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photography, visual arts
drawing, installation art, painting, sculpture
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
No Mad's Land
Contemporary Art from Central Asia
4 Euro
15.03.2002 - 20.05.2002 except Mondays
Islam, borderline experience, civil war, emigration, exile, identity, tradition, war
Text, WWW
Abilsaid Atabekov, "Supersoldier"
Zhibek Jecksenbaev, "The bride form the South"
Alexandr Malgajarov, "Nice Rags"
Ulan Japarov, "Song of the slaves"
The exhibition will present some 25 contemporary artists from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and Tajikistan

After 1991, a vital and explosive scene, which explored its newly found freedoms, emerged within the fine arts in Central Asia. Whilst the academic tradition of panel painting was unanimously rejected, the experimental arts took completely different directions. Their common denominator is their use and combination of all the media: from body performance to video, to multimedia installations and computer art. Artists are working in a field of tension involving extreme experiences. Seventy years of foreign domination have almost completely destroyed the traditions of pre-Soviet nomadic society. Today, however, these traditions are flowering again in the ethnological museums. On the other hand, a Western-oriented modernity has begun to emerge, oscillating between early capitalism, feudal-Soviet organisational structures and people?s individual experiences of freedom. The fine arts of the post-Communist states are political in the most immediate sense of the term, relating to the social conditions from which they have sprung. The artists are radical in their search for identity, responding by withdrawing into private mythologies, seeking traces of their own history, citing and simultaneously questioning nomadic traditions in the process. The exhibition will present some 25 contemporary artists from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan and Kyrgystan. The House of World Cultures plans to invite a number of artists to Berlin, where they will be given the opportunity to create works in a dialogue with everyday life in Europe. The following currents will be presented:
Action Performance
The action performances of the early nineties were spectacular, expressing the ferment that announced the dawning of a new age. Groups of artists worked with shock elements, using tabooed materials such as blood and animals, and employing their own bodies as a medium of exploring their identity. Gradually, political installations, critical of the regimes, evolved, questioning the prevailing monument cult.
Tradition as Material
Others, like the Kizil Traktor artist collective, made the nomadic and shamanist tradition the subject of their frequent musical performances and installations. The nostalgic longing for an intact unity between man, myth and nature is treated ironically, however, and the balance restored using the artistic technique of collage. Artists such as Said Atabekov, for example, link shamanist ceremonies with methods borrowed from action painting.
The New Media ? Nature and Urbanism
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, digital media became a central means of communication, and hence one of the most important means of expression for a generation of young artists. Where the postal surfaces barely function, and customs duties and the geographical situation make a cultural exchange well nigh impossible, the Internet has become extremely important for international cultural dialogue as well as for obtaining information. The scene works most professionally. The computer animations of a team from the ecological disaster area of Karanda experiment with mysterious specks of light. Poetic video installations from Bishkent portray the environment. Video clips by the Media Lab group explore the city as a domain of architectural and social spaces.
Private Mythologies
The collapse of hierarchically organised systems has created an ideological vacuum, spurring people to rediscover religions, encouraging sectarianism and the development of private mythologies. Some artists are investigating the subject of Islam by making pairs of shoes appear to walk up the walls in front of places of prayer, or by poetically staging the deflowering of brides in computer-animated photographs. Others present their visions of intimacy, private stories and desires in installations, and discover in their emphasis on the personal level an international art language.

Author: Haus der Kulturen der Welt


Askhat Akhmedyarov, Ablakim Akmullaev, Slava Vyacheslav Akhunov, Shaarbek Amankulov, Said, Abilsait Atabekov, Shurat Babadjanov,0 Smail Bayalyev, Ibel Daribekov, Ira Decker, Muratbek Djoumaliev, Ulan Japarov, Shailobek Jeckshenbaev, Gulnara Kasmalieva, Rustam Khalfin, Gaukhar Kiekbayeva, Aleksandr Malgajarov, Sergey Maslov, Galim Madanov, Zauresh Madanova, Roman Makalev, Lizzy Mayrl, Erbossyn Meldibekov, Almagul Menlibayeva, Moldakul Narymbetov, Taras Popov, Zitta Sultanbayeva, Hakim Tourdiev, Georgy Tryakin-Bukharov, Vladimir Tulikin, Alexander Ugai, Viktor Vorobyov, Yelena Vorobyova, Zhay-Zia, Laboratory New Media

Contact: Margarita Dahlhaus

Text Sabine Vogel
On September 11