“You are supposed to be a girl” — these are the three words every woman is constantly hearing while she is growing up. Time after time, the repetitions of this phrase makes it turn into a life’s program, limiting and shaping the inner urge to follow someone’s set up rules rather than live a full life, self-confidently. “You’re supposed to be a girl” is subsequently replaced by a natural “a woman should” and thus gets to run in the family. Potential, with which any person, regardless of sex, may be endowed from birth, is ruthlessly cut up with the seamstress’s scissors. Talent, which always rebels against senseless tradition, has no opportunity to reveal itself. All this is decorated with bells and whistles of “the highest purpose” – or hammered to its crucifix? – and the bride is ready.

The artist from Almaty eternalized the fatally beaten phrase by forming a crucifix in a soiled towel. Handiwork, usually associated with painstaking craftsmanship, appears here to be deliberately rude – the unconsciously repressed Bad Girl broke loose and chopped up kitchen paper with a blunt ax (hitting someone’s fingers). Cloth, lace – usually a compliant material – were attacked a la Lucio Fontana, re-appropriating connotations of vaginal incisions. (Oxana Shatalova)

YOU ARE A GIRL, "Second Gender" exhibition