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Live Cinema/The Return of the Image: Video from Central Asia
November 16, 2007 - February 17, 2008
Northern Barbarians, Part 2: Lover Races
Rustam Khalfin, Yuliya Tikhonova
Northern Barbarians, Part 2: Lover Races
16mm transferred to DVD; 7 minutes
Courtesy of Yuliya Tikhonova
Live Cinema/The Return of the Image: Video from Central Asia
November 16, 2007 - February 17, 2008
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.

Exhibition Minutes

Survey of video works by contemporary artists...
Listen to or download guest curator Viktor Misiano's 4-part Podcast.
Available in Exhibition Minutes Podcast - iTunes
Said Atabekov
Walkman, 2005
Video; 7 minutes
Courtesy of the artist
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.

Natasha Dyu
Melancholy, 2006
Mini DV transferred to DVD; 4 minutes, 22 seconds
Courtesy of the artist
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.


Viktor Misiano • Guest Curator, editor of Moscow Art Magazine
Lauren Bergman • Project Assistant


Film and Video Gallery 179, first floor