Bingo: Before Art by Alena Levina

My project for an online residency is called “Bingo: Before Art”.

The project is dedicated to the invisible work of the artist, and is centered around working with cliches and myths that envelop the artist’s work.

When it comes to the career of an institutionally recognized author, the public is interested in the directions, mediums, concepts. It is also interesting for the viewer to look into artist’s studio. Take a look at the process of creating art from the inside.

During the covid crisis, many artists had to leave their studios with their perfect mess and continue working at home. Even outside of the covid reality, many artists cannot afford to work in a studio. They allocate a table or a corner in their apartment, which they share with their family or neighbors. 

Work at home dissolves into the flow of housework: washing, cooking, garbage collection, ironing, washing floors. It is not customary to talk about this in the art community, it is not discussed at receptions at vernissages. But this, among other things, is the work of an artist, and most often it is the work of a female artist. Her cybernetic body grows into household items, into devices for creating cleanliness.

I ask: is it possible to overcome this vicious circle of domestic labor? Is it possible to overcome the romantic stereotype of the artist’s figure in the public consciousness?

The project consists of 6 drawings, looped in the timelapse format, the sounds of a working washing machine, iron, floor cleaning and washing dishes. This Dadaist symphony of machines immerses into the real world of the artist’s life. In contrast with the image and sounds, the text of the poem that I wrote sounds, having previously collected from my Instagram followers those cliches that are used to describe the artist’s work. To add pathos to the work and depersonalize the reader, I used the speech of a voice assistant on my smartphone. 

The name of Bingo “before art” comes from the popular format of checklists on social networks.

An artist is a genius, a dreamer, an unearthly figure.
They neither sleep nor eat, they create.
Ideas overwhelm their reason:
Concepts, percepts, affects.
An artist does not need money, they are grateful for small mercies.
They must be poor, but not in spirit.
An artist is mad –
Their brain does not follow reason,
The spirit of creativity is on their heels.
An artist advances into the unknown.

Sublime, gifted beyond their years.
Their lifestyle is bohemian.
Maniac, demiurge, creator.
Their name is visionary.
Servant of the muses, selfless, metaphysical,
Fickle, sensitive, vulnerable,
Free and light,
Brilliant, modern.


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