Yulia Arsen
Dance artist
Yulia Arsen is an interdisciplinary artist and choreographer who works at the intersection of dance, theater and contemporary art.

She studied contemporary dance in Munich (Iwanson) and in Kassel (SOZO vim) and later performed her own works in Radialsystem (Berlin), mumok (Vienna), SAAL Biennaal (Tallinn) and in other venues and festivals in Germany, Russia, Estonia, Ireland, Romania and Austria.

Making solos is her main art practice. In 2022 her solo ‘plastic bag’ was selected for the AEROWAVES Twenty 22 and in 2023 her solo ‘the whip’ was premiered on ImPulsTanz.

Along with producing solos, she has been actively developing tools that aim to push creative professionals of different backgrounds into 'making'. They were put together as a solo workshop that was invited to CNDB (Bucharest), Dance Limerick, and Tanzhouse Temporar (Kassel).
Another strong interest of hers is making pieces through laboratory processes with a mixed group of performers. She is inspired by unique bodies and the variety of backgrounds, their non-similarities, and the possibilities of being together.

Before the war, she was a resident at the Meyerhold Centre, Winzavod Centre for Contemporary Art, collaborated with V-A-C foundation as well as with various independent art institutions and theaters. She left Russia after the invasion of Ukraine in a disagreement with the government's actions in 2022. Now she is based in France.

The whip
This research was started from choosing the object to work with. The object that would balance between being a charged symbol and being a tool. So, it's the whip. It caused fear and disgust, already in the bare situation of the solo with an object.
What would be the strategies of finding the balance between these extremes? What would be my agency in this juxtaposition with a symbol of power and violence?
Arsen is constantly searching for balance between semiotic and affection, between whip as a symbol and whip as an unknown territory.

Supported by:
La Briqueterie - CDCN du Val-de-Marne (France), Station Service for contemporary dance and CC Magacin (Serbia), Percolate and Dance Limerick (Ireland), Dance Identity (Austria), SEANSE art center (Norway), ON/OFF on-line residency

Choreography and performance - Yulia Arsen
Music - Till Mertens
Outside eye - Nicole Seiler
Video - Yana Isaenko
Plastic bag
(premiered 2021)
Femininity is a product. A mass-produced product you can find in a store. Determined to achieve full-fledged femininity, Yulia Arsen goes to the shop with a plastic bag where she means to purchase it for a reasonable price.

Ironic, honest and intimate, in this piece Arsen plays with clichés about what it means to be a woman, and to examine your gender identity.

Choreography and performance - Yulia Arsen
Outer eye - Nastya Nikolaeva
Special thanks to the STANSIA art-residency for support.
Photos: Claudiu Popescu and Egor Gogen

TWENTY22 by Aerowaves https://aerowaves.org/artist/yulia-arsen/

7 cringe songs (June, 2021)
We see the performer wearing headphones and with a small package of props. A preset playlist of 7 songs is played in the headphones. The performer exists and acts according to the dramaturgy, which is prompted by the random sequence and mood of the tracks, personal intuition and lack of common sense.

It's a shame to love some songs, especially to do it publicly. It's very embarrassing to be an artist, especially to do it in a self-presentation format. Breaking through shame, awkwardness and cringe, the performer practices the openness and acceptance necessary to feel comfortable in the world of gallery art.

Viewers can scan the QR code and turn on this playlist. They can try to find the "right" track by deciphering the performer's actions, or they may listen in any order, watching how the audio context affects the interpretation of what is happening around: both related to this performance, and involuntarily included in it by the viewer himself.

Choncept and performance - Yulia Arsen
Curator and advisor -Alina Gutkina (Vasyarun)
WINZAVOD contemporary art center.

(september, 2021)

30 minutes

The multibillion-dollar industries are dedicated to the religion of ecstasy. The economy of altered states are created only to turn off self-awareness. To give us a few moments of rest from the voices continuously sounding in our mind and to reach the state of "flow".

"Know-how" is a term for practical knowledge about how to achieve something, as opposed to "know-what" (facts), "know-why" (science). Know-how is often implicit knowledge, which means that it can be difficult to convey to another person through writing or verbalization. This phenomenon also refers us to the concept of "wu-wei" - a state of flow described in Eastern philosophies and compared with the activity of an artist who acts instinctively, spontaneously, without thinking about the reasons.

As part of the performance, performers try to achieve a state of ecstasy, due to various practices that exist today. Meditation, excitement, rhythm - it's not entirely clear which of these may really work. Maybe there are no magic techniques, but there is only the artist's know-how and the desire to somehow transfer it to another.

