TODAY.AZ / Arts & Entertainment

Unique installation to be showcased in Baku

25 February 2019 [13:47] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Laman Ismayilova

YARAT Contemporary Art Space invites you to enjoy an exhibition of visual artist and poet Babi Badalov.

The exhibition entitled "ZARAtustra" will open in Baku on March 2.

Born in Azerbaijan and living in France since 2008, Badalov’s practice explores the complexities and limitations of language and expressions of gender and sexuality.

At YARAT the artist presents an installation made entirely of existing and newly commissioned textile works, offering a timely observation on the conflicts between Azerbaijan's cultural heritage and the contemporary climate of accelerated capitalist growth within the country.  

Having spent much of his life migrating between various countries and cultures, Badalov’s work is informed by his own personal experiences of exclusion – particularly with regards to gender and sexuality – whilst also alluding to broader geopolitical concerns. 

Using a process akin to automatic writing, Badalov’s urgent and organic text-based works present multiple languages to construct his distinct visual poetry, forming cleverly nuanced slogans and socio-politically charged puns.

The exhibition’s title, "ZARAtustra", is itself a portmanteau of the global high street brand (ZARA) – synonymous with contemporary fast-fashion – and the ancient Persian prophet Zarathustra (whose teachings developed into the religion Zoroastrianism) – still a major influence on the history and culture of Azerbaijan today; the title, like the work itself, thus plays within the gaps between contemporary and traditional structures, from language and beyond. 

Often using fabric as a medium for his work, the installation at YARAT comprises approximately 250 textiles hung in rows suspended from the gallery ceiling. Utilising old sheets, pieces of curtains and found materials, each textile is overlaid with Badalov’s poetic texts. Evoking the production line process of an industrial factory, the immersive installation locates the viewer within the contemporary landscape of fast fashion and mass production, whilst raising issues related to our more traditional and historically rooted constructs of self.

Presenting a departure from the textile works, a wall-based intervention from the artist similarly questions narratives surrounding people and places. Presenting handwritten slogans and texts across the gallery wall, it becomes both a physical representation of geo-political boundaries, and a metaphor for the limits of language itself. The work is the latest in a series of recent pieces the artist has completed for exhibitions internationally.  

This exhibition is curated by Suad Garayeva-Maleki and Anna Fech.

Babi Badalov (b.1959, Lerik, Azerbaïjan) lives and works in Paris. Solo exhibitions include Je Suis Mazimir Kalevich, New Museum, St. Petersbourg (2018); Quand la Litterature Sort du Livre, Festival Extra, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2018); Refugee Politic Refugee Poetic, National Museum of History of Immigration, Paris (2017); To Make Art To Take Clothes Off, MUSAC – Museum Contemporary Art, Leon (2017); For the Wall For the World Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2016); Partisanism, Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (2016); MIGRANT POETRY, La Station, Center for Contemporary Art, Nice (2015) and FUCK GOLF, Kunstraum Munich (2015). Badalov has also participated in biennials and arts festivals accross the globe such as the 5th Rennes Biennale (2016), 11th Gwangju Biennale (2016), 6th Moscow Biennale (2015), 15th Jakarta Biennale (2013) and Manifesta 8 (2010). Babi Badalov is represented by Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris since 2014.

The exhibition will last until June 16, 2019.Admission is free. 

Working hours: Tuesday through Sunday, from 12:00 – 20:00


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