2019

Artist Portrait: Salome Dumbadze


4th March 2019

Interview mit Chinara Majidova


Geführt von Ira Konyukhova

26th February 2019

East Wind - Art in the Former Soviet Republics


Thibaut de Ruyter
SteppenBaroque, single channel video, 11 min, 2013
Film still
Tokamak, 9 channel video installation, 2017
Photo by the artist
Altar of the east, Inkjet print archival paper 100x150, 2018
Photo by the artist
Tokamak, inkjet archival paper, 150x100, 2016
Photo by the artist
The Constructor, video still of the installation, 2016
Photo by the artist

Where the roses grow

Interview with Almagul Menlibaeva

by Viktoria Kravtsova

29th October 2019

The Kazakh artist Almagul Menlibaeva is known for her photo- and video-works where model-like, fit and conventionally beautiful female protagonists are placed into different settings of (quasi-)traditional Kazakhstan. The steppe, a wall of a mosque or ruins of the Soviet industrial buildings combined with female nakedness and such objects as goat’s horns, dead foxes or police uniforms are tellings the reader the stories of totalitarianism, post-Soviet (de)colonization and feminism. Victoria Kravtsova talked with Almagul about her art, feminism and the Kazakh art world.

Victoria Kravtsova

Almagul, please tell me about your background - where did you grow up, where did you study?

Almagul Menlibaeva

I was born in Alma-Ata and studied at the Kazakh National Academy of Arts. I was always interested in the nomadic culture, it was always a great puzzle to me – I was interested in understanding what is image and why it needs to be controlled. And only recently, when I began to do performances and make videos, I understood that there are so many men in this sphere and men have a different eye for things, they are taught to see differently. Men are taught to see women as objects, it was clear to me when I began my career. There were a couple of cases when my work was stolen from me. Then I simply began to do everything myself, filming included.

Victoria Kravtsova

Would you consider this as a emancipatory act and do you consider yourself as a feminist? 

Almagul Menlibaeva

Sure, I call myself a feminist, I use that word now. However, I did not come to this term immediately. I was a feminist long before I started using the word. I was born in a rather traditional patriarchal family, there are many of them in Kazakhstan. In fact, I would argue, that the whole USSR is patriarchal. And we should really invest time into researching it - what we did, under which premises we lived back then. I had personal problems at home, in the family, at school, at university and also when I decided to become an artist. It was always clear to me that these problems were related to the fact that I was a woman. I always have to work twice as much as men to get something.

Sure, I do call myself a feminist, I use this word. The terms themselves though, they always come later – I have for quite a long time never used the word, but actually was a feminist. 

I had personal problems at home, in the family, at school, at the university and when I was choosing to become an artist. It was always clear to me that these problems are related to the fact that I am a woman. I always have to work two times more than men to get something.

Viktoria Kravtsova

How would you define YOUR feminism?

Almagul Menlibaeva

I read a lot, I do, but I won’t tell you concrete names, concrete theorists. Feminism has a lot of clichés, no one can do everything perfectly, so we really need a lot, agiant load of opinions and descriptions for feminism to develop into something that anyone can be happy with the term. MY feminism should correspond exactly to my ideas. As I already said I won’t give you names of theorists, but I can think of some female artists from different places – how they colonize or liberate the image. I love Marina Abramović, I love non-white feminists from Africa, from Cuba. We can’t let feminist be that “clean” elitist version of it, it must be different and have something for everyone. We need to broaden the agenda so that as much men and women as possible could get it, we need to get the reflection of this word to be everywhere.

Victoria Kravtsova

Is there a specific feminism for Central Asia? 

Almagul Menlibaeva

It seems weird to me talking about Central Asia as a whole – it is a very diverse group of countries and nations. All in all, I am against separating a particular geographical area, highlighting the specificity of a region, a country or a group of countries, because it leads to generalizations. I am rather for individual strategies in each concrete case: whom am I talking to, will I be understood right now?

Viktoria Kravtsova

Since your artworks refer to the themes of coloniality and gender, you must be aware of a thin line between empowerment and objectification and exoticization. Where is this line? Are you aware of any objections to your own work? 

Almagul Menlibaeva

I can imagine, that for some it's exoticization, for me it never was. For me it was a search for my own identity. For many years I didn't know who I was - I grew up in a Russian-speaking family, I knew Russian culture, but nothing about my own. And one day, I began to look for it. There was this one moment - when I was about 4 years old, I got a doll as a present and my grandmother burned it. Why did she do it? She thought the doll was inappropriate. Why was it so important to preserve the image?

