October, 2017 — November, 2017
Aspan Gallery presents a new show On Borders and Other Inventions with Kazakhstani Said Atabekov and Malian Abdoulaye Konaté. Konaté's work will be presented in the CIS for the first time. Despite the obvious cultural and geographical differences, both artists explore the issues of borders, identity, and co-existence of different cultural layers, religions and ideologies and work with traditional for their respective regions materials.
Shymkent-based Said Atabekov, a member of one of Kazakhstan's first avant-garde art group Kyzyl Tractor, is presenting his photo series The Dream of Genghis Khan, Way to Rome, and Journey to the East, as well his new paintings and installations. Atabekov works with the past of a region that is now called Central Asia and the Western stereotypes about it. His projects blur the boundaries between various polarities – the people of the East appear with typically Western symbols, whereas shamans perform Muslim traditions. Kazakh steppe, according to Said Atabekov, is a universal place and contains the whole world in itself.
Malian Abdoulaye Konaté, just like his Kazakhstani colleague, skillfully combines the regional with the global. In his programmatic work L'Initiation, which was kindly lent for the exhibition by the Sindika Dokolo Foundation, shows traditional West African symbols as well as the easily recognizable Soviet hammer and sickle, the French tricolour and the personification of the American freedom. Konaté's abstract compositions are a homage to the local West African traditions of applied and musical art. Considering the relationship between colour and sound (in the spirit of synesthesia), it is possible to perceive his abstraction as a musical score, where each colour has its own sound.
This would be the first show from a series of Aspan Gallery's exhibitions-dialogues featuring a Central Asian and another non-Western contemporary artist.