Moving through the dark forest, I fell and suddenly feel alive
idea, permormer - Irina Gulyakina; choreographer – Tanya Melnikova
Author's text:
In the performance, I explore the concept of trauma formally, through the material of medical gypsum. First, I cover my body with gypsum and then, through movement, micro-injury of the skin, I destroy the created shell. I am also interested in the sound - the crackling of gypsum, falling pieces of material on the floor, the sound of the body, which is covered by the gypsum, in the contact with the floor through movement.
I was inspired by many stories of researchers of the body and its ability to recover: athletes, dancers, ideologists of new bodily practices and rehabilitation systems - many of them went through traumas, sometimes incompatible with life.
Why, in order to discover something unimaginable in the body, it is necessary to get out of its closed comfort, to experience catharsis? And what are these possibilities?

Author, performer: Irina Gulyakina
Choreographer: Tatiana Melnikova ( )
Camera, editing: Ivan Levshin

Performance was created in May 2021
Performance was showed at 27.11.2021 in Gallery 22, Moscow

Philipp Shuvalov (artist, critic)
— I watched live in the gallery 22 performances by Irina Gulyakina "Moving through the dark forest, I fell and suddenly came to an indescribable revival." Forest - black room - endless emptiness. A female figure is moving tensely in it. Safely kneads any mixture - dough or plaster. She covers this mixture of her own body and at the same time creates a white circle around herself. Perhaps she is looking for protection from something. Freezes. The mixture that covered it dries and binds it. The body moves, the muscles contract, looking for room to move. In a gradually intensifying ecstatic dance, the woman tries to shake off this constricting crust. In the finale, she rolls on the floor and falls dead. All this happens in silence, without musical accompaniment, influencing only the influence of the performer. The performance in the case is really a theatrical performance, a small one-act ballet, a performance in a rehearsed dance space. But also this dance of servants for the emancipation of the body. Here, its enslavement is manifested in a clear way - the thickness of the dried gypsum. Modern representations are observed in an awkward position. It's as if you were in a dark forest, faced with something incomprehensible and even terrible, with someone who turned out to be in need of your help, but you can't do anything, you can't help anyone. You, too, find yourself shackled by a thick plaster, covered with a crust, from which it may not happen. Perhaps the performance itself is an attempt to withdraw from everyday conditions, the presence and limitations that grow on us as we grow up, and which we can throw off only with death.
Alfiya Shamsutdinova (performance artist, dance therapist)
— The name immediately draws a certain scene in my imagination, right with the scenery and history. I enter the performance space and the first silent scene seems to justify my expectations: I see a theatrical setting with black walls, prepared props and I'm already going to listen to the stories.
Very soon, my expectations in the best sense of the word will not be justified. I become so focused (at the expense of your attention) on the action that the mental pictures stop seeking entertainment for themselves with a shared coherent story. I am only briefly distracted by "maybe there is some story after all" when you begin to ritually create a circle on the floor.
I am completely in the moment. Together with you. I like how slowly you do every action. I love the feeling that you know what you are doing and what you will do. At the same time, at the subtlest level of attention, this is a very beautiful moment: I feel that you know what you will do, but at the same time I feel that your attention remains in the moment, does not jump forward, the pupil does not run.
It is amazing how quickly and how amazingly a freshly liquid substance turns into a firmament. I was waiting for this moment. I knew it would. But I did not think that it would be so exciting: the texture, the nature of splitting off from the body, the amusing sound. At the same time, a living body under this layer, which is difficult, which can be hurt by what amuses me so much as a spectator. The honest breathing I hear, along with the amusing sound of cast feathers falling off, creates a complex feeling. A beautiful scene and a body placed in difficult conditions. Such an interesting, simple and complex material is gypsum. Everything is as simple and complex as life itself.
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