Society • 06 September, 2018

Kazakh exhibitions of contemporary art to be presented in world’s largest cities

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For the first time in the history of the country, a large-scale project "Focus Kazakhstan" is launched on the international art scene, presenting an overview of domestic fine art and contemporary art from the 1930s to the present. Exhibitions and thematic events will be held from September 18 to March 3, 2019, in London (United Kingdom), Berlin (Germany), Jersey City (USA) and Suwon (South Korea).

The Focus Kazakhstan project is implemented within the framework of the Ruhani Zhangyru program in the part of its special project "Modern Kazakh Culture in the Global World" aimed at promoting Kazakhstan's art in the international cultural and intellectual space. A distinctive feature of the project is a comprehensive approach to its implementation, consisting of a presentation part and a professional-educational program for artists. The project is aimed at forming interest in the foreign public to artists who create a diverse picture of Kazakh contemporary art.

Exhibitions are designed to show the works of artists of different periods and generations, to explore Kazakhstan's art in the context of the world art scene, to reveal narratives of Kazakh art of the XX-XXI centuries through the study of the works of artists of the Soviet period and contemporary artists, to show the continuation of the artistic tradition and the birth of modern art in the period of independence of the republic. At the same time, the National Museum of Kazakhstan for the first time initiated the opening of an art residence for Kazakhstani artists abroad. From June 1 to September 30 in the studios of the House of Artists "Betania" (Berlin), artists have the opportunity to acquire new knowledge, skills and experience.

The key themes of the Focus Kazakhstan exhibition will be the globalization of Kazakh society and its desovietization, the feminist movement, the phenomenon of "local modernism" and post-nomadic art.

In five exhibition projects, works of more than 80 artists will be demonstrated. Among them are recognized masters of the Soviet period: Abylkhan Kasteyev, Uke Azhiev, Aubakir Ismayilov, Aisha Galimbayeva, Gulfairuz Ismailova, Salikhitdin Aitbayev, Zhanatay Shardenov, Oralbek Nurzhumayev, Eugene Sidorkin, Yerkin Mergenov and others, as well as contemporary artists: Moldakul Narymbetov, Rustam Khalfin , Sergey Maslov, Almagul Menlibayeva, Saule Suleimenova, Yerbosil Meldibekov, the Kyzyl Tractor group, Galim Madanov, Zauresh Terekbai and others, as well as the works of artists who found themselves in the territory of Kazakhstan and whose work influenced the Kazakh art: Peter Zaltsman (1912-1985) and Tatyana Glebova (1900-1985) — students and followers of the leader of the Russian avant-garde, the founder of the analytical art Pavel Filonov, Vladimir Sterligov (1900-1973) — the student of Kazimir Malevich, Sergey Kalmykov (1891-1967) — an avant-garde artist, the only one of the masters of the Silver Age, who lived to the end of the sixties, the artist of the Russian avant-garde Vera Ermolayeva (1893-1937) and others.

"Postnomadic Horizons," London, September 18 – October 16. Consider modern art of Kazakhstan in the form of numerous dialogues, conducted by artists through artistic practices. Here is the reflection of the position of the Kazakh art history in the context of the world tendencies, as well as the Kazakh society in the context of globalization. There are parallel dialogues of artists with their predecessors of the Soviet period and at the same time an analysis of the gradual de-Sovietization (or resovietization) of consciousness. The exhibition features works by 31 artists. Curators: Indira Dyusebaeva-Ziyabek, Aliya de Tizengauzen, curator-assistant Alima Boranbayeva and consultant Olga Sova.

"Bread and Roses," Berlin, September 25 – October 20. The exhibition is the result of a study of the works of four generations of Kazakh women artists, created by them in the period from 1945 to today. The exhibition represents not only a new perspective of both modernist and modern Kazakh art and culture, but also offers a broader model for examining the art created by women in post-Soviet and post-colonial contexts. Also an exhibition of the art-residence participants will be held in Berlin. Curators: David Elliott, Rachil Ritz-Wolloch, Almagul Menlibayeva.

"Collections of Thoughts: Making up Stories," Jersey City, October 14 – November 20. The exhibition takes on the task of consolidating the status of the artist as the very first collector. Collecting means to collect and accumulate something meaningful, whether material is objects or not. In this context, it is the artists who collect all the most valuable, be it separate aspects of the surrounding realities, fantasies or themes of a very different direction. The exhibition will present the work of the legendary group of Kazakhstan contemporary art Kyzyl Tractor, which includes Moldakul Narymbetov, Vitaly Simakov, Smail Bayaliyev, Arystanbek Shalbayev, Said Atabekov. The exhibition will be held within the framework of the annual Asian Art Week in New York. Curator Liza Ahmadi, curator-assistant Vladislav Sludsky

"Eurasian Utopia: PostScriptum," Suwon, November 27 – March 3. The exhibition will present a study of the creativity of artists who have combined the international language of modernism and local features of the culture of Kazakhstan. In world practice, art with such indicators is commonly called Local Modernity – a local innovation or local modernism. That is, on the one hand, artists speak the global language of art, revealing and actualizing the life of Kazakhstan. On the other hand, artists of different generations have been actively rethinking the legacy of modernism over the last 30 years, creating a new artistic "reality" after Rustam Khalfin (1949-2008), the pioneer of Kazakhstan Contemporary Art, after the Eurasian Utopia. Curators: Julia Sorokina, Shin Eun Yang.

The Focus Kazakhstan project is organized by the National Museum of Kazakhstan with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The project manager is Leonid Kochetov, the curator of the project is Rosa Abenova.

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