Central Asian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
June 1 – November 24, 2013
Preview: May 29 – 31, 2013
Curators: Tiago Bom and Ayatgali Tuleubek
Artistic advisor: Susanne M. Winterling
Vyacheslav Akhunov (b. 1948) from Uzbekistan
Saodat Ismailova (b. 1981) from Uzbekistan
Kamilla Kurmanbekova (b. 1986) & Erlan Tuyakov (b. 1985) from Kazakhstan
Ikuru Kuwajima (b. 1984) from Kazakhstan
Anton Rodin (b. 1988) & Sergey Chutkov (b. 1984) from Tajikistan
Aza Shade (b. 1988) from Kyrgyzstan…
Commissioner: HIVOS (Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation)
Deputy Commissioner/Implementing Institution: The Academy of Fine Art/Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Dean Vanessa Ohlraun
The Central Asian Pavilion at the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia will present the exhibition WINTER, at the Palazzo Malipiero, featuring artists from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Selected through an open call directed at poets, writers, activists and other cultural practitioners, the artistic positions and discursive statements staged in the Pavilion will address questions relevant to Central Asian realities and beyond.
The title and underlying concept of WINTER comes from a poem by 19th-century Kazakh poet and thinker Abay Qunanbayuli, whose reflections on social justice endowed the region with a profound intellectual legacy. In re-contextualizing his poem, the Pavilion’s curators invoke poetic interpretations of reality. Through nuance and metaphor, Qunanbayuli’s poem reveals potential concepts for broader debate, raising questions rather than proposing firm statements.
The states of Central Asia are culturally similar, sharing a common past in their Soviet history. Now, after two decades of independence in the region, there have been substantial changes in social, political and cultural life. WINTER critiques the stagnation of these contexts, characterised by the absence of local spaces for analysis and artistic diversity. Yet, similar states of intellectual inertia can be identified around the world, inviting the universal question: “How can artists, cultural producers and activists react and respond?”
Launched this February and continuing throughout spring in Oslo, the peripatetic parallel programme will continue throughout Central Asia, in collaboration with local institutions in Almaty, Bishkek and Dushanbe, from film screenings in spring, to seminars in autumn 2013. Through a diverse schedule of discussions, seminars and screenings, the programme sets out to find ways of establishing alternative models to foster the development of critical thinking and self-reflection within artistic contexts in Central Asia and across Europe. With the active participation of Central Asian and non-Central Asian contributors, these platforms will stress different aspects of the artistic production characteristic to the region, relevant to local and international audiences.
Breakfast Forum: “Perspectives Beyond Stagnation,” 30 May
During the preview of the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, the Central Asian Pavilion in Venice will host an opening breakfast and discussion on Thursday, 30 May 9–11am titled “Perspectives beyond Stagnation” organised in collaboration with the curators of LIAF 2013 (Lofoten International Art Festival www.liaf.no), Anne Szefer Karlsen, Bassam El Baroni and Eva González-Sancho. Speakers include historian of social and political thought Gopal Balakrishnan (History of Consciousness Department, UCSC) with a talk on “Further Convolutions of Capitalism” and philosopher and writer Aaron Schuster, who will address issues of transgression and constraint. This will be followed by an open discussion and tour of the exhibition with the curators and represented artists ofWINTER, Kamilla Kurmanbekova & Erlan Tuyakov, Anton Rodin & Sergey Chutkov, Aza Shadeand Saodat Ismailova.
The Central Asian Pavilion at the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia is commissioned by HIVOS (Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation) which has appointed the Oslo-based artists Tiago Bom (Portugal) and Ayatgali Tuleubek (Kazakhstan) as successful candidates of an International open call to curate this year’s pavilion. The artist Susanne M. Winterling is artistic advisor and The Academy of Fine Art/Oslo National Academy of the Arts (www.khio.no) was invited as the implementing institution, with Dean Vanessa Ohlraun as Deputy Commissioner. The project coordinator of the parallel programme in Central Asia is Almaty-based Yekaterina Serebryanaya, and the Venice coordinator is Andris Brinkmanis.
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