1539 Hubbard Street
The Head (Yakub Kolas For Detroit)
Nastassia Kotava smashed the giant head of Yakub Kolas into a cardboard box and sent it to Detroit.
Yakub Kolas is probably the most well-known Belarussian poet who the Soviet government canonized as “The Peoples Poet of Belarus.” Kotava had affectionately modeled a reproductive work after the Zair Azgur Monument to Kolas installed in the Yakub Kolas Square in her hometown of Minsk, Belarus. Working in her Paris studio, she replicated the size and features of the original work through careful study of photographs she had taken. Unlike Azgur's, which he sculpted in clay and cast in bronze Kotava's version is made of ripped-up magazine pages precariously stapled to each other, somehow holding together to keep the form. Then she shoved it all into a box and brought it to the post.
Nastassia said this work is like The Statue of Liberty because it is a monumental sculpture built in Paris and sent to America. Liberty was created as a message from the French to the Americans to extol their shared beliefs. Should Kotava's sculpture be seen as a message to us? Is there a shared belief between us held in her depiction of this long-deceased poet of Belarus? Is there a resolution to this monumental work in the dissonance of Kotava's sensitive craft on top of her tragically fragile design that can barely hold itself together?
Like much of Kotava's work, The Head (Yakub Kolas For Detroit) is as much a sadistic gift as it is a thoughtful statement. Creating a beauty that can only be a set up for tragedy, Kotava pulls a Belarusian icon, complicates it in unresolvable ways, and sends it to Detroit for us to ponder.
An opening reception will be held from 3-8 pm on Saturday, August 28th
Sculpture magazine review by Steve Panton
Nastassia Kotava (b. Minsk, Belarus) lives and works in Paris, France. She studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts under Claude Closky, Dominique Figarella, and Tatiana Trouvé. Her artistic practice oscillates between sculpture, drawing and performative gestures. Group exhibitions include Crû, curated by Lila Torquéo, Palais des Beaux-arts, Un Plus Grand Lac(2021), Espace Projectif (2020), a^b, Group Show curated by TZVETNIK at ISSMAG gallery, Moscow (2021), micro 2 exhibition, Art laundromat in a self-service laundromat (2019), Spooky show curated by Rafael Moreno and Thelma Capello (2019). The Whole is Always Smaller than its Parts, Bétonsalon (2017). Her work was displayed on Morris columns throughout Paris in collaboration with JCDecaux (2019). She has done solo projects with Beaux-Arts de Paris (2018 and 2020), and Emploifictif (2021). She was awarded the Artagon Horizon Scholarship for emerging artists (2021).