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YARAT hosts exhibitions by renown artists

18 March 2022 [18:00] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Laman Ismayilova

Azerbaijani and Belgian artists have showcased their art works the at YARAT Contemporary Art Space.

The solo exhibition "Panopticon" by Belgian artist Michel François is constructed as a dialogue between a restrictive, human-made device and the natural elements surrounding it, symbolising our desire for freedom.

The immersive installation is the result of the artist’s research residency in Baku and consists of a central piece of a surveillance tower that overlooks its surroundings with its cyclopic eye.

The Panopti?on observes everything and also reflects our presence as curious intruders or witnesses. François' construction takes its inspiration from the architectural model of an institutional prison control system invented by social theorist and philosopher Jeremy Bentham in the 18th Century.

By replacing the round control room's windows with mirrors, the artist reverses the strategic purpose of the tower. In this way, François' work can be understood as a cynical critique of today’s society, contaminated by the abuse of controlling devices that steal and rob images of our private lives.

The tower also reflects the objects that fill the setting around it. The rest of the sculptural interventions are presented as frozen moments on an abandoned filmset.

Like in many of his other exhibitions, the artist always looks for a ‘plan to escape’. He seems to find this freedom in the uncontrollable beauty of natural elements, such as in the exuberant form of an impossible fountain spitting out aluminum peanuts, or in the elegance of a silver fence, floating in the sky like an unnatural cloud.

The same liberating pleasure can be felt observing the repeated images of the film commissioned by YARAT and made by the artist on location, capturing the science fiction-like magic of Azerbaijan’s landscape of mud volcanoes. It shows images of lava in eruption, with fading gas-filled bubbles in non-stop transformation. They possess a secret ‘convulsive’ beauty that the surrealists once tried to define as ‘explosive-fixed’. Most of the other sculptural compositions presented are composed of carefully selected poor, almost banal materials that refer in a certain way to the natural resources that are the country's real hidden treasures.

The exhibition invites us to surf on the riffs of reality and the everyday, and transforms us for a moment into accidental tourists or actors participating in the artist’s melancholic theatre of the absurd. Central to his work is the analysis of how small,simple images and objects are the basic elements that decide how we behave as humans in this complex world.

Michel François.(b.1956, Belgium) lives and works in Brussels. His conceptual practice includes sculpture, video, photography, printed matter, painting and installation work. 

In a manner similar to that of the Arte Povera artists, François uses great economy of means to transform seemingly uncomplicated objects and materials, or traces of past events, into deeply resonant carriers of meaning. His work can be seen as exploration of cause and effect, and the ways in which simple gestures can change the status of an object or have important consequences.

He has presented projects at the Havana Biennial (2015), the Belgian Pavilion at the 48th Venice Biennale (1999), the 22nd São Paulo Biennial (1994) and documenta IX in Kassel (1992). He has had solo exhibitions at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Dia Center for the Arts, New York; S.M.A.K., Ghent; Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; Kunsthalle Bern, Bern; Haus der Kunst, Munich. He has participated in group exhibitions at venues such as Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro; Tapei Fine Art Museum, Taipei; Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz; Jeu de Paume, Paris; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and Fondation Hermès, Brussels.

The exhibition is curated by Erich Weiss, a Belgian born artist/curator, based in Barcelona. At the moment he works as venue coordinator for documenta fifteen in Kassel.

Dates: March 17 – October 4, 2022

Exhibition opens: Tuesday through Sunday, 12.00 – 20.00. COVID passport is required

YARAT Contemporary Art Space also opened new personal exhibition "?NS?N" (HUMAN) by multidisciplinary artist CHINGIZ.

?NS?N is an immersive project by CHINGIZ that shows different aspects of society through the prism of personal experience. A prototype artist's studio and a live and continuously developing organism, the project represents an interactive exhibition interrogating the process of work. The main protagonist of the exhibition is the Individual that both lives and changes in tune with the times and their actions.

The artist uses sculptures and installations that serve as indicators of various situations to uncover this idea and show transformations, influences and side effects of the time. The exhibition focuses on the Individual and their surroundings, feelings, emotions, contrasts, and alternatives, highlighting the Individual's core nature as a principal party to, and the driving force behind, all processes.

Autobiographical in nature, the artist develops the principle of personal space in a studio-like way and narrates the reality that surrounds him. The exhibition highlights the versatility of people but at the same time demonstrates that an individual does act the same way in recurring situations, hinting at their distinctive and inconsistent nature...

The show is dedicated to CHINGIZ’s father Tofig Babayev, who has inspired the artist in the most important way. The exhibition is curated by Farah Alakbarli.

CHINGIZ (Chingiz Babayev, 1964, Azerbaijan) – Sculptor, painter, designer, theorist, poet, and philosopher. He combines fine art, graphics, sculpture, collage, street art, installation, performance, video art and other media to study the application of different ideas. CHINGIZ's oeuvre is showcased in the Baku Museum of Modern Art, Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum and the Vahid Kooros collection, as well as kept in private and public collections across Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, USA, UK, Austria, Italy, Estonia, France, Poland, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Dominican Republic, Kyrgyzstan, and Iran.

Dates: March 17 – October 4, 2022

Exhibition opens: Tuesday through Sunday, 12.00 – 20.00. COVID passport is required.

Notably, YARAT is an artist-founded, non-profit art organisation based in Baku, Azerbaijan, established by Aida Mahmudova in 2011. YARAT (which means 'create' in Azerbaijani) is dedicated to contemporary art with a long-term commitment to creating a hub for artistic practice, research, thinking and education in the Caucasus, Central Asia and surrounding region.

YARAT is an artist-founded, not-for-profit art organisation based in Baku, Azerbaijan, established by Aida Mahmudova in 2011. YARAT (which means 'create' in Azerbaijani) is dedicated to contemporary art with a long-term commitment to creating a hub for artistic practice, research, thinking and education in the Caucasus, Central Asia and surrounding region.

YARAT comprises YARAT Contemporary Art Centre, Museum of Azerbaijani Painting of the XX-XXI Centuries, ARTIM Project Space and an extended educational and public programme. YARAT Art Centre, a 2000 m² converted Soviet-era naval building, opened in March 2015 and is the organisation's main exhibition space. The exhibition programme features new commissions by artists responding to the region. It supports and provides access to artists from the region, while engaging and introducing established, international artists.

Museum of Azerbaijani Painting of the XX-XXI Centuries presents a series of exhibitions with the works from the collection of National Museums and Galleries and organize a public and education programme of events running. The Museum collaborates closely with educational institutions and the museum's staff familiarises pupils and students with expositions through interactive tours by teaching them to comprehend and interpret art.

In October 2015, YARAT opened ARTIM, a central, accessible and dynamic space in Baku's Old City. ARTIM (meaning 'progress' in Azerbaijani) shows experimental practices and new work by emerging Azeri art professionals (selected through open call) and the international artists from the residency programme. It features multiple small-scale projects each year and hosts ARTIM Lab, a programme enabling young artists to engage in workshops and daily studio practice to generate new ideas and works.

Education has been at the heart of YARAT’s activities since its creation.

With a dedicated public programme that includes courses, workshops, lectures, screenings, festivals, literature and theatre clubs and family weekends, YARAT aims to give access to broad audiences of all ages. The public programme invests proactively in building communities and nurturing a wider understanding of, and participation in, contemporary art.


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