"Motherland exchange", 14 International Fair "Art-Frankfurt",
Frankfurt-on-Main, Germany

Curator's Choice presents Moscow
ESCAPE: Motherland exchange


The project looks like a silvery-grey tent resembling fortune-tellers' tents, which were at the Fairs everywhere in the past. A banner-slogan that read "Motherland Exchange" was fixed above the entrance. Six video monitors were placed along the perimeter of the tent instead of windows. The public, walking around the monitors, watched non-stop interviews with people of different age, sex, and nationality, who were conversing about what Native Land for them actually was.

The interior of the tent looked absolutely different. The floor was covered with a rough layer of loose earth, and a luminescent neon flex was fixed on it making a spiral path. A solemn music was on.

Visitors could come in only one at a time, with their eyes blindfolded, after getting instructions at the entrance and having paid a symbolic amount of 1 Euro. As the tent symbolized our common Native Land (Motherland) -the Vagina, inside the tent a naked woman (Female artist Liza Morozova) met the visitor. She was accomplishing a psychotherapy initiation-performance with visitors, and they were finding a new, inner Motherland. The artist asked visitors to tell her their names, took their hands and invited them for a journey. Slowly she led them to the centre of the tent, where they "recovered their eyesight". Then she gave them a handful of earth in a plastic bag as a newfound Motherland. After that she led them to the exit.


The project "Motherland exchange" of the Escape group draws our attention to the concept of Native Land. The Globalization era, a totality of means of mass communication, transparency of borders, disappearance of the idea of one particular place of residence for a person, disappearance of national currencies, etc. bring fourth the changes in self-identification of a human personality. Today the Native Land concept has new features, which are different from traditional, national, and geographic paradigms, but it is rather turned inside a person. In the way our body serves as a "packaging" of the inner Native Land, the newfound Land in a plastic bag can be taken along anywhere, for now "My Native land is Me!"

Though the concept of Motherland is an eternal issue, today it is of current interest due to the endless flow of refugees from Chechnya and Kosovo, as well as to the political discussions about the deportation of Germans from the territory of the former Czechoslovakia, laws on emigrants and debates on refugees in Germany.
It is this actuality that was sensually and intelligently performed in the new project of the ESCAPE group, and a crowd of visitors in front of the tent was, among other factors, a good proof of this.

Sandra Frimmel "Art Journal" # 45, 2003.

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