Idea - Yulia Arsen
Performed by Semen Farina and Yulia Arsen
Dj set by Evgenia Rom
Mentored be Alina Gutkina (Vasya Run)
As a part of collective exibition WINZAVOD Open studios #6
right here, right now. auto-colonial rave
(work- in-progress with the show premier by spring 2021)
right here, right now
auto-colonial rave

Rave party on the border of dance performance and total installation about russian eternal sense of our cultural "secondary". Rave came to us from the UK, performances-parties - from Berlin or Amsterdam, the newest theater - in Europe, well, how can Russian artists and audiences exist in all of this? We want to be like someone else, pursue originality, compare ourselves with everyone else. But rave is not a competition, not even a work on yourself. What if this practice of collective fatigue frees us from auto-colonial mood for at least an hour and a half?

Yulia Arsen - director, choreographer and concept
Alexey Silaev - set designer
Nastya Nikolaeva - theme developer
Anna Kozonina - curator
Nika Gilmutdinova, Denis Basko, Alexey Yurkov, Ksenia Tchizhova, Lera Teploukhova, Vika Vaskina, Sergey Tchirkov, Larisa Alentieva, Lena Shirinkina, Simon Farina, Yulia Arsen - performers
Natasha Guliaeva - producer
Irina Kozlova - director`s assistant

Produced by RemPut festival 2020-2021

Photos - Alexey Kabelitskiy, Valentina Malgina

Laboratory in Kazan/Show me your love
(premiered December, 2021)
Show me your love
Laboratory in Kazan, Tatarstan

The group of dancers with very different backgrounds (prima balerina, b-boy, contemporary dancer, actress, vogue etc) were put in the situation of re-finding the very basics of dance and than to define the connections between each other in order to be able to perform as a group.

Dramaturgy was based on the playlist of pop songs about love, and performers aimed to manifest that which cannot be named. Something that is not virtuosity, technique, charisma, but only a flicker, a vulnerable glow

Choreography - Yulia Arsen
Performers - Akeksandra Elagina, Ildar Alekbaev, Renata Garifullina, Ed Khabibullin, Rail Norinz, Albina Nugmanova, Aya Sadykova, Indira Khabibulina,
Special thanks to Venera Galimova, Ildar Alekbaev and svoboda.fest
Kusmos: Recursion
(premiered summer, 2020)

The interactive performance “Recursion” created by Kuflex in collaboration with dance artist Julia Arsen and composer Leksha Yankov.

This was the main event of the opening of the international festival EverArt Weekend in the GUM Gallery Red Line with an online broadcast in Twitch.

Is it possible to break beyond digital reality controlled by invisible algorithms?

Plastic performance took place in the GUM Gallery Red Line. The performer’s improvisation was captured by depth cameras, and her digital avatar was continuously transferring into the virtual Kusmos scene. Viewers in the gallery were watching live dance and the virtual show on the screens. Online viewers on the Twitch platform watched the virtual performance and could release the audiovisual objects by putting numbers in the chat window, and the performer could interact with that objects. As a result, the performance turned into a synthetic show in mixed reality.

(solo, premiered in 2020)

The first piece of GENDER SOLO SERIES.
It is a confrontational, philosophical and at times satirical solo. On a bleak, empty stage, the performer searches for self by deconstructing and reformatting various aspects of her being.
She moves within a certain national matrix, trying to find a way out of it or, most importantly, to realize whether she needs this exit in general. This work involves consciously deconstruction of various parts of her personality, which she then joins together in unexpected ways. Meanings that were not embedded in the original structure appear and dissolve.

The research for the piece took place in Kassel, Halle 2 (Gemany) and than was premiered in February 2020 at ZIL cultural center in Moscow.
Solo is shortlisted at the international theater festival - MOHOfest.

But I want him to like me
(solo, premiered in 2019)
But I want him to like me

Following the performer, the audience goes through the chain of images as if they were skimming an old photo album.
They experience the moments of recognition caused not by certain narrative, but mostly by the atmosphere and feelings, which are known – fear, helplessness, avoiding, forgiving and accepting."

Solo "But I want him to like me" was premiered in Kassel in February 2019 and than was invited to several festivals in Germany (Let me in festival, Wall Series, Tanzwuchs, TanzInTents etc) and Tanzania (Haba na Haba festival)

Artistic statement

"My focus is on asking questions rather than giving answers, and I aim to make work that allows my viewers to engage in these questions with me. Rather than illustrating, I am interested in acknowledging the present moment. Allowing viewers to share what I'm going through right here, right now. In order to create conditions where I can share my present self, my practice revolves around endurance and repetition. The tasks I create for myself function as real-time questions to my body, and I invite viewers to witness me searching for answers.

I often use improvisation on stage, because it allows me to be fully open, vulnerable, and present. This leaves space for air inside the work, for unexpected things to happen. I use movements, actions and objects as tools to reach certain physical states, which function as metaphors for existential or philosophical topics. I also write and instantly compose text."
(photo by Elise Scheider & Joshua Iype)

As a dancer Yulia have collaborated with Tomas Danielis (FEYNmen company), Agostina D`Alessandro, Ryan Mason, Jianan Qu, Niv Melamed and many others
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