A white table, a white chair, and a white towel on the table, folded.
Elena Kovylina sits at the table. But she is elsewhere, in another world, in a world that knew about the war, in Leningrad in the winter of 1941-1942, when 3000 civilians died everyday of hunger. The individual food ratio at that time was 125 grams of bred (of which more than 50% was actually sawdust).
The performance is called 125 grams. Kovylina unfolds the towel. It contains 125 grams of dark bred. Very very slowly, over hours, Elena Kovylina eats the bred, crumble after crumble.
Her message? She called me in the afternoon, a few hours before the performance: “Tell them, that my message is about gratefulness, we don’t know about war, we don’t die of hunger, we enjoy every breath of life.”
It was both the simplest and the strongest performance I have ever seen in my life.
It was just one week before the Paris shooting.
The performance was hosted by VIDEOINSIGHT – the foundation of Rebecca Russo.
Rebecca Russo, in 2010, saw for the first time a video by Elena Kovylina on my booth @ MiART and fell in tears. Dying Swan : the video, since then, has been in her collection. The night of the performance, Rebecca Russo also showed a wide array of works by Elena Kovylina, along with Dying Swan: Shooting Gallery, Carriage, New Woman, Embedded Russian Souls, Egalité (Saint Petersbourg), and the latest one, Ze Zarya.
Click here for more information on the videos.
And to watch part of the performance, click here.