Film and Video Gallery 179, first floor
This survey of video works by contemporary artists from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan explores recent developments in the artistic production of Central Asia, a region currently underrepresented in the international art scene. Video became the leading medium for Central Asian artists in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the power that dominated the area politically and culturally in the twentieth century. Under the Russian influence, two artistic traditions were introduced: classical European academic conventions and avant-garde experimentation. When added to the local artistic sensibility, they created a unique visual language in which figurative imagery thrived, complemented by the existing oral tradition. The Return of the Image does not imply that Central Asian artists are returning to the image, as they have never really left it. Instead, it suggests that these artists are intent on restoring trust in the image as an artistic tool with communicative potential.
Survey of video works by contemporary artists... var f_divname="mp3player"; var f_width=133; var f_height=95; var f_file="Viktor Misiano The Title,Viktor Misiano Program 1,Viktor Misiano Program 2,Viktor Misiano Program 3"; var f_filetype="exhibitionMinutes"; var f_title="The Title,Program 1,Program 2,Program 3"; Listen to or download guest curator Viktor Misiano's 4-part Podcast. Available in The first of the exhibition's three programs, In Search of Place, includes videos that make reference to regional folklore, nomadism, ancient monuments, and rituals—all important aspects of Central Asian national identity, which had been challenged in the post-Soviet period by new authoritarian governments in search of a nationalistic discourse. In the second program, The Dervish Way, artists explore their own identity and the place it holds within their culture. The open-endedness of these works reveals their interest in primary sources of civilization as well as their attempts to restore an understanding of creativity as a harmonious act in which action, image, words, and material creation are brought together.
The videos in Eccentricity and Melancholia are representative of a younger generation of artists who respond to the unpredictability of daily life by rejecting a heroic stance, exploring personal melancholia, or cultivating simple actions bereft of any goals. Ironically, these actions, similar to strategies of resistance employed during the Soviet era, are appropriated by the artists in the same manner in which corrupted methods of government have been appropriated by the politicians currently in power. This exhibition is the fourth installment of Live Cinema, a series of programs in the Film and Video Gallery that explore single-channel work.
Born and currently living in Moscow, Viktor Misiano is the founder and editor-in-chief of Moscow Art Magazine, whose goal is to build a critical discourse in the post-Soviet art world by focusing exclusively on contemporary art practice and theory. Before founding the magazine in 1993, Misiano was a curator at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and the director of the Contemporary Art Center in Moscow. In 1996, he was part of the curatorial team of "Manifesta I" in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Misiano curated the 51st Venice Biennale's Central Asia Pavilion in 2005 and served as a consultant for the 52nd Venice Biennale's Central Asia Pavilion in 2007. In 2007, Misiano organized the exhibition Progressive Nostalgia: Art from the Former USSR, which was shown at Centro per l'arte contemporanea in Prato, Italy; the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece; the Kumu Art Museum in Tallinn, Estonia; and Kiasma in Helsinki, Finland.
Rustam Khalfin, considered one of the founders of conceptual art in Central Asia, was born in 1949 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and currently lives in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Khalfin's work has been included in a number of international shows, including the 51st Venice Biennale's Central Asia Pavilion; Re-orientations at the ACC Gallery, Weimar, Germany; The Gesture: A Visual Library in Progress at the Macedonia Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece; and Paradox of Polarity: Contemporary Art from Central Asia at the Bose Pacia Gallery, New York. Yuliya Tikhonova was born in 1978 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and is currently working in Moscow. From 1996 to 2006, Tikhonova acted as a project coordinator for "LOOK" Gallery in Almaty. Tikhonova's work has been shown in exhibitions in New York, Venice, Moscow, Warsaw, Florence, Greece, Berlin, and Ontario. Her work was also included in the 51st Venice Biennale's Central Asia Pavilion in 2005. Almagul Menlibayeva, born in Kazakhstan in 1969, graduated from the Art and Theatre University of Kazakhstan in Almaty in 1992. Menlibayeva has been included in numerous group shows and has had solo exhibitions at the Tengry Umay Gallery, Almaty; Arttra Gallery, Amsterdam; and Galerie Davide Gallao, Berlin. Roman Maskalev, born in 1977, studied at the Kyrgyz State College of the Fine Arts in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and is currently a student at the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavonick University, where he is studying architecture. Maskalev's work was included in the 51st and 52nd Venice Biennale; La Beinnale de Montréal in 2007; The Paradox of Polarity: Contemporary Art from Central Asia at the Bose Pacia Gallery, New York; and the 9th Istanbul Biennale. Maxim Boronilov was born in 1980 and was educated at the Kyrgyz State College of the Fine Arts in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Boronilov is currently studying design at the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavonick University. His work has been shown in the Central Asia Pavilion at the 51st and 52nd Venice Biennale. Said Atabekov was born in 1965 in Besh-Terek in the Tashkent district of Uzbekistan and currently lives in Shymkent, Uzbekistan. Atabekov's work has been shown internationally in exhibitions such as In the Shadow of "Heroes," the second Bishkek International Exhibition of Contemporary Art in Kyrgyzstan, and From the Red Star to the Blue Dome, shown at ifa-Gallery in Berlin. His work was also included in the 51st Venice Biennale's Central Asia Pavilion.
