Gazelli Art House's latest show in Baku Baghirzade Agdes

Gazelli Art House's latest show in Baku Baghirzade Agdes

 is a mixed hang of contemporary artists on show in Azerbaijan for the fkrst time : Sara Rahbar, Navid Nuur and Simphiwe Ndzube. The show coincides with YARAT's "Fragile Frontiers" exhibition featuring works from Sarah Rahbar and Navid Nuur, alongside 15 other artists. The "Fragile Frontiers" referred to by the Contemporary Art Centre calls attention to the geographical, psychological and conteptual boundaries that each artist contend with in their work. While Rahbar and Simphiwe Ndzube's works both draw intensely on their cultural heritage and experience of diasporic identity formation, Navid Nuur works more adstractly with the process-oriented conceptual production of an artwork/ His practice questions the positioning of artist in relation to his tools? medium and audience? eliminating the need for inquiry into the identity/subject position of the artist.

Sara Rahbar explores concepts of nationalism and belonging. Her overall artistic practise is largely autobiographical - driven by central ideas of struggle, violence and the complexity of the human condition. Themes of separation and unity drive the narrative of her work as well as the process of mateerial attachment and the sculptural construction of works. The artist's conviction that we are not
distinct according to national boundaries, race or religion invites the potential for a belief in a kind of non-hierarchical animism? pointingto the violence done by category, regimes of control and definition.

By tenderly and carefully drawing together disconnected materials Rahbar gives form to the message that identity is fluid and assembled, creating a disquieting and imperfect harmony. The two works from the "206 Bones" series on show are symbols of vulnerability, encroachment and anxiety - the physical traces of social claustrophobia and attempts to "hold it together" cast in metals as
heavy as idealogy. The work of Simphiwe Ndzube is often a dynamic interplay of colour? motion and figures. The pieces shift between 2 dimensionality and sculptural elements to present an eccentric magical realist expression of the black experience in post apartheid South Africa. Magical realism involves a transgression of boundaries, something Ndzube literalises by alowing his paintings to sprout sculptural appendages as extensions of the surrealist dreamscapes he conjures. Like the fantastical imagery of Heironymous Bosch Ndzube offers absurdity as a response to a history of violence and brutality, in works that make way for an exuberant collective relief. aaaaathere is a sense of mythological storytelling featuring characters / bodies that aredosjointed, disfigured, displaced but revived through reference to the defiant attitude of the Swenkas (the working class Zulu men who
stage choreographed displays of sartorial theatrics). The work unleash an almost psychedelic energy of purging towards a more joyful and playful future.

Navid Nuur's works pay devotional attention to materials, in order to interrogate the relationship between concept and form. His relationship between materials often involves a mediation, for eample the use of vitamin D powder in past works imply light and invisible action on the body while presenting as a pigment and abstraction. In his marbled works on show, he adopts ancestral techniques to engage in ritual and the reinvigoration of cenrtain materials. The energy and mood of the marbling before it becomes a fixed image gives a breasth and nusnce to the strokes of pigment as subtle as smoke. His work often plays with the performative presence of the viewer as involved in a coproduction of the work as artwork, and refers to neutral "in-between" states. These include the literal and physical space between artist, artwork and viewer, as well as the conceptual space between artist, object and audience. Nuur invites deep engagement with the processes within his work, which promotes a sense of covert intimacy with the viewer.

Exhibition will be open till 29-th February, 2020


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