Universes in Universe / Biennials / 51st Venice Biennial, 2005 / Central Asia
Central Asian Pavilion: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan
(Press release by the organizer)
(Calle delle Erbe, Canareggio)
Curator: Viktor Misiano
Kurama Art Gallery
Art from Central Asia. A Contemporary Archive
Art of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan might be the last territory not represented at the global art scene. This exhibition – the first in the history of Venice biennales pavilion of Central Asian counties, is another attempt to fill this gap.
The propriety of this attempt is defined not only by the cultural and historic peculiarity of these countries, but also by their ethnic and art originality. Interest towards this region might be motivated by the fact that these countries are a part of modernity. Being a subject of the Soviet modernization, Central Asia was a key participant of various collisions and bearer of historic experience of the XX century. At the same time collisions and experience of post communist period transformed it into the full member of global order. Thus, also in art, being a part of art reform of Russian avantguard, Central Asian artists created their original context, their own perspective towards contemporary art discourse.
As it is the first presentation of this regional context in Venice, it is sensible to present is as a context, as a dialectic multiplicity of various artist, various generations, various ethnos, cultural centers, and, finally, different countries. It makes sense to show this context as dialectic multiplicity of individual and collective experience, especially of post Soviet period, and not as the latest actual expressions. The last results haven’t been done yet, it remains live substance, provoking question that do not have answers. Consequently, the questions that have already been asked and suggested answers are still actual. The works by already dead Sergey Maslov are still vital as well as the works by a young duet Roman Maskalev and Maxim Boronilov. An archive of the Central Asia is a Contemporary Archive.
Looking for identity was the first problem of actual time that was in focus of Central Asian art scene, the countries that had recently obtained political independence. Mytho-poetic narrative in forms of installation, and later video, started to be actively used by the artists of various generations, from Rustam Khalfin, the founder and patriarch of Alma-Ata scene, to the young follower, Almagul Menlibayeva. Thanks to the efforts of various artists (R. Khalfin, Kanat Ibragimov, Yerbossyn Meldibekov, group "Red Tractor", etc) it appeared in forms of performance. By the initiative of Shaarbek Amankul it appeared in forms of vast stationary works created in the nature. However, while appealing to national-ethnic archetypes: step’, nomadic and Sufis traditions, etc., sacrifice, pagan rites this narrative refused any pretences to be authentic but became a construct, it was created and immediately destroyed. Thus, Vyacheslav Akhunov’s author’s myth includes both icons of the Soviet propaganda, a pyramid, made of Lenin’s sculptures, and icon of the Western consumerism – Coca Cola ads. Said Atabekov’s shamanism includes also motives of post-modernity, Kalashnikov gun or police silhouettes at the pavement.
National myth is a construct of not only artists but also of a new political power, in regard to which the artists, for example works by Yelena and Viktor Vorobyev, took a position of aloof analyses and deconstruction. Artists also show, Sergey Maslov’s works, that the reverse side of new political mythology is reality of survival. Survival doesn’t have national; identity, it is universal. According to Muratbek Djumaliev and Gulnara Kasmalieva, paradoxical positivism of dramatic posy-Soviet experience is in this openness to universal.
However, the perception of both universal basis and national identity by the Central Asian artists is ambiguous. For Yerbossyn Meldibekov we burst to the universal through the rejection of identity, through self-abuse. For Alexander Nikolaev the only possible universality is globalized cultural industry and it imposes stereotyped identities. For Roman Maskalev and Maxim Boronilov identity and universality are not counterpoints, they are fused in existential and philosophic experience of "route" and "way". For the Bishkek "poor" actionism by Ulan Djaparov and his colleagues, universal presents itself in unexpected moments, obtaining forms of everyday jokes that, in their own turn, are the remnants of a myth.
These are some of the names and events that can be found in the Actual archive of Central Asian art.
Curator of Central Asian Pavilion
© Text: organizer; website: Universes in Universe - Worlds of Art