Ilmira Bolotyan

National self-identification

In the project ‘National self-identification’, the audience who does not know the artist is asked to define her ethnicity, based on her picture en face and in profile, and to comment on their choice in a short feedback form. Referring exclusively to the external features like the shape of eyes, nose, lips, skin and hair color, the audience could not help but fall for the national stereotypes they have never thought about. The results were displayed on the stand, referring the audience to both the wall of honor and the ‘WANTED’ poster. This game of ideas is grounded in provocation – biographically, the artist may have more than one answer to the questions like ‘where are you from?’ or ‘what’s your nationality?’ or ‘where did you live?’, but none of them would be correct. So, the artist ‘uncovered the subconscious mechanisms of our opinion about national identity’ and identification, showing their apparent subjectivity.

In 2015 the project was included in the group exhibition “East. Deconstruction”, which was shown within the special project of the 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art.