Strong and deliberate presentation of the #performance #artist Yingmei Duan by Hanmi Gallery. This very poetic booth arrangement, in which leaves and twigs that the artist was sweeping in the video then seamlessly transferred into the exhibition space, gave us a sense of the artist’s presence. Later in the day we were lucky to meet lovely Yingmei Duan in person. Born in 1969 in China Duan was first influenced by legendary #beijingeastvillage #avantgarde art community. Later Duan moved to Germany to study performance under prof. M. Abramovic and filmmaker C. Schlingensief. Her thought provoking and emotional performance and #installation using her own body and dreams as an expressive medium, Duan draws viewer’s attention to cultural displacement and social #marginalization issues.
Today we had a fantastic Photography tour led by a wonderful art historian, critic and curator, professor Jean Wainwright. It’s been a fascinating eye-opening one hour experience that proved once more the endless possibilities of this medium, despite its accessibility. Full of energy and enthusiasm Jean Wainwright unveiled the secrets of what seemed conventional at first glans (e.g. Forest by Santeri Tuori, Purdy Hicks Gallery or photography by Dorothy Cross). The tour highlights a range e are overabundant with bold collages, yet all ignite interest of the audience with powerful concepts and execution. Looking forward to Photo London 2018 in May.
Not Everyone Will Be Taken Into The Future is the couple’s first major exhibition in UK. Although now Americans, Kabakovs’ art is based on reminiscence of their Soviet Union past. Not coincidentally it is held in the year that is marking 100 years since Russian October Revolution that dramatically changed the course of human history. Amongst a remarkable range of artistic media at the exhibition including painting, graphics, sculpture and pioneered by the couple so called “total installation”, one can immediately recall Social realism style that monopolized the art scene in USSR at that time, however at the second glance you discover that there is always a twist not only in juxtaposition of styles but in the context that often reflects on oppressive power, destruction and failure of Communist utopia. During Kabakov’s earlier career still in Soviet Union like many other artists he must learn how to live a double life as an artist. Officially he becomes a member of the respected Artist Union and works as an illustrator of children’s books which benefits his underground artistic activity where he allows to express himself but only within the walls of his Moscow apartment studio and amongst his secret peers. Later when he moves to America and his work becomes too political he decides to develop alter-egos. As expected the whole exhibition is an intense experience. The clutter of the communal apartment installations resembles the roughness and confusion of that difficult time. Although even after collapse of the repressive Soviet dictatorship, the change towards the freedom of expression isn’t dramatic. Any activity is still censored in the “democratic” post-soviet world. Most of Kabakov’s artworks’ texts are in alien to Western audience Cyrillic font, only people who lived through those turbulent times would be able to totally relate to the absurdity of his art. The attempt could be made walking through the dim and claustrophobically narrow fifty-meter long corridor that contains the grim memoires of his mother, which on a very personal level would take you through her tragic life during dramatic change spanning the 1917 Revolution through the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. Since I was born and grew up during the Soviet time the show is a poignant reminder of the past time that we hope will never come back. Boris Groys has commented that Soviet civilization was the first modern civilization whose death we have witnessed, and there are more to come. Yet in one of the interviews Emilia Kabakov gives us a warning that the history tends to repeat… There are also some lyrical references throughout the show which express inexplicable nostalgia to the past. Due to the chaos that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, including growing unemployment and income inequality, there is deep yearning, especially amongst the older generations in modern Russia, to the time when the hope for socialist utopia was still alive.
Ironically, in his mixed media installation “Incident in the corridor near the kitchen” amongst a multitude of suspended in mid-air pots and pans, I have spotted enamel bowls, the same that I “smuggled in” from Kazakhstan and am using in my installations as a recollection of banality of this time… Tragicomic and “mind-bending” Kabakovs’ attempt to create a sense of another place succeeded and well worth a visit.
