December, 2020 — January, 2021
On December 2, Aspan Gallery will present a group show of Central Asian contemporary authors about the role of the artist in society.
During the pandemic, a global shift in values took place, which affected almost all fields of human activity. The new Aspan Gallery exhibition, the first in the gallery space in Almaty since the start of the pandemic, is rethinking the role of the artist and art in society. Does society expect activism or pure art from artists? Why do we need contemporary art? The exhibition presents various points of view of famous artists of Central Asia - both the older generation, who worked in the 1990s, and those who are creating now; alive and gone.
In 1997, at the annual Parade of Galleries at the Kasteev Museum, Rustam Khalfin presented his project “Skin of an Artist”, he invited other artists to participate, and he himself played the role of a curator. Khalfin writes: “Skin of an Artist is a new metaphor for the picture. <...> If earlier the metaphors of the picture were: a window into the world, a screen, mirrors, then "Skin of an Artist" refers directly to the artist's body, to his tactile experience and memory <...> Each participant of the project offers his or her own version of the Artist’s Skin on the basis of their own tactile experience of the eye.” The Aspan Gallery will showcase archives and several original objects from Khalfin's “Skin of an Artist” project.
The exhibition will feature works by both, the founders of contemporary art in Central Asia, Sergey Maslov and Moldakul Narymbetov, as well as new works by younger generation of artists. Sergey Maslov was one of the main myth-makers in Central Asia and presented himself as either Gioconda's brother, or an alien, or Whitney Houston's lover. The artist's painting is inextricably linked with his texts, so the gallery will showcase his paintings from private collections, accompanied by texts from his diaries, project descriptions and letters, interpreted by Yelena and Viktor Vorobyev.
The works of Moldakul Narymbetov, an artist-shaman, leader of the “Kyzyl Traktor” group, who passed away early, have not been shown in Almaty for many years. On a monumental in size canvas, Narymbetov painted an homage to the famous painting by Henri Matisse "Dance". The author included in the composition the figures of fellow artists from the "Kyzyl Tractor" Smail Bayaliyev, Arystanbek Shalbaev, Vitaly Simakov, Said Atabekov and himself dancing and playing music, referring to their own performances in the 1990s, which were often accompanied by shamanic dances and music.
Kyrgyzstani artist, curator and architect Ulan Dzhaparov will show his program video “La nave va”, filmed at Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal. Matter of fact, Dzhaparov’s artwork gave the name to the exhibition " La nave va". In the video, the artist does a performance - first he makes a paper boat, puts it on his head and dives into the water. This action makes the paper boat float on the surface of the lake by itself. The performance touches upon the themes of the artist's fate, leaving behind only a disappearing trace and the liberation of a person as a whole, dissolution in the Universal.
Yelena and Viktor Vorobyev will present two projects that were born in the 1990s. The two drawings depict the famous installation by the art duo “The Artist is Asleep” (1996), which was exhibited at the 2017 Venice Biennale. And a weaved canvas depicting Viktor Vorobyev at a computer in 1998 at a web design course organized for artists by the Soros Center for Contemporary Art, makes one think about the essence of the act of creation and the role of technology in art.
In the ironic joint video of Alexander Ugay and Roman Maskalev as part of the "Bronepoezd" group, the authors first ask passers-by what the social mission of an artist is and what it means to be an artist. In the second part, the artist tries to implement the answers of the people.
The exhibition does not try to give an exhaustive answer to the question about the role of the artist, but shows different positions. Despite the fact that the artist can have many roles and they can change with time, only one thing remains unchanged - the desire to create.
Yelena and Viktor Vorobyev
"Bronepoezd" Group (Alexander Ugay and Roman Maskalev)
Dates: December 2, 2020 - January 17, 2021.
Wednesday, December 2 | 15:00 and 19:30: guided tours of the exhibition *
Saturday, December 5 | 15:00: panel discussion about the role of the artist *
* Admission to all events is free, but by mandatory appointment by phone or WhatsApp +7 (702) 592-41-93
Address: Expo Villa, Villa Boutiques and Restaurants (140A Al-Farabi).