Gluklya (Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya, b.1969) uses clothing, video, text and “social research” as tools to build connections between art and everyday life. Gluklya embraces the personal stories of her characters, analyzing them and revealing conflict between political systems and personal inner worlds. She constructs situations that allow encounters to take place among people from different social groups. Her work explores topics of social exclusion, untapped intuitive knowledge and societal stereotypes. Considered as a pioneer of Russian performance art, Gluklya is a co-founder of the Factory of Found Clothes (FFC) and the group Chto Delat (What is to be done?). In 2012, FFC became The Utopian Unemployment Union (UUU), a project that unites art, social science, and progressive pedagogy to give people from all social backgrounds an opportunity to make art together.
Today, the artist participates in many international shows including the 56th edition of the Venice Biennale, main Arsenale curated by Okwui Enwesor (2015) and Positions-4 at the Van Abbemuseum (2018-19) curated by Charles Esche. She has been awarded numerous art prizes and grants, including a Fellowship from the Joseph Brodsky Memorial Fund in 2014 and support for recent projects through the Mondriaan Fund. Gluklya divides her time between Amsterdam and St. Petersburg.
The place of the artist is on the side of the weak.
Weakness makes a person human, and it is by overcoming weakness that heroes are born.
We do not extol weakness, but rather appeal to kindheartedness and humanity. The time has come to return compassion to art! Compassion is an understanding of the weakness of others and a joint victory over that weakness. You cannot call it sentimentality.
It is Freedom standing on the barricade with naked breast, defending the child in each of us!
You say that art is only for the very smart, that it’s an intellectual game? That there is no place left for true impact, that strong emotions belong exclusively to Hollywood? It’s not true! Because in that case, art would be meaningless, cold, incapable of extending a helping hand.
Art is not an abstract game but an adventure; not cold rationalism, but live emotion. The artist is not a mentor or tutor, but a friend; not a genius, but an accomplice. Rather than enacting didactic social projects, we must help people to stop fearing themselves, help them to accept themselves and grow better. Society is made up of people. Only by helping these people follow the path of self transformation, do we change society.
There is no other way.