EMPOWERING Vulnurability 2024

Exhibition “The New Subject. Mutating Rights and Emerging Challenges of Living Bodies”, Kunsthal NORD, Aalborg, Denmark 2023. Curated by TOK (Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits) and Cathrine Gamst. Photo: Simon Bendix.

Textile objects and a series of drawings

The installation presents Gluklya’s body of work, spanning from the post-Soviet context in 2006 to the present day in 2023, all bound together by the theme of politicized vulnerability. It comprises watercolors and conceptual clothing, both of which delve into the darker aspects of femininity. This thought-provoking exhibit invites viewers to contemplate the societal expectations and stereotypical roles imposed upon us.

For centuries, women have been marginalized by both the church and patriarchal society. Witch hunts and imperial wars shaped a system of punishment and exclusion, leaving women with little room for freedom of expression. Society places an expectation on women to conform to a specific ideal: one of niceness, perfection, balance, unwavering kindness, and perpetual silence. This image is what the patriarchal establishment found most palatable and acceptable. In response, the installation offers an alternative perspective on freedom of expression, not just for women but for all individuals.

The inclusion of watercolors from the COVID-19 period (2020-22) alongside the artist’s earlier works before immigrating to Europe is not coincidental. The lockdown prompted deep introspection in many people, leading them to revisit childhood traumas and reflect on their experiences. The absence of tactile, in-person interactions, the enforced 1.5-meter distance, and the fear of physical contact brought to light fundamental human needs that were suppressed during this period. These conditions were far from what we consider normal for healthy human existence. The artist is using identity as the primary tool to maintain a semblance of normalcy and embracing art practice as a form of “sanctioned madness.”

In doing so, she transforms into a new subject, embracing the inherent fragility that exists within all of us, recognizing and accepting the vulnerability of herself and others as political entities.

Inspired by Natalie Pershina | Copyright © 2018