Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Zone of Risk - Transistion

Aqua's preview starts in a few hours, but we're ready. None of the photos so far are that interesting unless you've never seen a crate or chaotic gallerists before. Other, hopefully more engaging, images are forthcoming.

A while ago, however, I promised to write something about the exhibition we attended in Bishkek during our trip there. I did finally write something, which Universes in Universe, the treasure trove of information about contemporary art from the Islamic world, has just published online. I had written more, but space constraints required some abbreviating. To the right is a still from Afghanistan artist Rahraw Omarzad's awesome video Closed Door. Other images from the exhibition start here.

Of all the work in the exhibition, one stands out as capturing the essence of the exbhition's theme, the video by Kyrgyz artist Ulan Djaparov, which was installed at the end of a long winding tunnel. The video is a straightforward metaphor for the only rational human response to risky political and social transitions. Here's a snippet from the report that talks about his work:
The location for the 3rd Bishkek Exhibition of Contemporary Art embodies the essence of its title: "Zone of Risk - Transition". The underground spaces
below Ala-Too Central Square in Bishkek had been the local headquarters of the KGB. Their dusty marble floors and deserted rooms stand as a reminder of just how much has changed since the Republics of Central Asia were once part of the Soviet Union. More than that, however, lying right beneath the center of where the Kyrgyz revolution had erupted in the Spring of 2005, the location contextualizes immediately the very real consequences of cultural and societal transformations.

Descending the gated staircase from Ala-Too Central Square into the exhibition, one first steps into an underground road that had permitted Soviet leaders to drive through a low-ceiling tunnel to just under the square, from where they could easily emerge for demonstrations. Effectively installed at the end of that long, curving tunnel was a video projection by Ulan Djaparov titled "Reaper." Dressed in a bright orange t-shirt and carrying a scythe, the only character is seen harvesting very tall weeds that had grown in a concrete trough of an abandoned, roofless building. Swinging his scythe rhythmically, he moves steadily through the somewhat ominous space, pushing ever forward despite being unable to see what awaited him at the end of his task.


Anonymous David said...

None of the photos so far are that interesting unless you've never seen a crate or chaotic gallerists before.

Oh come on, EW, you've got to give us at least one photo of chaotic gallerists :)

12/06/2006 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Personally I am WAY MORE attracted by the idea of seeing some art from kyrgyz in a Chelsea gallery than art from the next New York artist.

So if you think you are up to make some difference....


Cedriv Caspesyan

(no offense to new york artists but I'm distrustful of centralization in art matters)

12/06/2006 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Mike @ MAO said...

Seen A chaotic gallerist before??


Hope you get to have some sun in SoBe! Dr.Quiz and I will stop by soon.

Good Luck!

12/06/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous pp said...

"rational human response to risky political and social transitions."
"the location contextualizes immediately the very real consequences of cultural and societal transformations."
-- Less political, social and cultural transformations. More ART, Mr Winkleman! Central Asian republics have been through the Soviet empire, that's true. But they have been through the empires of Alexander the Great, Thingiz Khan, Timur (Tamerlan) and many others. I think that it's not the BEST way to develop art discussion SO closely to the political-social-cultural. Please note that the very concept of "political and social transformations" is a key element in the language of Western liberal capitalism--the very language of Bush--whom you have critizised quite a lot.

12/06/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

I looked at the universes site and am really surprised at the quality and quantity of modern islamic artists. Funny how alot of art outside New York seems more political.

12/08/2006 02:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well bob, there are quite a lot of good artists outside New York and if English is not their first language some of them feel they need to speak louder.

12/08/2006 03:47:00 AM  
Anonymous pp said...

Indeed, a recent issue of Flash Art shows a piece, a wirelight installation by a Balkan artist. It consist of a text "Artist who does not speak English is [emphasis]NO[end emphasis] artist". Flash Art's correspondent Nathaniel McBride, while examining current art life in former Soviet republic Georgia, finds that Georgia had no independent intellectuals at all- before the demise of the USSR. True art come to these republic with Soros funded organizations.

12/08/2006 02:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We want to hear about miami!

12/12/2006 09:47:00 AM  

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