Video, 10 min., 2016
Play reading of court reports of asylum hearings in administration court Tiergarten, Berlin.
Since 2013 Marina Naprushkina is working on an archive containing courtroom sketches, titled Refugees’ Library. The artist hereby records the hearings conducted with refugees to determine their right to stay. The artist’s main concern is to make the archive library available to refugees as a resource of information to prepare for their own hearings. Over 20 independent translators are working on the project to make the books accessible in different languages. Members of the Initiative Neue Nachbarschaft (New Neighbourhood) / Moabit read from the transcripts in several languages.
2. Berliner Herbstsalon, Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin, 2015
Members of the “Neue Nachbarschaft//Moabit” initiative read the court minutes in a number of languages and thus reconstruct asylum hearings from the Tiergarten Administrative Court.
The “Refugees’ Library” is an archive of court sketches on the topics of asylum and migration. Each booklet portrays court proceedings that have actually taken place (the names of the people involved have been changed). More than 20 translators volunteer in this project to make the booklets available to readers in a range of languages.
Refugees’ Library, 2013-2015
Dead Souls / German Money and Migration Politics in the World, 2014- 2015
Wall painting 4m x 11m
2. Berliner Herbstsalon, Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin, 2015
After the butcher, Berlin, 2015
Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, 2014
The issues of the Refugees’ Library (2013-2015) document the court trials of the refugees. Global conflicts and the ways of escape are shown through the personal stories of the plaintiffs (the refugees). Refugees’ Library is a collaborative project bringing together several volunteers working on the translations of the court proceedings in the languages of the refugees. The main intention of the project is to provide the refugees with the information resources in order to prepare for their own cases.
Online archve: https://refugeeslibrary.wordpress.com/
Dead Souls / German Money and Migration Politics in the World
The wall painting Dead Souls (2014) shows the enlargement of the EU borders and the key provisions relating to its asylum and migration policy.
For six decades of successful reconciliation policy, the European Union has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. But what kind of peace does the EU make?
The EU’s failed asylum policy leads to serious economic and social inequalities. The EU wants to win the markets in the refugees’ home countries, but limits the free movement of persons. The borders are so sealed that asylum seekers actually barely reach ‘the safe shore.’
In 2004 created a ‘Defence Army’ of the EU called Frontex (with the headquarters in Warsaw) whose job is to ensure that the refugees are ‘pushed back’. Frontex ’advances‘ the EU’s external border to the Sahara, Turkish-Iranian border, or deep into the Ukraine.
Unter Ausschluss der Öffentlichkeit, 2014
Exhibition view: “Give Us The Future”
Für die Ausstellung “Give Us The Future” entwickelte Naprushkina die Arbeit Unter Ausschluss der Öffentlichkeit (2013). Dieser Arbeit liegt zugrunde Initiative “Neue Nachbarschaft/Moabit”, die Naprushkina im Sommer 2013 gründete, die mit den Bewohner*inen des Asylbewerberheimes in Berlin Moabit arbeitet, darunter über 100 Kinder. Die Unterbringung der Flüchtlinge im Heim fand unter kritikwürdigen Umständen statt – die Initiative benannte diese öffentlich und wurde umgehend vor die Tür gesetzt. Der Heimbetreiber, eine privatwirtschaftlich, gewinnorientierte Firma im Auftrag des Landes Berlin, weigert sich bis heute, der Initiative wieder Zugang zu verschaffen. Selbst die Politik scheiterte mit Vermittlungsversuchen.
Im Ausstellungsraum zeigt Naprushkina Inventar der Initiative, mit welchem im Heim verschiedene Tätigkeiten mit den Bewohnern zusammen organisiert wurden.
Die Arbeit gibt einen direkten Kommentar zum Thema deutscher Asyl- und Sozialpolitik. Funktioniert der Sozialstaat noch, oder ist die soziale Funktion privatisiert und auf die Profitschiene umgeleitet worden? Was kann eine Initiative von unten erreichen, wie kann sie sich gegen die Bürokratie des Staates und die kommerziellen Interessen durchsetzen?
Take the Square, 2013
Ствары парк. Сумесная праца дзеля супольнасцi
June 17.-21.2013 the participants from Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and other countries will work together to create a new park for Lublin.
We, people from Luhansk, Hrodna region, Minsk, Berlin Warsaw and Lublin live and work together. During the week we create a public space, a new park for Lublin. If the city belongs to its people we have to decide how it should be organized. We return from Lublin with new experiences and knowledge and we are looking forward to applying it in our home-cities.
Participants: Alevtyna Sokhina, Olha Hutsalo, Anastasiia Huzenko, Anhelina Razinkova, Andrii Romanenko, Artem Kolosov, Vladimir Oros, Veranika Shchurouskaya, Volha Pachykouskaya, Valiantsina Markewich, Tamara Kazlouskaya, Tatsiana Keznun, Maryia Zenkevich, Liudmila Hradzitskaya, Iryna Artmoshyna, Hellena Bykova, Katja Iwanowskaja, Sylwia Handzik, Natalia Manaуenkova, Alla Shitikava, Jeanna Kroemer, Igor Znyk, Darja Lis, Aleg Lis, Tamara Lis, Malgorzata Przegalinska, Paulina Borowka, Justyna Kapeluszna, Dorota Florek, Aneta Zienkiewicz, Dorota Kowalska, Marina Naprushkina, Martin Althamer, Pawel Althamer and other.
