Past exhibition

Painting Resistance: Group Show of Central Asian Contemporary Artists

Aspan Gallery presents its first group show Painting Resistance in Almaty. The exhibition brings together three Central Asian artists – Valery Ruppel, Yelena Vorobyeva and Bakhyt Bubikanova. They belong to different generations and schools, but share a programmatic interest in the poetics of everyday life. The exhibition is named after one of Yelena Vorobyeva’s paintings Violent Resistance of Painting (2008).

For Valery Ruppel household objects become witnesses to a bygone era with its unfulfilled hopes. Old suitcases, clothes and shoes fill his paintings like old friends. Yelena Vorobyeva considers reality from the point of view of the exotic. As a result, even the most insignificant objects of everyday life acquire new pathos. Bakhyt Bubikanova transforms everyday life through painting. At first glance her works seem abstract, but in fact they are zoomed in  details of everyday life, such as architectural elements or ruffle dresses. The artist compensates the limitations of the domestic space by the immensity of her painting in which endlessly repeated artistic motives offer a hypothetical "escape" from the everyday.

It seems that in the works of these artists there is no evidence of the changes that took place in Central Asia over the last few decades, that life with its basic components have remained the same. However, this silence encourages a closer look at the inconspicuous, routine aspects of everyday life. Things that seemed unimportant take centre stage and we begin to ask, ‘What is really happening when nothing is happening?’. This process of rethinking leads to new freedom with a focus on ‘here’ and ‘now’.

Valery Ruppel (Bishkek)

Valery Ruppel was born in 1948 in Korkino, Chelyabinsk region (Russia). He graduated from Ural College of Applied Arts and Design in Nizhnii Tagil and Senezh Studio at the Union of artists of the USSR in Moscow. Ruppel is the rare author who works with both traditional techniques (painting, graphics, applied arts) and contemporary ones (performance, video, installation). In his work the artist reveals the different layers of sometimes opposing cultures and ideologies in the post-Soviet space. The artist also has an alter ego — Valya Korkin, curator and head of the world’s smallest gallery ‘Bowl of Genoa’.

Valery Ruppel has been widely exhibited in Bishkek and abroad. In 2013 and 2016 he held solo exhibitions Autumn Kurultai and Kuurdak at the S. Tchuikov Memorial House-Museum in Bishkek.

Yelena Vorobyeva (Almaty)

Yelena Vorobyeva was born in 1959 in Balkanabad (former Nebitdag), Turkmenistan. In her paintings the household objects become animate and tend to migrate not only from one composition to another, but also from one technique to another, the same kettles, irons and light bulbs fill the installations, video and photo projects Yelena Vorobyeva creates together with her husband Viktor Vorobyev. By choosing the removal from the surrounding reality as the main tactic, in her solo career, as well as part of the artist duo, Yelena Vorobyeva exposes previously inviolable principles of life as superficial and imposed by society.

In 2015 Aspan Gallery presented Yelena and Viktor Vorobyev’s retrospective "The Artist is Asleep" at the A. Kasteev Museum of Arts in Almaty, curated by Viktor Misiano. This year, the artist duo has been invited to participate in VIVA ARTE VIVA, the 57th Venice Biennale, opening on 13 May.

Bakhyt Bubikanova (Almaty)

Bakhyt Bubikanova was born in 1985 in Aktobe. She works in a variety of techniques — painting, collage, installation, photography and video art. Today she is one of the most prominent figures among the younger generation of Kazakh artists. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in sculpture at the Kazakh National Academy of Arts, Bubikanova continued her studies with the late leader of Kyzyl Tractor art group Moldakul Narymbetov. In her work the artist primarily reflects on the paradoxical elements of everyday life of the local population. Bubikanova skillfully combines the local and global meanings, creating an artistic slice of reality of the Central Asian region.

Despite her young age, Bakhyt Bubikanova has already held four solo shows. She also won Grand Prix of Artbat Fest’s Art Gesture School (2016) and Bishkek 1st April Annual Contest (2015), and received an award ‘For the Contribution to Contemporary Art’ from the First President Foundation.