Moscow based art producer Kate Savchenko met with curator Aleksandr Blanar to chat about his sprawling exhibition “A Strong Desire”, he co-curated with Justin Polera at PS120 in Berlin. The show is exploring sexual identity and subcultures in the context of a capitalist society. In the curatorial statement, Christina Gigliotti writes that the exhibition, on view through August 26, “sets out to challenge heteronormativity and toxic masculinity by presenting artworks that examine a kind of deterritorialization from this – through reevaluating power structures, slipping through the cracks of gender constructs, and for some, ultimately escaping the material body altogether through dreams, fantasy, and altered states of mind.”
2. Your exhibition is full of emotionally and sexually charged works. What do you think are the feelings that it evokes within your visitors? For you, what would be an ideal feeling to leave the visitors with?
Many of the artworks explore the themes of sex, love and desires that disrupt the norm and give agenda to individuals typically marginalized. But while working on the exhibition “A Strong Desire” and then seeing it live, I have to say that sex was not the main theme of the show. It would rather be great if visitors get a feel of freedom, which for me is the main point of the exhibition. That you can be free, that you can be who you want to be. You can do something or do nothing and still it’s your lifestyle and it should be respected by everyone. We have a number of different artists at the show – from David Hockney and Tom of Finland to Daniel Topka and Dimitri Shabalin, and their practices are so different but they all are equal within the show, and should be so for our visitors. Yeas, I think the main feeling from our exhibition should be freedom – freedom from any stereotypes from expectations.
3. The works at the show are a mixture of media, generations and geographies. How do you track the line that brings them all together?
We knew exactly what we want from our exhibition and how it should look like. We were choosing the works which meet the mood of our exhibition. And one of our aims was to have a diversity- artists from different countries, different age, different style. When you are speaking about sexual identity, society and stereotypes we would like to show as many opinions as we could.
5. As someone coming from a country where queer is oppressed you must feel an urgency to discuss a number of certain topics. Are there any of such questions that you did not raise at the current show and would still like to talk about ?
Image: Courtesy of PS120