The Kitsch Glitch

My artistic practice takes an experimental approach in presenting cancer as a bodily glitch. This includes a practice-based exploration and an analysis of my Russian cultural heritage.

My culture acts as a driving force, as my practice explores the subject of Soviet Kitsch, and how it was used to camouflage Stalin’s intent for Communism and instigate propaganda. This era plays an influential role on how a restricted Stalinist mentality pervades society and affected my mother’s experience with breast cancer. This connection is directly reflected in the practical outcome of my work: I intentionally choose bold, kitsch materials and colours to reference Russian history and its motifs to contest the shame and stigma present within Russian culture. The denial of disability and illness, and blatant stigma and shame projected onto individuals who suffer from any ailment is the reason why my mother was ostracized from her own family when she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. This is a societal glitch in its own form.

My practice-based outputs continuously challenge Foucault’s medical gaze and its restrictive perspective on a patient’s bodily autonomy, whilst using the new notions of glitch and kitsch theory to guide both my research and practical outputs. My work is therefore a successful avenue through which to camouflage uncomfortable subjects and create a visceral and aesthetically pleasing experience of them. As a result, my work could be considered as a positive rendition of “cancerous propaganda”.