Wall text, 2013
Exhibition view: “Unrest of Form / Imagining the Political Subject”, Wiener Festwochen
Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna
Text (PDF EN)
Text (PDF DE)
The newspaper Self#governing is made up almost entirely of drawings by the artist, and is disseminated by activists from Belarusian NGO “Nash doom” as a means of calling for political involvement and citizen participation.
Marina Naprushkina, Office for Anti-Propaganda,
The Emperor Is Naked, lecture-screening, 23 min.
Contribution to FORMER WEST
Fortunately, it seems, I won’t have to answer the usual questions: I founded the Office for Anti-Propaganda, which should make it clear to anyone that this talk is about politics. Many won’t recognize any art in my activities with the Office. And some expect more political commitment from me. Still others are interested in learning “terrible things” about the dictatorial regime in Belarus: it provides one with the comforting feeling that hell is elsewhere.
People’s Artist, 2012
Dear Art, MSUM – Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova Ljubljana (SLO)
Home Aerobic, 2012
Домашняя аэробика, 2012
KKA, Galerie ArtPoint
In the summer of 2011 during the so called „silent protests“ 2.000 people had been arrested in Belarus. This time the repressions of the government did not only reach the oppositionals but a big part of the population. Many of the imprisoned people did not participate in the protest activities which where launched via social media but had been randomly attacked on their way home by the militia. Photographs of the brutal arrests flooded the internet often showing women which were not able anymore to escape. The claimed borders between the public and the private presented themselves in quite a cruel manner.
KW, 7th Berlin Biennale
Self # governing
A Newspaper by Marina Naprushkina Known in Western democracies as “the last European dictatorship”, Belarus became an independent country after the collapse of the USSR. It has been under the authoritarian rule of President Alexander Lukashenko since 1994. For years now he has used repression as a political tool against the opposition; civilians are at the mercy of the whims of the military, the Internet is under surveillance, and there is barely any free press. This is arguably the high price that the population has to pay for Lukashenko’s alleged, much-touted “stability” for the entire country.
Marina Naprushkina works in close collaboration with key figures of the cultural and political scene in Belarus in order to strengthen democratic processes in the country. 2011 saw the first edition of Naprushkina’s newspaper, Self # governing, whose aim is to develop future models for Belarus outside of the bloc-building confines of the EU or Russia. The newspaper’s Russian edition was widely circulated in Belarus thanks to the efforts of many activists. The second edition of the paper analyzes the patriarchal, masculinist system of government in Belarus. It shows how women themselves unwittingly perpetuate this model, and possibilities for changing the situation. Considering the recent wave of protest and resistance across the globe, Self # governing can be read – and used – as a guide for daring to think about political alternatives worldwide.
Project partners: Kalmar Konstmuseum (SE); Krytyka Polityczna (PL); Olga Karatch // Nash dom (BY); Marina Naprushkina and Irina Solomatina, Institute of Future// Belarus; Tobias Weihmann (DE)
What is sympathy? A well-meaning understanding, with no strings attached. Can there be solidarity without sympathy? And what actually needs to happen for sympathy to turn into solidarity? Solidarity implies a shared responsibility. Solidarity demands action.
For its Solidarity Action Kalmar Konstmuseum joins forces with the 7th Berlin Biennale on a project by Belarusian artist Marina Naprushkina. For us at the museum, it’s about the question—the choice—of what an (art) institution is. Perhaps even more, it’s about what it could be. As an institution we can choose between assuming the role of endorsing the dominant ideology, or seeing ourselves as a forum for public conversation, a platform for discussion. We could be a place to generate an alternative way of thinking.
To be prepared to meet the future, it is critical that we get to know our neighbors in the global community. For us, solidarity with the Berlin Biennale is a given. With Artur Żmijewski’s curatorial concept, it has become an exhibition that shows art’s potential to contribute to the formation of Europe’s common future. It’s a view of art that sees the art institution as not just an immobile commentator, but believes in the possibility of influencing events. It’s about the conviction that we shouldn’t passively observe the changes in the world around us, but that we can work actively as an institution to support democratization processes.
Text by Martin Schibli
Wealth for all, 2011
Installation view “Scenarios about Europe”
Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst,
With the installation, the artist Marina Naprushkina reveals the contradictory juxtaposition of official publicity and the reality of everyday life. She opens up a disturbing view of a selective propaganda in practice. Naprushkina shows parts of a rapid municipal modernization, which primarily serves representative purposes. The construction sites of beautiful new buildings are covered with tarpaulins showing the impressive finished results of large projects – the national library, shopping malls, memorials. From other countries in a similar state of transition she reveals evidence of a restructuring of the system that is often of an extremely dubious nature. The artist took the title of the video, “Wealth for All” from the slogan of Gregor Gysi’s election campaign in 2009. Naprushkina translated three speeches by German politicians (Angela Merkel, Guido Westerwelle, Oskar Lafontaine) and had people in Belarus read them out in front of the camera in their homes or in semi-private places. With pathos, respect for the authors of the texts or attempts to adapt what they are reading to Belarusian reality, the readers of the texts react to the comments that affect them so closely and yet are so far removed from them. Here also, Gysi’s slogan “Wealth for All”, which is meant to apply to everyone in a democratic sense, has no relation to the real circumstances.
