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YARAT opens exhibitions themed "Danger Cleared: No Mines" & "The Equinox"

11 December 2023 [11:12] - TODAY.AZ
By Azernews

Laman Ismayilova

YARAT Contemporary Art Space has opened two exhibitions themed "Danger Cleared: No Mines" and "The Equinox".

The exhibition "Danger Cleared: No Mines" intertwines performances, video installations, and graphic artworks specially commissioned by YARAT, featuring the talents of Khanlar Gasimov, Orkhan Huseynov, Elturan Mammadov, Kamilla Muradova, Vusal Rahim, and Sabina Shikhlinskaya, Azernews reports.

The artworks delve profoundly into core cultural, social, and environmental issues, centering around the poignant theme of post-conflict peace.

Upon entering the exhibition, “Danger Cleared: No Mines” immediately envelops visitors in an evocative representation of a minefield - an artistic testament to Khanlar Gasimov's vision. Gasimov, an Azerbaijani artist based in New York, embodies the concept of “placing individuals in unexpected situations”. His work navigates themes of historical memory, land heritage, and cultural legacies.

Simultaneously, Sabina Shikhlinskaya's video installation delves into cultural genocide (ethnocide) while advocating for a “secure future”, employing the illustrative example of Karabakh Khan's Palace.

Complementing this theme, multidisciplinary artist Orkhan Huseynov illuminates demined areas through space photography, shedding light on extensive security concerns within ecological and social contexts.

Elturan Mammadov's video installation, deeply rooted in local characteristics, reflects post-event social responses. Vusal Rahim, through his performance, emphasizes a future that is secure, vibrant, and environmentally sustainable. Additionally, a series of graphics inspired by Kamilla Muradova's personal story dissects stereotypical thoughts entrenched in collective memory, contributing depth and completeness to the exhibition.

The exhibition narrates the story of a society that has faced the harrowing realities of war and emerged resilient. Its aim is to underscore that the quest for peace is not just a collective aspiration but an attainable reality. Through personal narratives, research insights, and historical artifacts, the exhibition emphasizes the crucial roles of reconciliation, cooperation, and empathy in reshaping history and fostering a future free from violence.

P.S. The occupation of Armenia has led to the proliferation of landmines, posing a significant threat in Azerbaijan. Presently, our country stands among the most heavily landmine-contaminated nations globally. Since November 2020, over 300 Azerbaijani citizens have tragically lost their lives or suffered severe injuries due to these mines, constituting a form of terrorism. This acts in direct violation of fundamental legal norms and casts a shadow over the earnest desire for peace. Despite the cessation of hostilities, the majority of these deadly mines were manufactured after 2020. Mining stands not only as a crime against humanity but also operates as a mechanism that harms ecology and jeopardizes our cultural heritage.

Note that the exhibition "Danger Cleared: No Mines" is curated by Farah Alakbarli.

The multidisciplinary exhibition "The Equinox", brings together seven Georgian artists describing the cornerstone of the awareness of human identity, the path of consciousness formation from the late 20th to the beginning of the 21st century in local and global perspectives.

The project unpacks a complex discourse of linked interactions, from the individual to the collective and vice versa, the impact of the individual experience on the collective experience and its impact on time-varying patterns. The exhibition is built on a dualistic principle, with reference to the interaction of light and darkness, and where the interaction of the individual and the collective is considered in the continuum.

The research presented in the exhibition is based on a series of lectures given by Georgian philosopher Merab Mamardashvili to students at Tbilisi State University's Faculty of Arts and Humanities (1984-1985). In the lectures, titled “Psychological Topology of the Path” (1997), the philosopher used time and life as central themes in the discourse based on Marcel Proust's novel “In Search of Lost Time”. The exhibition’s title, “Equinox” is derived from the same lectures, in which Mamardashvili describes the place where the equilibrium of the expression of consciousness is obtained as an example of how darkness and light interact.

The exhibition starts with a symbol depicting the metamorphosis of the path of consciousness by representing the inner confrontation within a butterfly, referencing the effort and time for the pupa to obtain its wings. Further, the project reveals the triggering factors of this path, where the research of collective memory and experience takes on an important role. Here, too, the dualistic principle is underlined. On the one hand, geopolitical shifts, cultural observations, the connection to the past and its transformation over time, all play a significant role in the emergence of a sense of belonging. On the other hand, how identities transform and metamorphose in response to globalisation and technological shifts changes the cornerstone of consciousness. New forms arise, where the necessity for memory is lost and the phenomenon of cultural belonging becomes absurd.

The second part examines the continuum – the system through which the path of human consciousness passes. By studying the architecture of light (the gradation of yellow in black), reference is made to the phenomenon of the perception of information in consciousness (for the perception of light or impression, the receiver’s condition is under darkness and emptiness), and by the theory of relativity, the conditionality of perception of time and scale of human and collective consciousness is determined. The same principle determines the repetitive, massive processes in the world. With this aspect, there is a confrontation between individual and collective consciousness, coalescing into repetitive patterns or forming a different, singular path from where an individual act takes place.

The culmination of the exhibition is reached by the reverse discourse, unfolding a space that is impenetrable to the outside world, which also becomes real only through one’s own efforts, and on the contrary, becomes a catalyst for the structure of collective consciousness, generating new forms and changes in time.

The exhibition "The Equinox" is curated by Tamuna Arshba and Tata Ksovreli.

Dates: December 7, 2023 – April 27, 2024

Location: YARAT Contemporary Art Centre (National Flag Square)

Exhibition opens: Tuesday through Sunday, 12.00 – 20.00

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