Tengri Umai Gallery, Almaty
29 December, 2015 – 9 January, 2016
Curator: Yana Malinovskaya
Artists: Dalida Aliyeva, Bakhyt Bubikanova, Aizhan Dussekenova, Saule Dussenbina, Zoya Falkova, Yegor Fedorovich, Alexandra Kalacheva, Polina Kanis, Andrew Kuzkin, Anastassiya Kuzmina, Roman Mokrov, Dana Molzhigit, Anvar Musrepov, Dariya Neretina, Katya Nikonorova, Mariya Obukhova, Fatima Omir, PNI art-group (Alexey Shindin, Konstantin Timokhin, Nataliya Novikova, Irina Maslikova, Anastassiya Strashinskaya), Dariya Polyakova, Yevgeniya Pyatova, Symbat Satybaldiyeva, Alexey Shindin, Mariya Sokol, Pavel Solovyov, Saule Suleimenova, and Victor and Yelena Vorobyev.
Eurasian Cultural Alliance in cooperation with Tengri Umai Gallery and an independent curator Yana Malinovskaya is pleased to announce the opening of a group exhibition Pirtoy.
Feast, as a form of collective relationships, has diversified into a number of celebratory ways to pass time at a table, but the idea of “something beyond merely eating and imbibing” has remained at its core. The word “feast” invokes a specific cultural memory, an image of a large-scale ritual ceremony that unites people not only “horizontally” at the table but also “vertically” – through a joint spiritual experience of two worlds. The first is the world of the dead since feasting is always a trizna, while the second is the world of Gods because a feast also functions as a sacrifice. A feast is a combination of dialogues: with the departed, with the past; with the gods, with the future; with each other, and with yourself – in the present.
Rituals and rules of behavior during a banquet were clearly defined and carried a socio-educational function in virtually all national traditions including Greek symposiums, Russian bratchinas, Uighur mashrabs, and Central Asian toys. These occasions taught the art of holding highbrow conversations as it was prohibited to offend ancestors, gods, and hosts of the feast by engaging in common, everyday talk. Hosts would offer elegant clothing to guests who needed it. This rule formed the basis of a gospel parable of a wedding feast, in which the festive garment is a metaphor for "mercy, goodness and brotherly love.” To be invited to a feast meant to be internally prepared for it, “Many are called, but few are chosen."
Today, faint echoes of the traditional feast are manifested in New Year’s celebrations. The event erases conventions and differences, various national traditions and cuisines are blended on such a joyful occasion. We put on festive clothes, set the table and gather guests. Remembering the past and making plans for the future, we find ourselves in an in-between state, just as at a traditional feast during dialogues between worlds. What will we talk about seeing off the past year? What will we remember and hope for?
Our festive garments of mercy and brotherly love are virtual; the bride fled to another groom with power, money, and weapons; food is crushed, memory is distorted; the present is terrifying and the future is vague. An illusion of reality is like holding a piece of meat in hand but not being able to eat it and feel fulfilled. Whether we exchange this meat for a cucumber or the latest version of the iPhone, the feeling of hunger persists. What shall we do with it? Can we even do anything about it?
We announce a feast on the territory of art and invite everyone who is willing to put on our festive clothes. All the works presented are related to food but our thoughts and conversations are not about food.
Pirtoy marks the space of our feast as a place of communication and dialogue, which represents an upward movement, a way of enlightenment, where new meanings are created and divisions and boundaries are overcome. We celebrate an art pirtoy just as we celebrate a trizna and those departing with it. We lay out food and dedicate our thoughts to them. We create a space for dialogue. We sacrifice our present and ideas for the future. We have nothing else as only time and ideas continue to hold any value. The next year will be born out of this sacrifice. And if our sacrifice is plentiful, perhaps the new year will be better than the previous one.
Let the Pirtoy begin!