Unity of Generations: Exhibition of Kazakh artists opens in Berlin
“Bread and Roses” is the result of study on works of four generations of Kazakh artists, beginning from 1945 and up to the present day. According to the curators, the exhibition represents a new vision of Kazakh art and culture and their wider interpretation in the context of the world of fine art. The term “Bread and Roses”, coined by the Polish-American leader of the trade union movement and activist for women’s rights Rosa Schneiderman affirms women’s rights to equality, culture and power, as well as to urgent needs.
The complex history of the Kazakh SSR in the period of the 1930s and 1940s and the rapid development of the republic since gaining independence in 1991 created a kind of melting pot of ideas that were dynamically reflected in contemporary art of the country. As the curator of the exhibition David Elliot said, chronologically the exhibition begins with the Russian avant-garde, but the exposition opens with an exhibit of arts and crafts � tekemem (textile flooring).
“Avant-gardists in their experiments with the form, the composition, the color avoided copying the reality, and in the folk art of Kazakhstan, in the ornaments there were already elements of abstraction. And the next generation of artists sought to revive the disappearing folk traditions in the fine arts,” he said.
Tatyana Glebova, Vera Ermolayeva, Aisha Galimbayeva and Gulfairus Ismailova represent the “older” generation of artists at the exhibition. The creativity of these “great-grandmothers”, “grandmothers”, “mothers” of contemporary art reflects the complicated history of the country and many incredible personal stories. These women combined in their work and created a bridge between traditional Kazakh art, the Soviet avant-garde of the 1920s-1930s, and socialist realism.
Most of the exposition of “Bread and Roses” is devoted to art which appeared in the 1980-90s and is dynamically developing today.
Saule Suleimenova presented a series of works made of cellophane � “Residual memory”, which is devoted to the historical trauma and memory of it. So the work “Asharshylyk” refers to the famine that swept Kazakhstan during the period of collectivization in the 1930s, and killed about a third of the republic’s population. Saule explores the possibilities of overcoming historical trauma through artistic practices. Almagul Menlibayeva, who also co-curated the exhibition, presented video installations “Tokamak” and “Steppe Baroque”. “Tokamak” is a multi-channel video that uses variations of the image of the Tokamak reactor installed in 2017 in Kurchatov. The video serves as a reminder of the Soviet past of Kazakhstan, when nuclear tests were conducted on the territory of the country. In “New Year’s Cards” by Bakhyt Bubikanova, a woman occupies a central place. The artist places the woman in the center of the composition, asking about her role and place in the society. The nude body is also a statement against the imposition of social roles.
The time when women were little represented on the art scene, left behind. Contemporary artists experiment with various media, putting sharp questions and exploring the possibilities of representing themselves and the surrounding society through artistic practices, questioning accepted norms and speaking out for gaining greater creative and personal freedom.
The exhibition is organized in partnership with the non-profit platform of contemporary art Momentum. The curators were well-known international experts: David Elliot, deputy director and senior curator at the Redtori Museum of Contemporary Art, Rachel Ritz-Wolloch, director of Momentum and Kazakhstan artist Almagul Menlibayeva.
Among the artists of the exhibition are Anar Aubakir, Lidia Blinova, Bakhyt Bubikanova, Gania Chagataeva, Vera Ermolaeva, Zoya Falkova, Aisha Galimbaeva, Tatyana Glebova, Gulfairus Ismailova, Creole Center (Maria Vilkiviskaya, Rufiya Dzhenderbekova), Gaisha Madanova, Aigerim Mazhitkan, Almagul Menlibayeva, Gulnur Myrzagalikova, Gulnur Mukazhanova, Katya Nikonorova, Saule Suleimenova, Gulmaral Tatibaeva, Elena Vorobyova, Natalya Du.
Also in Berlin, the participants of the art residence opened an exhibition under the Ruhani Zhangyru program in partnership with Momentum: Anar Aubakir, Aigerim Ospanova, Ykylas Shaikhiev, Lilya Kim, Saule Suleimenova, Gulmaral Tatibayeva, Beibut Assemkul.
The Focus Kazakhstan project was organized by the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports within the framework of the Ruhani Zhangyru program. The project manager is Leonid Kochetov, the curator of the project is Rosa Abenova.
Source: The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan