Sandra Kosorotova (1984) is an artist working on the borders of art and design, focusing on the critique of neoliberalism, identity, possibilities of self-care, and sustainability. She often combines textile and text.
Kosorotova’s 2016 work “The Plaza Collection: Fashion Activism as Reaction to Hyper-consumerism” was also her MA thesis at the Estonian Academy of Art. She created textile items that could be used both as garments and as protest signs. The digitally printed messages criticised the logic of consumer society and called for fashion activism. In her solo exhibition “Krooniline ajutisus / Precarious State of Mind” (2017, Hop Gallery) the artist showed scarves printed with texts on self-care and uncertainty that apply not only to creatives but to all workers in post-capitalist societies. The concept of the exhibition also politicised the primary function of the scarves: to protect the wearer from adverse effects of the surrounding environment.
For the first Riga International Biennale of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA, 2018, curated by Katerina Gregos) Kosorotova created coats for exhibition guides and mediators, as well as a textile installation titled “To Be a One at All You Must Be a Many”. The art work included ten aprons, tied together by strings. The delicate form of the aprons and the way they were tied up suggested the importance being together. Aprons are worn at home when doing chores, and in care and food processing facilities, which also brings to mind the modest social position of people working in these areas.
Text has been an important part of Kosorotova’s work from the beginning. She has moved from slogans in her first larger scale works towards an increasingly poetic approach. For example, the work “Bananas” (2019) displays free verse printed on black silk, where the artist ties demonstrations in Paris to fashion, luxury, and the development of a class society, inserting thoughts on nationality and identity. The work relies on the contrast between the luxury of black silk and the marginalised positions evoked in the text.
Kosorotova also includes community work in her practice – for example, at the Riga Biennale (2018) she held digital printing workshops for the elderly at the Laimīte community centre and as part of the work “I M M UNITY“ (2019, Kai Art Centre, curated by Hanna Laura Kaljo), consisting of textiles dyed with plants from the Lasnamäe district, she also held workshops for people from the district.
Sandra Kosorotova studied fashion design at the Estonian Academy of Arts (MA 2016). She also received the Young Applied Artist Prize (2016). She was one of the founders of the project UVKE (Uus Vene Kultuur Eestis, 2013–2015, with Gustav Kalm). She has exhibited at the first Riga International Biennale of Contemporary Art (2018), Kai Art Centre as part of Tallinn Photomonth, gallery 427 in Riga (2019), and Kumu Art Museum (2020). Kosorotova has designed artist books and created exhibition designs.