Elena Kovylina, Waltz, 2001
Elena Kovylina

Part of the radical Moscow Actionism in the 1990s, Elena Kovylina (*1971, Russia) developed her own method of staging scenarios with extreme precision. She completed most of her studies in Zurich and Moscow in the 1990s and began studying under Rebecca Horn at the Berlin University of the Arts in 2000. Kovylina regularly holds performances all over the world (Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg) and exhibits her work, amongst others, at Moskow Museum of Modern Art and Moskow's Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.

In this performance, Elena Kovylina asks members of the audience to waltz with her while she becomes increasingly drunk in a kind of militaristic initiation ritual. Her dancing partners are chivalric at first, but later they have to help her stay on her feet. Kovylina sees this performance as a symbol for a forced ‘reconciliation’ between Russians and Germans and as a subtle commentary on a supposed cliché in the 1990s that the ‘Russian Woman’ was willing to use her body as an instrument for the growth of the Russian economy.

Courtesy Elena Kovylina

Document media
Video, colour, sound, 6:00 min

Issue date

body control, dance/choreography, exhaustion, post-communism, stereotypes