Not only in Eastern and Southeastern areas of Europe, but also in the west, places connected with consumerism, luxury or (supposed) quality are often given the label of ‘Europe’. In Minsk, the capital of Belarus, the newly constructed five-star hotel “Europa” towers above the city centre. Apart from superficialities, however, declarations of a belief in Europe are rare, and depend upon current political wiles. Continue reading
General plan, 2011
The Centro Cultural Montehermoso,
Vitoria-Gasteiz City (SP)
General plan, 2011
Video, 32 min.
Belarus in figures, 2009-2011
Installation view Drifting Station,
Open Space, Vienna (A)
Belarus in Figures is a serial of diagrams, which are compiled from the numbers taken from the annually statistical reference book „Belarus in figures“. This book provides information on the socio-economic situation in the Republic of Belarus and is put together by the National Statistical Committee, the institution which is a part of the authoritarian system build up by the Belarus government. The figures should give the right and proved information about the agricultural produce, industrial products, education, number of employed, the population size and should provide a very stable image of Belarus State to its citizens. The diagrams done by Naprushkina pretend to be the real official diagrams, a part of state propaganda. These diagrams show the forged results and demonstrate how the state manipulates its institutions.
2010 Fokus Lodz Biennale
In Lodz the industrialisation of the city took place in the 19th century about big cotton spinning mills and weaving mills. More than 30 such large-scale enterprises stamped the town and were an essential employer for hundred thousands of people. With the transfer of the textile production from Europe to Asia these factories died in the west, the socialist system held many of these companies in Lodz, however, also after the 2nd world war alive. With the introduction of the market economy in Poland even these last factories died. The city has not recovered from it till this day. Marina Naprushkina wakes the former factory Eskimo again to life, by installing a light-box above the entrance, thus as the factory has managed the transformation process of today‘s Poland.
The president’s platform, 2007
300 x 700 x 200cm
The president’s platform, 2009
300x 700x 200cm
The President’s Platform (2007) might be mistaken for a minimalist sculpture, but is actually a copy of the platform owned by the present government of Belarus, whose leader is Alexander Lukashenko. For important events the platform is set up, as
a propagandistic instrument to glorify his statesmanship and divert attention from politics. The absurdity of this solitary red pedestal reflects on the excessive use of the term ‘platform’ as an imaginary basis for dialogue and freedom of speech, whilst
at the same time this freedom of speech is stifled in most ‘democratic’ societies. The stage also makes reference to the exhibition as a space where subjects that are otherwise suppressed can be discussed and reflected upon in a way that is beyond real
Belarus MTZ-50, 2008
Installation view “Friction and Conflict -
cultural influence and exchange in Northeast Europe”
Kalmar konstmuseum, Kalmar/Sweden
During the exhibition a tractor Belarus MTZ-50 was placed in front of the museum building. This tractor was produced more than 20 years ago in the plant “Minsk Tractor Works” (MTW) in Minsk, capital of Belarus. Today about 30 000 peaple work there. The company is the pride of the country. The products are sold worldwide. The countries where the tractor “Belarus” is well-known are Russia, Iran, China and Venezuela. This tractor became a perfect propaganda object.
Belarus today, 2008
video 4 min.
The Belarusian newspaper “Belarus today”, which formerly titled “The worker” is the Central organ of the state propaganda in Belarus, its production is supported by the administration of the president of Belarus.
In the video five working class people are reading out loud „Belarus today”.
The artist takes on the role of a curator- the teacher of contemporary ideology of Belarus, the person who organizes an “Information hour” in schools, institutions and working places according to all ideological state instructions.
We are Belarus!, 2007
330 x 180cm
The original posters were invented by the national advertising agency of Belarus, produced in a large number of copies and posted up all over the country. The posters aim at creating a new Belarusian identity and supporting a patriotic mentality. Carefully reproduced but placed in a different surrounding by Marina Naprushkina, the deeply propagandistic character of the posters is revealed.
video, 18 min.
The video documents an intervention in public space. Naprushkina buys a portrait of President Alexander Lukashenko in a bookshop in Minsk. Following that Naprushkina crosses Minsk with the president’s portrait and strolls through the biggest streets and over the most important squares of the city; the walk lasts from morning into evening. Back at home the portrait is attached to the wall. The national anthem is played, Naprushkina is standing at attention. The action could be seen as a response to the article 368, part 2 of the Criminal Code (insult to the President of the Republic of Belarus).
250 x 356cm
Installation view “Where the east ends”
Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden