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Guide For Contemporary Art-Lovers In Belarus

Whether you are looking for breathtaking art pieces, inspiration or just wondering how to add new colors to your day, Belarusian contemporary art is your answer.

Delight your eyes and nourish your soul with the insider’s guide on Belarusian contemporary art spots, talented artists and online sources worth exploration to ease your hunger for beauty.

Recent years have seen a boom in Belarusian contemporary art scene. Art galleries keep opening, local street art is in the spotlight and international festivals feature the best works by today’s Belarusian artists.

Despite the lack of a permanent collection, challenging Communism and post-Communism eras and influence of the foreign artistic narratives, Belarusian art flourishes, intrigues and attracts in its own unique way.

Creative minds 

Contemporary Belarusian art has its own heroes.

Even if you are not a dedicated art-lover, the works of the famous artist and designer Vladimir Tsesler, art critic and pioneer of Belarusian performance Ljudmila Rusova, artist and writer Arthur Klinov, Andrey Anro or Alexander Rodin, known for his immense canvases, could ring a bell.  

For instance, Zhanna Gladko questions the topics of patriarchy, religion, culture, art system and society in her provocative self-portraits.

Photo: HelloAsso

Andrey Lenkevich is a representative of the new wave photography in Belarus. In 2015, his project “Goodbye, Motherland” that explores the attitude to WWII in Belarus received the top award of “Art Belarus” at the art fair Salon d’AutomneA number of Belarusian artists and collectives eager to shake up the system with their creativity is growing.

Graphic artist Raman Sustov, sculptor Janna Grak, painter and photographer Andrey Anro, graphic artist Oxana Gourinovitch, artists working with different media such as Mikhail Gulin, Lena Davidovich, Andrey Dureika, Sergey Kiryuschenko, art activist Sergey Shabohin, performer Antonina Slobodchikova are just some of the big names.

Contemporary art gems

In Belarus, most art spaces belong to the state. Therefore, contemporary art that brings up current social, political and economic issues are not really welcome.

According to art activist Sergei Shabohin, “contemporary Belarusian art still leads its quiet partisan life, imperceptibly flowing in parallel with the official culture.”

In Minsk, there are a few private galleries that push boundaries, experiment with provocative works or emerging artists. Marked as alternative or underground spots, they are the perfect places to meet a new generation of Belarusian artists.

OK16 

Local and international cultural and educational events, performances, lectures, fairs, shows, movie screenings, parties and concerts – all in one place.

 

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Публикация от Культурный Хаб Ok16 (@ok16minsk)

Ў Gallery of Contemporary Art  

The gallery specializes in all manifestations of contemporary art with curators and bold exhibitions from Belarus and abroad. 

Besides, «Ў» gallery has implemented two art residences and a long-term educational program on inclusive interaction.

 

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Публикация от Галерэя сучаснага мастацтва Ў (@ygallery.by)

In autumn 2018, it launched the research project “ZBOR In Progress” that has brought together the finest Belarusian contemporary artworks of the past 30 years. Still not impressed?

There is one more reason to visit the gallery. Local artists enjoy spending their time in the cozy «Ў» bar sipping their glass of wine and having deep conversations about art and aesthetics.

Art-Belarus

The gallery is known for its impressive collection of original masterpieces by recognized artists with Belarusian roots.

Interested not only in Marc Chagall, Léon Bakst, Chaim Soutine and Valenty Vańkovič the gallery has launched the art fair Salon d’Automne to showcase young Belarusian artists.

 

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Публикация от Olga Zaharenko (@zaharenkoolga)

The professional jury select artists under 40 that play a significant role in the local art scene among which were Andrey Lenkevich, Zakhar Kudin, Andrey Anro, Konstantin Muzhev and others. 

Art-Belarus gallery is located in the Palace of Artsthe largest exhibition art site of Belarus. Having six exhibition halls, the venue holds numerous exhibitions, fairs and festive events.

DK

The exhibition concept of the gallery is to unite both recognized and novice artists at joint projects and exhibition activities and rediscovering undeservedly forgotten authors.

Along with the permanent exhibition, “DK” is also actively engaged in educational and research activities in painting and art spheres.

Gallery.TUT.BY 

Gallery.TUT.BY is a unique project next to the office workflow. It’s an alternative city platform for sharing knowledge, communication, author projects and exhibitions.

Always open for new names and faces, the place is perfect to express yourself, organize an exhibition, hold a thematic workshop or have a lecture.

For example, TEDx Minsk and lectures of the Noble prize winner Svetlana Alexievich took place there.

Korpus  

Run by real enthusiasts Korpus is an independent open cultural hub that has combined a little bit of everything.

The place organizes contemporary art exhibitions, concerts, parties, festivals, fairs, flea markets, film screenings, educational programs, public discussions, cultural and social projects.

 

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Публикация от культ. центр «КОРПУС» (@cultkorpus)

It has an idyllic courtyard that is often used for openings. Take a virtual 3D tour to see that Korpus’ space itself is a nice reason enough to drop by anytime.

State art galleries & museums

State-owned art spaces also try to keep up with international art trends. Being situated not only in Minsk, they can be intriguing players in the country’s contemporary art scene.

The National Arts Museum

The museum has the country’s largest collection of local and foreign art pieces. Located in Minsk center, the place offers over 300 works in two major museum collections – national and world art.

 

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Публикация от Инна (@olololon)

The museum is a must-stop for contemporary art-lovers with regular temporary exhibitions of modern art, interactive programs and lectures.

The National Arts Museum is also home to diverse events and special projects that explore modern-day themes such as inclusion, ecology or blogging. You can also join one of their virtual tours.

Zair Azgur Museum 

Zair Azgur was one of the most talented Belarusian sculptors of the Soviet era. Housed inside his former home and workshop, this little known museum is a real jaw-dropper.

 

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Публикация от alexeydyakov (@alexeydyakov)

The space is a creative laboratory where modern artists, architects, performers, dancers, and musicians (surrounded by numerous statues of Lenin and Stalin) implement their wildest ideas.

The Museum of Belarusian State Academy of Arts

Being a part of the Academy of Arts, the museum includes theses and creative works of students of the art faculty and the faculty of design and decorative arts.

The second exhibition space of the institution is the gallery “Academy”  with regular exhibitions, seminars, conferences, open lectures and master classes.

National Center for Contemporary Arts 

This biggest state institution is all about cutting-edge art. Various collections of paintings, graphics, sculptures, and multimedia create an interdisciplinary and rich platform for exciting dialogues.

Vitebsk Center of the Modern Art 

The center was a museum founded by Marc Chagall, Kazimir Malevich and Alexander Romm in 1918. Exhibitions, both local and international, change every three weeks.

 

The priority, though, is given to personal exhibitions of young graphic artists, painters and photographers from Vitebsk who work in experimental, avant-garde genres.

The Art Gallery by G.H.Vaschenko in Gomel 

The gallery hosts more than 30 exhibitions annually, covering almost all genres of contemporary art.

 

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Публикация от I V 🍸 (@vetrukova)


Being an active art space for the presentation of Belarusian and European contemporary art, it also has close relations with many foreign embassies and institutions.

Art scene online

Galleries and museums are not the only sources to soak up Belarusian contemporary art. Take a look at these online platforms that host the works of Belarusian artists one won’t find in traditional art spaces.

KALEKTAR

This research platform brings together the Internet encyclopedia INDEX with most significant names, events and institutions of modern Belarusian art; the exhibition project ZBOR; the Faculty of Agitational Critics (FAC) and online magazine ART Activist. 

It was created by a group of artists and curators to understand the newest processes and trends in the modern art of Belarus. Thanks to KALEKTAR members research, an online collection was filled up with over 150 works.

The latest exhibition took place in autumn 2018. More than 200 works of documentary photography, research essays, video works, rare documentary videos were presented.

Art Kurator

To dig deeper into the topic, feel free to surf the online platforms Art Kurator, Chrysalis Mag, pARTizan, MART and online gallery BellaBelarus.   

 

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Публикация от Chrysalis Art Magazine (@chrysalismagazine)

Priorbank’s collection

See this impressive exhibition of artworks collected by Priorbank. It has a total of about 1000 outstanding artworks of the XX–XXI centuries created by Belarusians. 

Mastactva and Kultura

Lovers of paper books can flip through the state-owned magazine Mastactva and newspaper Kultura for fresh art news, comments and reviews. 

Between Europe and Europe

Did you know that the founder of the United Colors of Benetton has been also inspired by contemporary Belarusian art?

The catalogue “Between Europe and Europe. Contemporary Artists from Belarus ” has become a part of Luciano Benetton’s project Imago Mundi (“Pictures of the World”).

Valentina Shoba, Kiss

Among 156 artworks one can find big names of Belarusian contemporary art as well as emerging talents from Belarus that famous Italian calls his “terra incognita”. 


Text by Nadzeya Prasvirava. Sources: kultprosvet.byartkurator.comkalektar.org/

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