20 Jul - 11 Aug 17
YARAT Contemporary Art Space is pleased to invite you to the group exhibition “Imaginary Strangers” at ARTIM Project Space featuring works by the international YARAT resident Alina Orlov (Israel) and the ARTIM LAB participants.
Artists: Shahnaz Aghayeva (AZ), Hatem Alizadeh (AZ), Mousa Beyzadeh (AZ), Etibar Ismayilov (AZ), Ilaha Khaliqova (AZ), Aydan Mirzayeva (AZ), Alina Orlov (Israel)
Imaginary Strangers aims to intervene into life rather than imitate it. It focuses on building relationships going beyond several kinds of distances such as social or cultural, reducing the gap between myself and the others. It tries to overcome the stranger as someone who is imagined, mentioned but never introduced, by encounters and dialogue initiating a process of mutual understanding, intimacy and valuing. Imaginary Strangers is not only a concept of the exterior stranger but can also be understood as an abstract idea of the internal stranger, a side within the self, hidden, unfamiliar that wants to be explored to uncover unknown aspects and depths of the own subjectivity.
Shahnaz Aghayeva’s project is based on a research on prostitutes exploring the stereotype that prostitution is only based on forced labor. Does society accept women who are enjoying doing this job? Are there positive examples of integrated sex workers within family and their social surrounding? Her installation becomes a mirror of everyone’s suppressed sexual longings and desires.
Hatem Alizadeh’s performance You will be! Perfect (Ты будешь! Идеальной) uncovers how people construct the others by bounding, stuffing, shaping them to fit into one owns imaginations and expectations. It raises questions in how far do we accept people the way they are, in how far are we even capable to see the many layers of someone’s personality without handcuffing them and making this perfect image belong to us?
Mousa Beyzadeh’s video work documents his performance walking around in Baku city dressed as a veiled woman and recording the reactions of other people. The artist provokes controversial sceneries with an inappropriated behavior of a presumed religious woman. The work challenges social and religious rules in public space as well as clichés on gender roles.
Etibar Ismayilov’s participatory installation consists of a map of Azerbaijan asking the audience Where is home for you?. The people are invited to fix post-its on the map. The work not only reflects on the meaning of what actually home means, but also explores demographic questions of Azerbaijan, such as migration due to the labor market situation.
Ilaha Khaliqova investigates in issues of transgender. What if you feel you are born in the wrong body? How do people deal with everyday life with characteristics that are not accepted in society? The interview that she took is displayed on different TVs: the same person seems to be in conversation with himself interrupting and commenting himself. The work becomes a multilayered portrait braking up bipolar structures of gender identities and sexual orientation.
Aydan Mirzayeva dives into the electronic music scene in Azerbaijan, a peripheral phenomenon, which is characterized by solitary minds. By recording interviews and showing these to representatives of the genre the artist tries to initiate the missing dialogue and exchange of thoughts.
The title of Alina Orlov’s installation J’accuse…! is inspired by an open letter published in 1989 in France by the influential French writer Emile Zola, who accused the government of unlawful arrest of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer. Orlov’s work that she developed during the residency plays on general local cultural imagery and personal memories exploring moments of her own contradictory cultural localization between Russia, Azerbaijan and Israel. The artist takes upon ambivalent gender perspectives as in the window grills that are usually considered as a male handcraft, but are decorated with girlish ornaments or a carpet cone traditionally made by women, but with symbols of female empowerment rather than a critique on exploitation. In the bluish-shady light associated to both nightclubs and purity, the installation reflects the smooth transition between the own desire and being an object of desire, between the victim and the culprit. Her video work catches the voyeuristic and lascivious gazes of the visitor staging herself as a femme fatale saying in different variations Я тебя виню (I accuse you).
ARTIM is directed at young Azerbaijani artists with an intention to support and encourage emergent talent to grow. The program has a designated exhibition space in Icheri Sheher that was conceived as a platform for experimenting and professionally showcasing art. Artworks resulting from the program are exhibited at the ARTIM Project Space, Baku.
The exhibition is not recommended for people under 18 years.
Opening Date: 20th of July 2017, 7 pm
ARTIST TALK: 27th of July, 2017, 7 pm
Finissage Summer Party: 11th of August, 2017, 7 pm
Exhibition dates: 20th of July – 11th of August
Working hours: Thursday – Sunday, 2pm – 8pm
For more information: www.yarat.az; 0125051414