A.S.: RINA, YOUR LATEST EXHIBITION ENGAGES IN DIALOGUE WITH “THE GIRLS, A BOOK FOR YOU” BY SOFYA MOGILEVSKAYA, A MANUAL FROM 1962 THAT TEACHES GIRLS HOW TO BE A PERFECT HOUSEWIFE. BUT WOMEN’S ROLE IN SOCIETY HAS RESHAPED SINCE THEN AND THE RUSSIAN PUBLIC SEEMINGLY NO LONGER EXPECTS WOMEN TO DO HOUSEHOLD LABOR. SO WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PARTICULAR BOOK?
R.V.: To be honest, I’m fascinated with books such as this one by Sofya Mogilevskaya, to scare you even more I collect housekeeping books from the soviet period. And I’m a huge Martha Stewart fan. Thank you for seeing it as a dialogue and not as a mere critique. I’ve approached this sort of material ever since my early university years. The first book I’ve released depicted my little journey from a loser goth girl (that I proudly still consider myself to be) to a perfect Russian woman culminating with a wedding. It was more of a straightforward statement that still managed to have some fun colliding soviet and “Cosmopolitan” aesthetics. But the truth is, who doesn’t want a manual, right? Then there was the charm book for girls “5 demons.” It was the moment I started looking for the formats that have already contained the empowering potential but have been heavily indoctrinated, creating this bizarre contradiction of content and form, that I am interested in. Mogilevskaya’s book for girls is the essence of this idea. I’m pretty sure, it was Lyuba [Sautina — ed.], who came with this particular book. Wouldn’t it be great to have a single book that could assist you on your way of gaining control over your life? Cooking, housekeeping, gardening are the survival skills, aren’t they? The devil’s in the language. If the book is truly for girls, then why is it all about pleasing men? I’m not projecting any certain opinion, even though I obviously have one, but my opinion doesn’t matter. I am no activist. This inner dissonance is what we picked up and worked with.