Object I (Rushnyk), 2019

Object I (Rushnyk) by Elena Corvaglia is a flat sculpture lying on the floor

Installation view: “story/no story” ZHDK, Zurich, CH, 2019

Gunny cloth, plaster
125 x 75 x 6 cm

Rushnyk is a traditional Ukrainian fabric that can be up to 5 m long. It is usually embroidered with patterns and symbols and considered a remnant of paganism in Eastern Slavic cultures. It has been used in rituals and ceremonial events, such as weddings, christenings, and funerals. This ritual cloth symbolises a warm welcome when presented with bread and salt and is still an important part of Ukrainian wedding ceremonies today. The middle part of the wedding cloth has to be white, which signifies purity and sacredness. The couple should stand on the white part of the cloth during the church ceremony. The object Rushnyk symbolises the current political and social situation in Ukraine amidst the ongoing armed conflict. The white part of the Ukrainian ritual cloth, which symbolises purity, lies on the floor scrunched up and no longer serves its purpose. Similarly, the embroidered symbols are eliminated, and only the petrified fabric remains.