The internationally renowned Kazakhstani-born contemporary artist Almagul Menlibayeva works with a range of media including painting, graphics, performance, installation, video and fine art in order to expose shared cultural experiences across time and place. Menlibayeva’s acclaimed practice references non-verbal dialogues across worlds, cultures and eras, with particular attention given to the role of women in pre-Soviet, pre-Islamic and Shamanistic and dervish cultures. Rashad Alakbarov is one of the key Azerbaijani artists to come to international attention in recent years. His installation-based works explore the distortion of sensory perception; using various media, Alakbarov arranges objects and fragments before a light-source to cast shadows. The duality between installation and creation, light and shadow, reality and perception is central to his art.
Drawing on ideas of tradition, history, culture and architecture, The Union of Fire and Water takes inspiration from a landmark building constructed in the Venetian Gothic style in Baku in 1912: Mukhtarov’s Palace. Erected for his beloved wife by one of the first oil magnates, Murtuza Mukhtarov, the building has since changed hands and functions numerous times following the Soviet invasion and Mukhtarov’s suicide. The building now houses the main marriage registry office in Baku and is informally known as the ‘Palace of Happiness’. The story of Mukhtarov’s Palace exemplifies wider themes of unity and conflict, love and violence, dialogue and aggression explored by Menlibayeva and Alakbarov within the show. Using the centuries of exchange and conflict inherent within the architecture of both Baku and Venice, The Union of Fire and Water seeks to explore the complexities of oscillating cultural unions.
Title: The Union of Fire and Water
Location: Palazzo Barbaro, San Marco, 2840, Venezia, Italy
Exhibition dates: 9 May – 22 November 2015
Nearest Vaporetto stop: Accademia or Giglio
Directions to access: via Grand Canal or Campo St Stefano
Coordinator in Venice: PDG Arte Communications | www.artecommunications.com