Born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Natalya Pershina‐ Yakimanskaya – also known as Gluklya – lives and works in both St.Petersburg and Amsterdam. At present, Gluklya works as a single artist, partly collaborating with Chto Delat?, which she co‐founded. In her projects, she uses conceptual clothes as a tool to build a connection between art and everyday life. Addressing the personal stories of her characters, she analyzes and makes visible the conflict between a person’s inner world and the political system.
Shortly after graduating from the Mukhina Academy of Art and De‐ sign, Gluklya co‐founded the artists’ collective the Factory of Found Clothes (FFC) with Olga Egorova (artist name Tsaplya). FFC uses installations, performance, video, text and ‘social research’ to develop the concept of ‘fragility,’ which is not ‘beauty,’ but invisible strength. The artist’s method of using ‘clothes’ is comparable with the idea of using ‘meals’ as a tool for developing new collaborations with communities outside the art world. This method encourages processes of self‐organization, giving all the participants equal status and allowing us to learn about the capacity of different minorities and marginal communities, coping with difficult life situations with the help of art.
Gluklya,Garden of Vigilant Clothes
AKINCI, Amsterdam, 2015
The multi‐layered installation Garden of Vigilant Clothes is a spatial adaptation of Gluklya’s performance for the Lopukhin Garden in St. Petersburg, Gluklya’s native city.* There, citizens have been fighting against the municipal government’s plans to privatize the park and build a hotel where now a traditional wooden house—the former residence of 19th‐century philanthropist and humanist Vasily Gromov—still stands. For Gluklya, the park is a place where art and society naturally meet. In the case of the disputed Lopukhin Garden, the nature of protest has entwined itself with organic nature, a vital element in Gluklya’s Garden of Vigilant Clothes. She quotes Russian scholar and writer Dmitry Likhachev: “Nature is social in its own way,” and uses this as a starting point for an ongoing research on the interconnection between botanic culture and human culture. In the Garden of Vigilant Clothes, Gluklya creates an actual symbioses between plants and humans, revealing their close relation and the social behavior of both species. After all, we influence each other as we are influenced by nature, and as we influence nature on our own terms as well. Balancing on the borders of art and humanism, public and private space, Gluklya considers both art and nature a boundless environment for imagination and experiment, offering all kinds of potential to improve society.
Gluklya, Psychoanalytical Cabinet of Colored
April 22, 2016 at De Appel, Amsterdam
The performance Psychoanalytical Cabinet of Colored was held during the opening of the exhibition UNTITLED (two takes on crisis) at De Apple Arts Centre in Amsterdam. It explores the therapeutic potential of art, while simultaneously calling classical psychoanalytic techniques into question. The visitor is invited to share a personal problem or frustration with the artist and the curator. In return, they offer a personal remedy. However, to be cured, the “patients” are expected to make an effort as well. The remedy suggested by the “therapists” can only be found in a specific and carefully selected place marked on a map. The visitor receives this map with personal instructions and is sent to find the remedy independently, allowing a thought provoking process that might change his or her own attitude toward the predicament.
Anna Battista: Garments as Private Narration, Garments as Public Political Banners: Gluklya’s Clothes for the Demonstration Against False Election of Vladimir Putin
Clothes transform, describe and define us, revealing what we are and often sending out messages to the people surrounding us. But, if garments are a form of non‐verbal communication, they can be used to silently tell the story of our lives, they help us explaining how we may feel on a day to day basis, and they could even be employed as political statements or banners to protest and make our voices heard. At least that’s what artist Natalya Pershina‐ Yakimanskaya—better known as Gluklya—suggests us. Born in Len‐ ingrad and dividing her time between Saint Petersburg and Amster‐ dam, Gluklya has developed quite a few projects moving from clothes and garments. Together with Olga Egorova (Tsaplya) she be‐ came a co‐founder in 1995 of artist collective The Factory of Found Clothes (FFC; in 2012 Gluklya took over the leadership of the group, while becoming also an active member of the Chto Delat?—meaning “What is to be done?”—platform). The collective was mainly set to tackle, through installations, performances, videos and social re‐ search, modern issues such as the dichotomy between the private and the public sphere or the position of marginal and liminal groups of people in our society.
In Gluklya’s practice clothes transform therefore into tools, elements that link and connect art and everyday life. In her latest installation currently on display at Venice’s Arsenale during the 56th
International Art Exhibition, the artist questions visitors about the legitimacy of Putin’s election. Derived from the FFC’s ongoing per‐ formance ‘Utopian Clothes Shop’ (2004‐), “Clothes for the demon‐ stration against false election of Vladimir Putin” (2011‐2015) con‐ sists in a series of garments hung on wooden posts, like ban‐
ners. Each garment is different from the other: there are white tutu‐ like tulle dresses and heavy coats in military green; partially burnt garments with slogans such as ‘Stop Slavery!’ and pieces decorated with prints or embroidered motifs; a dress with a large red rose ap‐ pliqued around the chest area tragically evokes blood, while black cones of fabric conceptually erupt from one simple white dress and a random valenki boot provides a temporary and surreal head for one of these silent protesting banners.
Chto Delat, A Declaration on Politics, Knowledge, and Art:
Demanding the (Im)possible
At this reactionary historical moment, when elementary demands for the possible are presented as a romantic impossibility, we remain realists and insist on certain simple, intelligible things. We have to move away from the frustrations occasioned by the historical failures to advance leftist ideas and discover anew their emancipatory potential. We say that it is natural for each person to be free and live a life of dignity. All that we have to do is to find the strength within ourselves to fight for this. The first thing that motivates us is the rejection of all forms of oppression, the artificial alienation of people, and exploitation. That is why we stand for a distribution of the wealth produced by human labor and all natural resources that is just and directed towards the welfare of everyone.
We are internationalists: we demand the recognition of the equality of all people, no matter where they live or where they come from.
We are feminists: we are against all forms of patriarchy, homophobia, and gender inequality.
aaaDocumentation of Chto Delat installations 2010-present
Interview to Gluklya and Tsaplya, The Russian Reader, 2008
Gluklya (Natalya Pershina-Yakimanskaya) @ Artissima
Section: Present Future
Gallery: AKINCI, Amsterdam