Being confronted with the artistic community in Belarus (which is more or less separated from the world westward through political reluctance on both sides of the state borders), one gets a feeling of a particular situation. On the one hand, it is characterized by an extreme propinquity; on the other hand, it is divided and fractured on multiple layers. Does it take place because of the contested, deficiently researched own history, challenging contemporaneity and uncertain future? Do reasons simply lie in the difficult communication among different networks which are self-centred? Or are irreconcilable positions probably the engine of art itself?
We invited the artist Karol Radziszewski to immerse into local artistic context in order to bring scrutiny on issues of collaboration and distance, resignation and openness. Inspired by a series of photographs taken by Igor Savchenko, Radziszewski is working on a “micro-study” entitled “Invisible (Belarusian Queer History)”. As a result of his preliminary research, Radziszewski will use the framework of the Blue Box to create the next station of Queer Archives Institute, which he established in 2015. His work encourages local collaborative practices as well as a production of knowledge based on researched material.
– Lena Prents
Invited artists and collaborators: Sergei Shabohin, Alexey Lunev, Igor Savchenko, Zhanna Gladko, Alesia Zhitkevich, Aleksey Naumchik
Curatorial support: Lena Prents, Valentina Kiselyova
7 July – 2 August 2016
Ў Gallery of Contemporary Art
QAI/BY is a code.
Code is a system of rules to convert information, occurrences, circumstances—such as a letter, image, gesture, ritual, event, or a reminder—into another form or representation. As a shortened, hidden, or secret mnemonic, it serves up the communication and keeps stories. QAI/BY goes the opposite way and transforms the hidden information into visibility. It is a process in order to encode former and present lifestyles, attitudes, and cultural production united under the term “queer.”
Queer Archives Institute (QAI) is a project by Polish artist Karol Radziszewski, which he established in 2015. QAI focuses on the archiving and re-interpretation of queer issues from former socialist countries and beyond. For years, Radziszewski has created work around the subjects of homosexuality and masculinity in Central and Eastern Europe. His QAI is led by an interest in a concept and embodiment of queer identities which allows a broader, less conformist, and deliberately ambiguous consideration of sexual and gender settings.
The idea for QAI/BY arose during Karol Radziszewski’s residency in Minsk. Inspired by Igor Savchenko’s series of photographs Invisible, the artist made an attempt to immerse in Belarusian oral history and to track down what is or could be thought of as queer in Belarus from the past until now—as hidden and invisible issues. Hence, QAI/BY doesn’t fix any new set-ups, but invites artists, activists, and interested public to reflect on and continue establishing a queer archive in Belarus.
Karol Radziszewski: Artist Talk
moderated by Lena Prents
12 July 2016 at 7pm
Uladzimir Valodzin: Book Launch
Queer history in Belarus in the second half of XX century: an attempt to approach
21 July 2016 at 7pm
Laima Kreivytė: From Dusk Till Dawn
On the first exhibition in Lithuania devoted to the history and culture of queer from 1993 to 2013
27 July 2016 at 7pm
Marija Garnak and Laura Kunciute: Dresses for the Universe, or the quiet resistance as a spiritual practice
2 August 2016 at 7pm