A. Kasteev Museum of Arts : Yerbossyn Meldibekov "Eternal Return"
On 12 February 2015 “Eternal Return”, the first solo museum show of contemporary Kazakh artist Yerbossyn Meldibekov, opened at the A. Kasteev Museum of Arts in Almaty. This project was initiated by the Aspan Gallery in partnership with ForteBank. The exhibition is curated by Viktor Misiano, curator of the first Central Asia pavilion at the 2005 Venice Biennale.
This exhibition is the first of a series of monographic exhibitions celebrating Central Asia's leading contemporary artists, including Yelena Vorobyeva and Viktor Vorobyev, Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev, Almagul Menlibayeva, Said Atabekov and Vyacheslav Akhunov.
Yerbossyn Meldibekov’s exhibition title “Eternal Return” has several meanings. First, it points to the specificity of Meldibekov's works, who since the beginning of his career has been in a constant dialogue with his artistic heritage. Many of these works are linked to the classical examples of European painting and sculpture, while others are related to the traditional and contemporary art of Central Asia. Secondly it refers to the search for national roots, one of the main goals of Meldibekov's art. Traditional culture has inspired the artist not only to change and renew, but also to repeat and return. Finally, “Eternal Return”is crucial to understanding the destiny of Central Asia, where, according to Meldibekov, historical processes do not follow a linear progression but move in circles and constantly repeat themselves. We should not forget that this view of history was suggested at the dawn of Modernity by Friedrich Nietzsche, whose term ‘eternal return’Meldibekov makes use of.
The exhibition concept –the appeal to art as a self-referential cycle of forms and themes –is reflected in the idiosyncrasy of its installation. Meldibekov’s works are presented at the museum not only in its temporary exhibitions rooms but also among pieces from its permanent collection, placing contemporary art into direct dialogue with works of the ancient and recent past.
Although his works have been widely exhibited in the most prestigious art institutions worldwide, “Eternal Return” represents Meldibekov’s first comprehensive solo exhibition in his home country of Kazakhstan. This exhibition presents visitors with the opportunity to view all the facets of Meldibekov’s multimedia and diverse practice, from sculpture and installation to video, performance and photography. Famous and critically acclaimed works by the artist, such as Black Square (2004), Transformer (2013), Contest (2010-2013, in collaboration with Boris Golender) and Fog (2011) are presented in Almaty for the first time, alongside his new works Brezhnev-Giacometti (2015), One-Day Visa (2014), Spit (2014), Stamp (2014-2015), Self-Portrait with My Idols (2014-2015) and Phantom Invasion (2015) created especially for the exhibition.