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23 November 2019


Aerobics is a modern sport that is a very secular form of public entertainment. It is deprived of all religious or ritual contexts and driven by contemporary commercialization and the competitiveness of the consumer society. However distant it may be from religious institutions, aerobics still bears the values and cultural spirit of society because sport is a collective form of cultural expression.

The performance (Religious) Aerobics was created in response to the rise of religious fundamentalism in Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The artists incorporated movements of the three most important religions in Georgia, Christianity (Orthodox and Catholic), Islam, and Judaism—such as crossing oneself, kneeling, touching ears with hands—and transformed them into television aerobic instructions which stressed the mundane mechanical process of religious expression in a pseudo-religious society.

The work was presented at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013). Just ten days before this performance, a group of priests beat participants in a LGBT rally on the streets of Tbilisi while the police watched. This demonstrates the increasing self-empowerment of the Orthodox Church. Furthermore, Georgia is a country where often sees believers crossing themselves in the street and where many new Orthodox churches are being built.

During the conference Bouillon Group will be perform their Social Aerobics trilogy: (Religious) Aerobics, Protest, and Strategies for Weightlifters. 


Bouillon Group was founded in Tbilisi in 2008 by Natalia Vatsadze, Teimuraz Kartlelishvili, Vladimir Khartishvili, Konstantin Kitiashvili, Ekaterina Ketsbaia, and Zurab Kikvadze. The group’s work references the multilayered nature of Georgian culture and analyzes the reality of life in post-Soviet Georgia, with most of their performances taking place in public. Bouillon Group focuses on transcending the boundaries between life and art, between the artistic and public spheres. “By drawing  on regional traditions in its performances, the collective transfers these rituals into new supra-regional  contexts, thereby opening up new historical and social levels of meaning” (Christin Müller).


Free admission

Transitory Parerga: Access and Inclusion in Contemporary ArtIssue 01 of The Garage Journal Learn more

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