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Rufina Bazlova
Such a Minsk

The Vertical of Power, Run from a Gun, The Female Power

Three Flags by Rufina Bazlova #FramedInBelarus

For the three poles in front of the DAS MINSK Kunsthaus in Potsdam, the Belarusian artist Rufina Bazlova (born in 1990 in Hrodna) has designed flags that stem from her cross-stitch embroideries. In this intervention with the punning title Such a Minsk, Bazlova refers to the current political situation in Belarus.

Installation: three flags with red embroidered motifs on a white background are located in front of DAS MINSK Kunsthaus in Potsdam.

Photo: Ladislav Zajac

The middle flag, with the title Run from a Gun, is a claim for peace and depicts the people literally running away from guns, trying to escape the violence. While The Vertical of Power, placed to the far right, criticizes the current political system in Belarus, the flag on the left side with the title The Female Power is a depiction of hope in the future and shows the female opposition leader Swetlana Tichanowskaja. With this trinity, Rufina Bazlova makes a strong statement for revolution and peace.

The collaboration with Bazlova is a reference to the design of architectural elements by Belarusian artists in the old terrace restaurant Minsk, which also depicted traditional red-and-white ornamental mosaics in the facade. By working together with Bazlova, DAS MINSK makes a clear statement of solidarity with the resistance and critical artists in Belarus. Bazlova’s intervention was inaugurated during the opening of DAS MINSK in September 2022 and will remain installed during Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt’s retrospective Nichts Neues (February 11 – May 7, 2023).

»Despite being from different generations and having distinctive working styles and methods, Bazlova and Wolf-Rehfeldt, two powerful female artists, have something in common: at first glance they work in a handcrafted analogue way, with stitched or typewritten signs, only to transfer them into highly conceptual art that opens up complex fields of political reflection and resistance.« — Paola Malavassi, Director DAS MINSK Kunsthaus in Potsdam

Rufina Bazlova

Photo: Matěj Stránský, 2020

Rufina Bazlova is a Prague-based artist who works in illustration, social artwork, scenography, and performance. Bazlova holds a master’s degree in illustration (University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, 2015) and a second bachelor’s degree in stage design (Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, 2020). Bazlova gained an international profile for her series The History of Belarusian Vyzhyvanka, which uses the medium of traditional folk embroidery to depict the peaceful protests in Belarus in 2020. The artist is also known as the author of the fully embroidered comic ŽENOKOL // FEMINNATURE, 2012, which explores the theme of feminism present in folk traditions. Bazlova is a coauthor of the installation about the female Belarusian triumvirate of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Maria Kolesnikova, and Veronika Tsepkalo, created especially for the well-known Charlemagne Prize 2022 in Aachen. In August 2022, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky wore a shirt with one of Bazlova’s ornaments during his speech on the Independence Day of Ukraine.

#FramedInBelarus is a social art project dedicated to political prisoners in Belarus by artist Rufina Bazlova and curator Sofia Tocar. The aim of the #FramedInBelarus project is to tell the story of each wrongfully convicted citizen of Belarus and create their portraits using the traditional Belarusian technique of embroidery with red thread on a white background, and as a result to record an important era of Belarusian history with the help of a folk ornament. The process of embroidery is a long and meditative experience, allowing one to concentrate on the thoughts and feelings for a particular arrestee. Time is what is taken away from a person in prison and time is the little sacrifice made when creating a portrait of a political prisoner. The final form of the project will be a collective quilt of all the embroidered portraits and will be a tangible symbol of the intertwining of political events and human destinies.

DAS MINSK Kunsthaus in Potsdam hosted workshops with the project #FramedInBelarus in spring 2023.

DAS MINSK Kunsthaus in Potsdam
Max-Planck-Straße 17
14473 Potsdam
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