As part of the presentation of the online ontology Horizon—a special project of Tselinny Center of Contemporary Culture (Almaty), Garage will screen films by artists from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Horizon. Video Art from Central Asia is a program featuring works representing a specific perception of historical and political events in the region. Central Asian contemporary art blurs the boundaries between the local and the global, suggesting reflection on utopian narratives and metaphysical issues. Since the emergence of contemporary art in Central Asia, an integral part of its flagship agenda has been the development of decolonial optics, contemplation on the cultural heritage, and a critical look at the Soviet past.
Saodat Ismailova’s mystical two-channel film Two Horizons (2017) is dedicated to the Turkic epic poem about the poet Korkyt-Ata, hiding from death, which pursued him in the form of a seven-year-old boy. Transoxiana Dreams (2011) is a film by Almagul Menlibayeva about one of the most significant environmental disasters in the history of the USSR, confronting the viewer with a ruined landscape filled with surreal characters inhabiting the disappearing Aral Sea. The feeling of alienation becomes the leitmotif in Aziza Shadenova’s The Disappearing City (2011) that deals with the generation conflict and the artist's reflection on the clash of traditional and contemporary cultures. One of the pioneers of Kazakhstan’s contemporary art, Rustam Khalfin, brings to the point of absurdity the stereotypical image of a nomad who has fused with a horse in The Love Races (2000) where a couple makes love on horseback. The main subject of Alexander Ugay’s Bastion (2007) is utopia, which the artist views as a permanent human desire. The screening will conclude with the video documentation of Askhat Akhmedyarov's monumental performance Autumn Purification (2019), during which the artist, using canes in the steppe, burns portraits of repressed national movement leaders and Soviet chiefs, who have left an imprint on Kazakhstan’s collective memory. With this piece, the artist alludes to the ancient Kazakh ritual of purification by fire.
Almagul Menlibayeva. Transoxiana Dreams. 2011
Aziza Shadenova. The Disappearing City. 2011
Saodat Ismailova. Two Horizons. 2017
Rustam Khalfin. The Love Races. 2000
Alexander Ugay. Bastion. 2007
Askhat Akhmedyarov. Autumn Purification. 2019