Svetlana Hansemann

hansemannGraduated with a master’s in fine arts from the Zurich University of the Arts (2010). Bachelor degree at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Lucerne (2008). Exhibitions in Russia and Switzerland. Works held by museums and numerous private collections. Long listed for the Kandinsky Prize 2008 in the “Media-art” nomination.

Panorama “first class”

Unlike traditional portraiture, “Panorama ‘first class’” shows only the legs of 13 schoolgirls sitting on benches. All the girls wear school uniforms with knee socks and sandals. People posing for a portrait usually focus on their facial expressions and forget about their legs, which reflect their true emotional state. The girls’ feelings are visible in their poses: The first girl can’t wait to escape, as one leg is already out of the picture, while the fifth is obedience itself. Her legs are together and her hands are resting on her knees. The seventh girl doesn’t want to be no­ ticed — her feet are hidden under her seat. “Panorama ‘first class’” has political overtones and refers to Russia’s authoritarian, socialist past. Heads, where thinking takes place, were unnecessary in those times, as the government did all the thinking. Strong hands and feet were the true symbol of the working class. The monumental size of the painting allows the viewer to see under these girls’ skirts. But this work does not only criticize communism, it also portrays liberation from it. The second to last girl turns her legs away from her classmates — she thinks differently. The last pair of legs belong to a woman, to an adult. She is on the other side of the bench; she has crossed the border, has left the group behind, and considers it from afar.
Manuela Maurer

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