(1998, Skopje) | Based in Ghent, Belgium
                                   
Her practice encapsulates a variety of mediums through which she researches possible implementation of feminist care practices through evoking a dialogue between material, writing, hosting and the audience. Within the world building that finds place in her practice, she speculates possible scenarios in which togetherness can build a long-term healing process in recognition of interdependence between communities and non-human companions.

Currently pursuing her master's degree in Fine Arts at KASK & Conservatorium in Ghent, Belgium.

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(1998, Skopje) | Based in Ghent, Belgium
                                   
Her practice encapsulates a variety of mediums through which she researches possible implementation of feminist care practices through evoking a dialogue between material, writing, hosting and the audience. Within the world building that finds place in her practice, she speculates possible scenarios in which togetherness can build a long-term healing process in recognition of interdependence between communities and non-human companions.

Currently pursuing her master's degree in Fine Arts at KASK & Conservatorium in Ghent, Belgium.

Instagram
Email
CV

To own your own joy


(Text by Sjoerd Beijers)

...”A mysterious white figure stares into a mirror. Sharp white fangs, clinging around a poem. A tail—reminiscent of that of a horse—wagging slowly, as they delicately step throughout the space.

In the performance To Own Your Joy, Natalija Gucheva recites a self-written poem, accompanied by the sound of Benjamin Schoones. In an altered—deeply harmonised—voice their words sharply fill the room:

“As the oyster opens
Soft liquid oozes and drips on your legs
Coding different systems of pleasure”

In their writing, Natalija found inspiration in Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. The Victorian poem explores themes of temptation and sisterhood. The relationship between its two main characters is interpreted as same-sex desire and becomes fertile soil for their own expression to spring from. They expand upon this, voicing their personal truth on gender and sexuality, and the freedom entailed within. Being confronted with the pressure to conform to heteronormative societal norms is a daily practice for queer individuals, to which the artist finds an escape, even if it is temporary. Weaving together garments—by Alexis Gerlach and Aidan Abnet—Natalija searches for identity. A tail, claws, horns. Animalistic elements in their costume can be perceived as a symbol of the constant mutation and code-switching that queer individuals go through. Yet at the same time, they might resemble the monstrosity that society perceives them as. However, as powerfully demonstrated in the performance, these can also be claimed and used as a means to voice anger. To fight back:

“To claw out of our monstrous bodies
Burn the cocoon and lick the ashes
Spit in the face of terror
As a final lullaby”

In a similar notion to the original poem by Rossetti, the norms of the venue become subverted. Natalija’s personal truth on gender and sexuality momentarily intruded the space, as a loud scream unleashes:

“I OWN MY OWN JOY”

Performed by
Myself

Music Production
Benjamin Schoones

Costume Design
Alexis Gerlach & Aidan Abnet

Photography credits go to Johan Poezevara



The full poem can be found here