During my studies of ornaments and decorative crafts I understood how ideas travel and transform within different cultures - and now I continue to explore how identity is reflected in visual images. For example, this pattern that we know today as Turkish or Oriental cucumber - it actually comes from the North, from the drawings of Siberian tribes. From there it went through the East to the royal courts. Each empire takes something from the colonized to reconstruct itself - we can see how knowledge migrates, but usually people don't notice it. And much of what is taken up by colonization belongs mostly to women, because women are the ones who deal with crafts. And the areas in which women are most active are also the areas in which coloniality is sometimes less present, that is why a new perspective on history can be found here. There might be populism in these discourses, but the time will put everything back into place. In the post-Soviet areas, everything "national" is treated with a lot of attention because it has been a taboo subject for so long. In the USSR “national” was only a reconstruction created by the state – like before you had 30-40 national costumes, and the Soviets made them into one which was now supposed to symbolize “authenticity”. We all work with stereotypes, because stereotypes are what is left to us.

Viktoria Kravtsova

There is an interesting phenomena about many post-soviet countries, including Russia and Kazakhstan. While the official USSR state policy was atheistic with land confiscated from the churches and persecutions on religious leaders, the situation changed dramatically after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Is this connected to the search for identity, for belonging to some other kind of community, ethnic or territorial?

Almagul Menlibaeva

Why did the post-Soviet space become religious? Because there was a lacuna in place of totalitarianism that they tried to get rid of. No one tried to reinvent and rethink the totalitarian consciousness we had. Then, in 1990s, it was a hard time – no surprise that people found resort in religion. And the past was still alive, the materialist past, so in the end some kind of materialist religiosity was what we ended up with – and once again, women suffered the most – religion oppresses women first. And it is not that men are guilty of that – we all are guilty, women as well – in the end, women raise us to be who we are. Women are in a very controversial position, they are both oppressors and oppressed. I try to depict this duality in my work. To reflect what I have observed. I believe that culture is a way to communicate across human suffering, and this communication is a function of art. Art must go into politics,
into journalism, it cannot stay in museums. My art is also what I communicate my ideas with, and I believe that the language I use is appropriate for what I want to express.

Viktoria Kravtsova

The title “Bread and Roses”, the exhibition you curated last year, originates from the poem by James Oppenheim written in 1911, which has foreseen successful strikes of the female workers in the textile fabrics a year later in USA. Thus, the title is inherently political, suggesting the subjects of feminist struggle and working class issues. Which are impossible to analyse without taking into account the colonial politics of the USSR and deprivation of the ethnic and national identity.

Almagul Menlibaeva


The exhibitions was about the USSR as a feudal unit, about slave labor, colonialism and how Soviet modernity made people nationless. I also showed gender issues in it. I interviewed the women who were raped in the camps in Karlag  to analyze how it was normalized and to show that a Soviet woman never was free. We tried to explore how the Soviet woman could express herself or not within the system and how repression was connected to gender and sexuality. I have worked with the state - I believe it is our right to demand of the state. You also need the state to reach out to others. We had to make the exhibition only implicitly feminist, not explicitly, though the idea is feminist. There are conditions which make it for some completely impossible to say “I am a feminist”. I spoke with a Yekaterina Kuznetsova who helps people find their roots. She told me an interesting story about Karlag and how Stalin used it as a place to send the wives of his bureaucrats there. By doing so, he created this peculiar man-to-man power dynamics to see who do the men choose: their wives or their leader. Taking a gender perspective is sometimes very useful, it reveals many important narratives.



Almagul Menlibayeva (b. 1969 in Almaty, Kazakh ssr) is a video artist and photographer, and is the co-curator of Focus Kazakhstan Berlin (2018). Almagul Menlibayeva holds an mFa from the Art and Theatre University of Almaty. she works primarily in multi-channel video, photography and mixed media installation and her work addresses such critical issues of post-soviet modernity as social, economic, and political transformations in Central Asia, de-colonial re-imaginings of gender, environmental degradation, and eurasian nomadic and indigenous cosmologies and mythologies. In conjunction with her solo exhibition ‘Transformation’ at the Grand Palais in Paris (France, 2016 – 2017), she was awarded the prestigious ‘Chevalier Ordre des Arts et des Lettres' by the French minister of culture in 2017. Other awards include the ‘daryn’ state Prize of Kazakhstan (1996), and the ‘tarlan’ national award of the club of Maecenas of Kazakhstan (2003). She was also the winner of the Grand Prix ‘asia art' at the II Biennial of Central Asia, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (1995) and the winner of the main Prize of the International Film Festival ‘Kino der Kunst' (2013) in Munich, Germany.


Victoria Kravtsova has studied International Relations in St. Petersburg and Berlin. In Berlin she is active in NGO projects in Eastern Europe, co-organizing seminars and exchange programs in the fields of environment, human rights, gender equality and civic education. Victoria receives a scholarship from Heinrich Böll Foundation and is engaged in writing her thesis “Between the ‘posts’, out of the void” where she traces the travels of the contemporary feminist discourses to and from Central Asia.


Editing: Kundry Reif & Ira Konyukhova 


English correction: Alexandra Vetter




Subscribe to our newsletter