Belarusian photographer, photo critic, lecturer and translator Olga Bubich present her work “The Art of (not) Forgetting” in both an online talk and a site-specific installation at Konstepidemin.
Welcome to visit Olga’s installation at Konstepidemin Thursday 25 March – Wednesday 7 April.
(Next to Pannrummet, in the Corridor between house 2 & 3). The space is limited to one person at a time.
Memory is what makes us who we are, it outlines and fills in our ”self”, draws the contours of our personal perception of ”here and now” and shapes a retrospective analysis of past decisions and actions. In case of serious memory impairment, ”self” crumbles, turning a person into a set of reactions – a mechanism that needs to be provided with water, food and sleep.
However, in addition to individual memories we all have, memory, in its constant transformation, functions at many other levels: one can talk about the memory of family and kin, the memory of people and nation. Remembering who you were yesterday and who you are today shapes the history of your future tomorrow. Realizing the extreme importance of memories transmitted both in oral stories and cultural artifacts, in any historical period the authorities tried to gain control over people’s recollections – to impose “the right way” of remembering. Censored, or ”wrong”, works of art and literature were destroyed: in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, books that went against the official ideology were publicly burned; the same happened to the books during ”Cultural Revolution” in China in 1960-1970 or Kurdish literature in 1946 Iran. However, again, as history shows, the desire to remember appears to be stronger than repressions – the poems of Osip Mandelstam – a poet, repressed by the Stalinist regime, are with us today: his wife Nadezhda learned them by heart.
The power of memory also lies in the amazing solidarity and sense of community it can bring us to experience. By sharing stories and listening to those of others, we understand that, with both our most painful and emotionally charged memories, we are actually never alone. Each of us certainly can recall diving deep into moments of the very miracle of life, a connection we suddenly felt with the world “bigger than us”, episodes of realizing our unique missions or immersing in unexpected beauty – inside and beyond.
“The Art of (not) Forgetting” by Minsk-based photographer and art critic Olga Bubich brings together portraits of Belarusian women made in the moment of “recalling” (1) what they would like to forget, and (2) what they would like to always remember. It includes 40 memories which, here and now, in a moment historical for their country, they are eager to share in order to remind both us and themselves that the sincerity of our memory is our common tomorrow. Books can be burned, textbooks – rewritten, but the memory of a person, a family, a people and a nation will remain. Because there is always someone to learn poems by heart and be ready to share them with those to come.
Belarusian photographer, photo critic, photobook reviewer, lecturer and translator.
During 2021 artists and cultural workers from Belarus have a possibility to live and work at Konstepidemin in Gothenburg. The artists will be matched with artists from West Sweden Region, a “Residence Companion” to support a personal exchange of artistic work.
STATUS project – Art Residency is supported by the Swedish Institute and Iaspis – The Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual and Applied Artists.