Konstantin Adjer Valeriy Ayzenberg Pawel AlthamerJohanna Billing Sonia BoyceVaast Colson Didier Courbot Honoré d’O ESCAPE program Yevgeniy FiksVadim Fishkin Alberto Garutti Jens HaaningJeanne van Heeswijk IRWINSuchan Kinoshita Jiri Kovanda Yuri Leiderman and Andrei SilvestrovAnton Litvin Liza Morozova Roman Ondak Adrian Paci Cesare Pietroiusti R.E.P.Andrei Silvestrov Shimabuku SOSkaTanzLaboratorium Moniek Toebosch Jaan Toomik Luca Vitone
Jeanne van Heeswijk, Ilya Budraytskis, Marcel van der Meijs

Born 1965 in Schijndel, the Netherlands / lives and works in Rotterdam



Living Portraits of Unspoken Realities

Jeanne van Heeswijk`s project was realized  with a participation of Ilya Budratskis, an activist, and Marcel van der Meijs, a researcher.

Participants about the project: "‘Living Portraits of Unspoken Realities’ uses the populist and public tradition of living sculptures – a theatrical tradition dating back to the tableaux vivants of the Middle Ages – to depict social and racial injustice, as well as economic hardship, thereby conveying a realist message of social or political protest in form of popular entertainment and edged with satire.

Each of these portraits of silent reality is performed and displayed in a public space, they are theatrical reflections on the daily situation. These staged portraits are reminders of the marginalized, poor, and disenfranchised social groups, who are the unspoken victims of neo-liberal reforms. They also ponder the possibilities of overcoming victimhood, by suggesting a monumental focus point for the voiceless and disconnected – who might need to be united into conscientious communities.

Each of the represented groups is dependent on the state and is accustomed to counting on its help and support.  They are accustomed to be patient, and only in a situation of extreme desperation, will quietly beg for help. But their voice is not heard. Placed near the releated ministeries of Education, Interior and Labour and Social affairs, our sculptures are a reminder that one day this silence must be broken, that the  day to day struggles for better and more just condition should be the monuments of today.

Hunger for Knowledge

Russian teachers are among the worst off professional groups in the country. Having made it through the post-Soviet 1990s, they have again become victims of an economic experiment. The introduction of the new wage system has resulted in a sharp decline of teachers’ incomes, and the state schools’ transition to a market economy is depriving them of all sense of confidence in the future.

Game Boy

The façade of official patriotism is hiding the plight of Russian officers. For years, their families have lived in cramped dormitories, and have almost given up hope of ever getting a normal apartment. They face low salaries and now the constant threat of cuts resulting from the ongoing military reform, all of which leave employees of the State to an uncertain fate.

Cornerstone of society

Against the backdrop of the government rhetoric about “raising the birth rate,” there are methodical cuts in social support for young families. Paltry benefits to mothers go through the frequently dishonest hands of employers, and maternity leave has been reduced to the bare minimum. Affordable kindergarten places have all but disappeared. The birth and care of children has become a private concern of individuals and families, making parents into weak players in a culture of ruthless market competition.


No right is more suppressed than the right to publicly claim one’s rights. Any attempt to break the silence protesting immediately encounters the massive state machine of interdictions. Police is the instrument of suppression, and it progressively feels less constrained by laws and more inclined to repression".

Jeanne van Heeswijk, Ilya Budraitskis, Marcel van der Meijs

Living Portraits of Unspoken Realities, the opening, Moscow, 2011
Living Portraits of Unspoken Realities, the opening, Moscow, 2011
Living Portraits of Unspoken Realities, the opening, Moscow, 2011
Moscow museum of modern art