ARTMargins Online Blog

Sense of beauty is alien to Belarusian policemen


On the 10th of October, in the context of the project “Going Public. About troubles with public expression”, well-known Belarusian artist Mikhail Gulin tried to realize his own project “Personal monument”, which rather visually demonstrated the urgency of the surveyed problems.

Mikhail and three volunteers, accompanied by a journalist, moved along the city placing geometrical sculptures on the main squares, which consisted of three red cubes and one yellow parallelepiped. They started from Kalinin Square, then went to Kolas Square and Independence Square. It was planned that the last point of this artistic intervention would be October Square, but special police squad prevented the project from realization by taking artist and his company to the Department of Internal Affairs of Central district of Minsk. They spent 7 hours in the Department, two volunteers were beat up, after that – the report was drown up and everyone was free.







536078 291875687567800 141190708 n - Can you tell, did police use force in the department of Internal Affairs? Who was beaten up?

- Two volunteers were. One of them got two hematomas and concussion. The guys just were interested about the reason for giving fingerprints and asked to read the report.

- Mikhail, what was the sense of this project for you personally? What aim did you pursue?

- It was some kind of reflection: can an abstract expression provoke? Can it be interpreted as an expression at all? And, of course, is it possible to express yourself in a public place. If to speak about aims, this very geometrical sculpture was the aim,  that is a photo documentation of it in a public place. Personally I feel a lack of bright formal sculptures in Minsk. And I made up this deficiency, but for a while, by intervention into city surroundings. Sometimes I worry about people’s opinion, but this time it was rather unimportant for me.

- Did you expect such a result and did you manage to achieve your goal?

- I expected such a result only in a nightmare, I had a great hope that common sense would triumph and irony together with color wouldn’t be taken as a threat to national security. The goal was achieved, but the question is: does the project still exist? And in which form? At this very moment this question is decided.

Unfortunately, Institute named after Goethe hasn’t commented on this situation yet and  lived  the artist one on one with “fruits” of his creativity. On the 26th of October Mikhail Gulin is to appear in court. He is accuse of disobedience to the authorities. Four days earlier the other “participators” in the art intervention will be convicted.

After this incident we can just hope that someday in the Academy of Ministry of Interior except combat and firing training contemporary art will be studied. But it’s a pity, that none of us is lucky to live in such a wonderful epoch.

Artem Onaschenko
Author: Artem OnaschenkoWebsite: Belarus
Artem Onaschenko, 26 years, blogger, journalist. In 2009 I graduated from Institute of Journalism of Belarusian State University, faculty of mass media. I worked 5 years on state TV-channel (CTV), now I am a television editor of internet-portal about modern Belarusian culture, where I have my own blog as well. I'm keen on literature of post-modernism, Indie rock music and Art house films.

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