My body is a Cage

7 March 2024 - 14 April 2024
Ruarts Foundation

The Ruarts Foundation presents a personal exhibition of ceramics by Annushka Brochet that looks at deep philosophical and social themes related to concepts of imaginary and genuine freedom, bodily entrapment, control and inner will. The artist expresses the idea that rather than depending on the shackles of external circumstances, true freedom is born from within, and creativity is a constant attempt to invent new forms of existence and liberation.

 In the project ‘My body is a Cage’ Brochet uses the female body as a symbol, associating it with white porcelain and earthenware to reflect its beauty and fragility. In milky ceramic forms Brochet sees the same semi-matte, mesmerising surface that you might want to touch and stroke, but with extreme care. The process of transforming and acquiring a human aspect provided the basis for the exhibition. Moreover, as the forms become ‘humanised’, the ropes pull tighter. Traces of lace underwear on the surface of the vessels resemble imprints on living skin, serving as a reminder of physicality and intimacy, as well as the vulnerability of the human body. 

Gilles Deleuze emphasized the fundamental relationship between a work of art and an act of resistance. In his opinion each work transforms the ‘social body’. Turning to the Japanese art of shibari adds an additional layer of meaning, allowing Brochet’s work to be viewed through the prism of aesthetics and eroticism. For Annushka shibari is the practice of achieving absolute social freedom through emancipation of the mind, under conditions of the violent restriction of bodily freedom. In this brutal act pain and pleasure are intertwined. Voluntary binding paradoxically makes it possible to attain a more conscious perception of one’s own will and freedom. “The body is my cell, but inside this cell there’s a place for the absolute freedom that will inevitably break out and take flight,” says Annushka Brochet.

The ceramic works showcased for the exhibition were created for the programme Friends of the Vaults Club, in the Vaults studios at the Centre for Artistic Production, GES-2 House of Culture.

Annouchka Brochet was born in 1967 in Moscow. In 1987, the artist graduated from the Kalinin Moscow Art and Industrial College. In 1994 — from the Polygraphic Institute, with a specialization of the graphic artist. In 2015, she received a special jury prize at the International Biennale of Ceramics in South Korea (Gyeonggi GICB). Brochet is a member of the Moscow Union of Artists, in the book graphic section. She is a participant in such exhibitions as ŽEN d’ART. Gender History of Art in the Post-Soviet Space: 1989–2009 (MMOMA, 2010), Decoration of the Beautiful (State Tretyakov Gallery, 2012), International Women’s Day. Feminism: From the Vanguard to the Present Day (Museum and Exhibition Center Manege, Worker and Kolkhoz Woman, 2013). Annouchka Brochet works in various media — sculpture, graphic, installation, painting; actively uses ceramics as a material. The primary subjects of her artistic statements are the cult of beauty, the ideology of consumption, the feminine in art and society. Annushka Brochet worked in the Komi Republic as a curator and artist on the special project ‘Collaboration’ for the first Komi Biennale of Contemporary Art, and also at the Russian Ethnographic Museum in St. Petersburg.