Belarusian artist Mikhail Gulin (born 1977 in Gomel) works across performance, installation and painting, and is well known for his open expression of his political views. His works are very ironic and self-reflective, as well as reflective of the everyday reality of Belarus, with it’s fears and complexes, phobias and stereotypes. M. Gulin seeks to engage the audience and the authorities in a dialogue in order to study the mechanisms by which different codes of contemporary culture might be combined, shifted and contrasted.
Fearlessness of the artist in the face of the regime has led to some of his works being banned from exhibiting in Minsk, as well as his participation in exhibitions being turned down for “political reasons”. He has also been detained because of his actions: his piece Personal Monument, which was organized and performed in the framework of an international project Going Public: About the Difficulties of Public Utterance, under the auspices of Goethe Institute, was successfully carried out in several areas of Minsk, but the artist and his assistants were arrested by the riot police when trying to carry out the piece in October Square. The sculpture was illegally seized, two volunteers were beaten, a false accusation was brought against the participants in the action, in opposition to the law enforcement bodies. The result was a trial, the artist and his assistants appeared before the court, but were acquitted.
Institute Goethe in Minsk called this action unauthorized and refused in legal and material support. The artist himself, despite his acquittal, was dismissed from his teaching position at the Belarusian National Technical University.
Mikchail Gulin has participated in a variety of Belarusian and international art exhibitions and projects: Belarusian Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennial, National Exhibition Centre BelExpo in Minsk, Arsenal Gallery in Białystok, Moscow Contemporary Art Biennial, performance art festival Simbolis in Plunge, Lithuania, Osnova Gallery in Moscow, International Art Symposium Alanika in Vladikavkaz (North Ossetia, Russia) and others. He has curated a variety of exhibitions and educational projects in Belarus, Russia and Georgia.