Vyacheslav Akhunov was born in Osh, Kyrgzstan in 1948 and is currently living and working in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. His work has been shown in a number of exhibitions, including Central Asian Culture at the Alte Arte Gallery in Kishinev, Moldova; Maiden Biennale of Contemporary Art in Singapore; and the Central Asia Project at Spece Gallery in London. His work was also included in the Biennale Contemporary Art de Montreal in Montreal and the Central Asia Pavilion at the 51st and 52nd Venice Biennale. Sergey Tichina was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in 1958. Tichina's work has been shown in several venues around the world, such as the Central Asian Pavilion at the 51st and 52nd Venice Biennale; Nafas–Actual Art in Culture of Islam at the ifa-Gallery in Berlin; Museum of Modern Art at the Contemporary Art Fair of Athens and the International Art Fair of Helsinki, Finland; Video-Art from Central Asia at the Arsenal Gallery in Bialystok, Poland; and the Biennale Contemporary Art de Montreal in Montreal. Ulan Djaparov, born in Kyrgyzstan in 1960, is an artist, architect, and curator. Djaparov is a member of The Museum Group with Ernst Abdarazkov, Roman Maskalev, and Chingiz Tokochev, and is also the editor of Central Asian Magazine Kurak. He has shown his work in several exhibitions, such as Paradox of Polarity: Contemporary Art from Central Asia at Bose Pacia in New York; Here No Evil, See No Evil at Ural State University, Ekaterinburg, Russia, and Zone of Risk–Transition at the 3rd Bishkek International Exhibition of Contemporary Art in Kyrgyzstan.
Alexander Ugay was born in 1978 in Kyzil-Orda, Kazakhstan, and graduated from Kyrgyz State University of Low in 2002. A member of the "Bronepoezd" group, Ugay has had several international exhibitions, including Look in New Way at the Cinema Festival of Young Cinema-Makers of Central Asia in Almaty, Kazakhstan; No Man's Land at the House of World Cultures in Berlin; the 9th International Istanbul Biennale; Plug In at the Van Abbemuseum, Eidhoven in the Netherlands; and the 52nd Venice Biennale. Ernst Abdrazakov, born in 1971 in Kyrgyzstan, is a member of The Museum Group along with Roman Maskalev, Ulan Djaparov, and Chingiz Tokochev. Abdrazakov has been in exhibitions such as In the Shadow of "Heroes," the 2nd Bishkek International Exhibition of Contemporary Art in Kyrgyzstan, and Videoidentity: Sacred Places of Central Asia at the Soros Center for Contemporary Art in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Chingiz Tokochev was born in 1976 in Kyrgyzstan. Tokochev is also a member of The Museum Group with Roman Maskalev, Ulan Djaparov, and Ernst Abdrazakov. Tokochev's work was included in the second annual exhibition at the Soros Center of Contemporary Art in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Natasha Dyu was born in 1976 in Karaganinskaya, Kazakhstan. Dyu studied Fine Art at Buketov Karaganda State University. Dyu's work has been shown at a number of short film and video festivals, including Extra Shot Film, Novosibrisk, Russia, and the Videoart Festival at the Soros Center of Contemporary Art in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Her work was also included in the 2nd Bishkek International Exhibition of Contemporary Art in Kyrgyzstan and the 52nd Venice Biennale's Central Asia Pavilion.
Program 1: In Search of Place
November 16–December 16, 2007
Program 2: The Dervish Way
December 18, 2007–January 20, 2008
Program 3: New Generation: Eccentricity and Melancholia
January 22–February 17, 2008
Live Cinema is a series of programs in the Video Gallery of the Museum that explores the vast production of single-channel video and filmwork by a diverse group of local, national, and international artists. In the last decade an ever-increasing number of contemporary artists have appropriated these mediums as an artistic outlet, in a dialogue with the early video and Super 8 practices of the sixties and the tradition of experimental filmmaking. Each program of the Live Cinema series focuses on a specific aspect of this work, in order to both map and analyze this important facet of contemporary art production. Certain Live Cinema programs are accompanied by a brochure in which guest writers discuss the works exhibited, and also by public lectures given by the participating artists.
Viktor Misiano • Guest Curator, editor of Moscow Art Magazine
Lauren Bergman • Project Assistant