I’ve been looking forward to this exhibition since I met Dina Akhmadeeva, a contributing editor, on the airplane coming back to London from Venice Biennale in August. Being born and growing up during Soviet Union time I still well remember Soviet propaganda posters that were among the most powerful tools to influence masses. It’s been exactly 100 years ago since such posters appeared, targeting a large number of illiterate workers and peasants and promoting a new communist ideology. Bold colors,explicit texts, straight forward imagery formed a distinctive style of the Soviet poster art. The exhibition features work from the graphic designer David King’s collection and spans commuinist visual culture between 1905-55. It was the time that gave rise to the Russian avant-garde, when artists were rejecting the past and seeking innovative forms of expression. Rodchenko, Stepanova, Klutsis, Vatolina
Gentle activism. Belonging to Kurdish minority in Turkey Bucak speaks out in a very subtle and poetic way about issues of borders, displacement and identity . Since activist art is mostly represented by men we used to the straight forward bold and often bloody placard style art. However I find Bucak’s approach very moving. Being a citizen of officially democratic Kazakstan but in fact a dictatorship where any dissident or an activist would face inhumane prosecution, I am in a search of ways of expressing of my concerns. I am inspired by the art of Fatma Bucak, it’s a very feminine memorial that doesn’t strike a spectator as political but raises important issues. Although the gallery manager confirmed that they wouldn’t hold this exhibition in their Istanbul gallery.
Sheila Hicks is now one of my favourite artists I discovered earlier this year at 57th Venice Biennale is now exhibiting in London. Her impressive colourful textile art awakens the tactile childhood memories of home. Besides the wall art, she challenges the medium to create bold sculptural and sometimes architectural objects. Born in USA in 1934, she lives and works in Paris. However her inspiration she draws from Latin American textile tradition.
Handmade textile like felt, wool, silk and plush rugs, blankets, clothes is an inherent part of nomadic culture. I grew up watching and helping my mum weaving, knitting and sewing, even though at work she was an engineer. Any country I move I decorate my new home with some traditional felt wall art. Inspired by the art of Sheila Hicks I am developing some projects in which I plan to juxtapose nomadic textile tradition with contemporary techniques in response to conceptual context of my art practise.
Jake & Dinos Chapman are known for iconoclastic sculpture, prints and installations that engage with violence and politics with quite provocative and sarcastic humour. The brothers often use the distance of history to depict the horrifying effects they can have on society, like The Distasters of War in which they disturbingly collage and glitter over famous Fransisco Goya’s etchings that convey the barbarity and futility of war. However this time in dialogue with the reworked etchings Chapman brothers shock the audience with The Disasters of Everyday Life – an everyday horror of terrorism, especially for us, walking through London on a daily basis. Seven very realistic bronze suicide vests in a white gallery space are petrifying and seductive at the same time.
A friend of mine finds an interaction and posting an art-selfie with that kind of artwork somewhat disrespectful. However, as soon as an artwork is offered to the audience it starts living its “own” life, especially in our digital world. I have decided that this selfie is quite a strong way to share my perception and impression of the exhibition. In the way knowing the nature of work of Jake & Dinos Chapman were doing for decades, they probably would be the last to find it offensive.
Discover Kazakhstan through my artwork!
Meet the artist at the official opening on 20 May 2017 3-6pm.
The Exhibition runs for three weeks from 15 May – 2 June 2017.
Venue: Guildford Institute, Ward St, Guildford GU1 4LH, UK
More info HERE
Welcome to my first solo exhibition in The UK!
Opening evening is on February 16th 7-9pm
Location: 24 Sundridge Avenue, Bromley BR1 2 PX (view on the Map)
For more information please go to Bromley Arts Council’s website www.bromleyarts.com
In her recent projects Uriya exploits as a subject a horse skull and asyk* bones as an innovative art medium, as both are deeply rooted to nomadic culture and at its current state symbolise it’s fading present. Hundreds of asyks were sent to the artist by her relatives from all over vast Kazakhstan as a prove of the power and importance of strong ties between relatives in Kazakhstan.
You can find photographs from Uriya’s interactive asyk performance in Tengri Umai Gallery, Almaty, Kazakhstan HERE