Vika Begalska (°1975)
The Moscow-based Begalska was born in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. After graduating from the prestigious State Academy for Design and Art in Kharkov she has continued her artistic career in Kharkov in the circle of artists working with photography, such as Boris Mihaylov and Sergei Bratkov. In 2000 she moved to Moscow, and has been associated with the Russian art scene since.
Vika Begalska became well-known to the public by her provocative video works which are referred to the performance tradition of the 70s and 80s and which the artist interpreted in her own way in the post-soviet atmosphere of the 2000s. Her famous series "From Bottom to Top", «firstname.lastname@example.org», a documentation of "40 Years Later" performance dedicated to the crack action "Genital Panic" of 1996 by Austrian artist VALIE EXPORT, reveal the theme of feminine identification from the perspective of sensuous erotism and intentional female weakness. Juggling artfully in her video projects with the notions of the sublime and the platitude, Vika attempts to research the stereotype of the gender roles without trying to impose on the viewer any subjective opinion regarding the issues of discrimination against women. Playfully putting on the mask of a silent object of repression and men's lust, and at the same time being wary of any strict judgement, she quite ironically examines the limits of female sensuality on the background of the values of the new bourgeois society. […]
In 2004 Vika Begalska turned to a new medium - painting. However, unlike her socially oriented videos and performances, her pictorial art is utterly sensuous and emotional. It reflects the abundance of personal motives and reveals a profound knowledge of the avant-garde's psychohistory and painting which appear to be the areas of her inspiration. Fauvism, Abstract Expressionism and "The New Wild" make the backbone of her aesthetics overlapped with a schizophrenically exciting range of colours, play of colour fields, fetishization of genital organs, and exaggerated feminine erotism which Begalska deliberately brings to the boiling point. Using the images which appear to be beyond the bounds of decency the artist in a detached manner contemplates how her expressionistic game fits in the extremely limited system of bourgeois values. Begalska masterfully affects this perception to the limit where the category of sublime turns into that of disgust.
In 2012, together with Oksana Sarkisian launched a collective project "The union of sex workers" which grew into the FEMINIST KITCHEN, an art platform integrating artistic and social projects aimed against social injustice and the subordinate role of the woman in the society.
In 2014 Begalska founded an artistic project ‘Teresa Creative Union of sex-workers and artists’, in partnership with Alexandr Vilkin and Diana Portlend, St. Petersburg.
Her group and individual expositions took place at the sites of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, the Latvian National Museum of Art, the Kunsthalle Wien, the Lyublyana Museum of Contemporary Art, the Central House of Artists, the Zverev Centrse of Modern Art, and others.
Alexander Vilkin (°1982)
Was born in Snezhinsk, Russia. After graduating from Chelyabinsk Art College he continued his studies at Northwestern Institute of Printing Arts, St. Petersburg and at “Base” Institute, Moscow. Since 2005 has been living and working in St-Petersburg, RU.
In 2006 founded an art-group "Prosthetics" in cooperation with Mezheritskiy and Ushenko and participated in the creative alliance “Parasite”, St. Petersburg.
In 2014 founded a creative art group of artists and sex-workers "Teresa" in cooperation with Vika Begalska and Diana Portland, St. Petersburg. Has been cooperating with Vika Begalska since, experimenting with different media, but mostly in the technique of painting.