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Fathers and Sons
Two Generations of New Artists in Kazakhstan
Islam, beauty, body, borderline experience, catastrophe, critique of civilisation, desert, emptiness, identity, modernity, post modernity, ritual, shamanism, taboo, tradition
Despite the brief period of time elapsed since independence, Valeria Ibrajeva has already identified two generations of contemporary artists in Kazakhstan. The „Fathers“, all born in the 1940s, established a completely new form of art at the start of the nineties. They drifted away from painting, starting to concentrate instead on, what was for them, completely new directions. They created performance art and used installations, made films and videos – and were met with perplexed incomprehension by the general public. The „Tractorists“ are bound by their shared orientation towards an archaic world, interest in shamans and dervishes and a ritual treatment of the arrangement of performances – all without realizing this genre had already existed for fifty years. In contrast, the „Sons“, born in the 1960s, do know about art movements in other countries and take a more critical view of things, pointing out the social problems that exist: In their view, art is not a temple but a workshop.

Author: Valeria Ibraeva

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The Walking Dead
Of Zombies, Vampires and Normal People – A Manifesto
power, ritual, taboo, transformation
Kazakhstan's artists can be divided into three categories: vampires, zombies and normals. The normals are craftsmen an women, forming a group of people needed by the Socialist state, but where the only difference is the extent of their artistic skills. The zombies know what art is – but they can't generate it, they can only imitate it. The zombies have come to realise that the future lies with contemporary art and they have begun to produce it. They will be the ones who succeed in establishing themselves and dominating the domestic market inside Kazakhstan. But the genuine creative talent lies with the vampires – and they are the only ones who will ever become internationally-recognised artists.

Author: Sergey Maslov

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The Uzbek Post-Modern
Mythic Foundations, Socialist Superstructure, Global Market
beauty, history, identity, modernity, post modernity, transformation
Central Asian art had no place in the 20th century cultural dialogue between East and West, even though this was precisely the region where the first attempts were made to blend western and eastern cultures, albeit as a policy imposed from above. For a time it seemed as if the political upheavals would lead to a rootlessness, with the entire development of art shaped by directives to conform to European institutions and art styles and a tendency to replace what was their "own" by the "foreign". During those years, art and artists were doubly isolated: they could neither further develop their religious, philosophical and artistic heritage in all its richness, nor could they participate in the global evolution in artistic movements. Notwithstanding the official doctrine of socialist realism, many Uzbek artists did succeed in preserving their connections to their own ethnic culture and maintained their own way of seeing. The old frescoes, or religious and philosophical teachings, the esoteric knowledge of the Sufis and old religions or inspiration drawn from myth and poetry now all form the starting point in the search for the artists’ own identity.

Ahmedova Nigora

For the full-length article please refer to the German version.