Life is a Legend
Contemporary Kazakh art exhibition / Almaty E-city. (Strasbourg)
Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Strasbourg
5 Dec 2014 – 8 Mar 2015
Participants: Georgiy Tryakhin-Bukharov, Yelena Vorobyeva and Viktor Vorobyev, Galim Madanov and Zauresh Terekbay, ZITABL (Zitta Sultanbayeva and Ablikim Akmullayev), Erbossyn Meldibekov, Said Atabekov, Almagul Menlibayeva, Alexander Ugai, Oksana Shatalova, Bakhyt Bubikanova, Syrlybek Bekbotayev, Arystanbek Shalbayev, Smail Bayaliyev, Ekaterina Nikonorova, Zoya Falkova.
The exhibition was launched within e.city – Almaty / Kazakhstan project by Eurasian Cultural Alliance public association (Kazakhstan) and Apollonia association (France). The project was carried out with the support of Almaty Akimat and Strasbourg Municipality.
Igor Sludskiy (Eurasian Cultural Alliance):
“Contemporary art blurs the boundaries between cultures, nations, countries and cities. Now it is only a detail where the artist lives and what his ethnicity is. Strasbourg exhibition is a confirmation of this idea. We are convinced that the ways contemporary Kazakhstani artists choose, the trends they follow in their works are clear and familiar not only in France and Europe but worldwide. At the same time Kazakhstan has a very special unique outlook on the world, which is particularly visible in art.”
The project curators seek to demonstrate the development of contemporary Kazakhstani art for the last 20 years. Several generations of artists are united here by irrepressible search for identity, acquiring its distinct shape on the background of critical and often ironical analysis of the recent historical and social processes as well as being fed by centuries-old traditions and ancient legends of Kazakh land at the intersection of roads and cultures.
Daria Evdokimova (Apollonia):
“The name Baikonur probably brings to mind an early episode in the history of space exploration, but many of us known little of Kazakhstan beyond the steppes and pipelines of this Central Asian republic. Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic that won its independence in 1991, is also a land of art and culture where, from the orchards of Almaty, the city of artists and intellectuals, to the skyscrapers of the economic capital Astana, contemporary art displays extraordinary vitality.
Kazakh culture is primarily a plural culture. It is at once the outcome of a millennial history, marked by nomadism and oral traditions, and of the recent past, in this century and the last, to which political regimes have brought their share of disasters and frenetic reconstructions. It is a region where several languages, several religions and several traditions live side-by-side and where the influence of neighboring countries (Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan) and political regimes (Russia, China) is clearly visible. This motley of Soviet legacy and shamanism, nomadic culture and peaking economic growth has engendered an art of convulsive beauty, in which the dichotomy between artistic proposal and critical analysis often becomes irrelevant.
Life is a legend is written by Mukagali Makataev (1931-1976), the Kazakh poet who also translated Dante and Walt Whitman. These words seem predestined to evoke this circle of artists working in a crucible that fuses together ancestral history and a radically mutating present.
Curated by Dimitriy Konstantinidis (Apollonia), Daria Evdokimova (Apollonia) and Estelle Pietrzyk (Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art)