We are Stern Consumers
of Cultural Revolutions


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For group exhibition West of East, Ў Gallery, Minsk, Belarus

Curator: Lena Prents

We are Stern Consumers of
Cultural Revolutions
Ў Gallery, Minsk, Belarus,
Sergey Shabohin’s work is concerned with the heritage of the avant-garde. At the beginning of the 1920s the art school UNOVIS, a highly productive «Laboratory of the modern Age» (Karl Schlögel), was located in the town of Vitebsk, in what is now Belarus. No mention was made of this fact in official Soviet art historiography. Today it is the subject of hot debate. Whilst a group of enthusiasts is lobbying for the erection of a UNOVIS museum in Vitebsk (a photograph shows the present desolate condition of the provisional museum), thereby attempting to establish a new highlight of advanced culture in Belarus, the official authorities strongly oppose the idea, much in the tradition of the Soviet position. In his work, Shabohin points out the fact that, during the Cold War, the ideas of the avant-garde were received in a far more positive and appreciative way in western culture. They are returning to Belarus today in the form of mass culture and design for the mass consumer. He demonstrates this using 6 pictures (Kazimir Malevich, Vera Ermolaeva, El Lissitzky, Nikolai Suetin, David Yakerson and Lazar Khidekel) which were originally created at UNOVIS, assigning them to equivalents of a similar form taken from the field of contemporary consumer electronics.

Fragment of explication by Lena Prents