ARTMargins Online Blog

Aftermath of Mikhail Gulin’s “public expression”

Inspite of the fact that Gulin’s “expression” was purely cultural, together with three volunteers he was kept in the police department of Minsk Central district for 7 hours.

But that wasn’t the end. Since few days on his account on Facebook, Mikhail Gulin informed that for his “political art” he was dismissed from the Belarusian National Technical University, where he had worked as senior lecturer of Department for 3 years.

Mikhail Gulin: “I was offered to choose: to be dismissed by agreement of parties or for the cause. I chose the 1st variant. If you call our Dean, he will tell – by agreement. And if I am convicted and I disagree with my dismissing and have legal proceedings with Belarusian National Technical University, he will tell that I was dismissed because of absence from work. In other words – it is an exclusive circle. Though I was under the pressure, I signed this document myself.”

The point of view of the organizer of that project “Going Public” – the Institute named after Goethe – seemed to be rather interesting. It’s director Frank Bauman publicly criticized Mikhail Gulin’s actions and refused to support the artist in Court. His position Sir Bauman expressed in the public letter, that was published in several Belarusian mass media.

“Dear friends, after few reportages and comments about the Institute named after Goethe in Minsk, which appeared in social nets, let me express our point of view.

Art project “Going Public”, which deals with problems of art in a public space, was supported by the Institute named after Goethe and worked out by our colleagues from Vilnius. Curators and artists from Lithuania, Russia, Belarus and Germany take part in this project. Many of you know, that art in a public place – it is a theme that is interesting for the Institutes named after Goethe all over the world. Those of you who watched the project “Art-city” know, that we are able to carry out such kind of projects.

This year the Institute named after Goethe supported Minsk artist Mikhail Gulin in his artistic activity. The statement, that Mikhail Gulin was included in project “Going Public” is true. But it is false that the Institute was informed about Gulin’s action on October Square, during which he together with four other persons was arrested for some time. The Institute named after Goethe doesn’t have a task to support such actions, so is does not do it.

I regret what happened, but still I’d like to emphasis on the fact that the Institute named after Goethe stands up for its partners only when they follow the main principles of collaboration with us. Our principles in this very situation were consciously or unconsciously broken. For that reason I reject all the reproaches for the Institute and for me personally. Inspite of a big disappointment, that our side has as well, I strongly appeal to everybody to show moderateness of comments dealing with such a sensible situation.

Frank Bauman
Director of the Institute named after Goethe in Minsk”.

Since three weeks during the trial in the Court of Minsk Central district policemen that arrested the artist and volunteers on October Square were caught of misrepresentation of facts thanks to the camera recordings. The proceeding against Mikhail Gulin was stopped because of the absence of corpus delicti.   Though a “personal monument” itself wasn’t returned to the artist.

Now Mikhail Gulin (together with whole art-community) is waiting for apologies from the director of the Institute named after Goethe in Minsk. In prejudice of personal interest many artists refuse to collaborate with German Institute.

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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