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Comprehensive exhibition of Azerbaijani contemporary art opens at me Collectors Room Berlin
Tora Aghabayova, Caspian Vacation, 2011. 180cm x 140cm. Oil on canvas. ©Tora Aghabayova.

BERLIN.- Opened on November 2, 2012, the Heydar-Aliyev-Foundation of Azerbaijan is presenting FLY TO BAKU, the most comprehensive exhibition of Azerbaijani contemporary art ever shown in Germany. With 94 works by 21 artists from three generations, the exhibition in Berlin offers unique insights into the current state of this country’s art scene.

FLY TO BAKU presents diverse positions situated between the Islamic visual tradition and modern influences. All contemporary art media, including painting, sculpture, installation, video, performance and photography, can be seen here. Many of the numerous works created specifically for FLY TO BAKU reflect both Azerbaijan’s thousand-year history and the fundamental changes faced by the former Soviet republic since its independence in 1991. The country has been represented at the Venice Bienniale since 2007. The Museum of Modern Art in Azerbaijan was opened in 2009; since that time, it has made an important contribution to the dialogue and the development of the Azerbaijan art scene.

The independent Heydar-Aliyev-Foundation Azerbaijan’s aim is to support and promote Azerbaijani culture and to give humanitarian aid in Azerbaijan and abroad. Through this project, which has previously been shown in Paris and London, the foundation has made possible a cultural exchange with European art scenes and created an international platform for Azerbaijani artists.

A particularly striking aspect of the exhibition FLY TO BAKU is the exploration of visual traditions and forms of expression handed down from the ancient and medieval periods of the Middle East. Ornament and abstraction represent defining concepts in this context and are taken up in conceptually strong works. The sculptor Faig Ahmed (born 1982 in Baku), who represented Azerbaijan at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007, offers an example: he combines abstract sculpture with traditional ornamentation derived from Azerbaijani rugs in order to reveal their fundamental interconnections.

Some of the pieces displayed also deal with the evolution and changes in the recent history of Azerbaijan. Thus, the works of the artist Tora Aghabayova (born 1979 in Baku) stand in the tradition of Socialist Realism; the complex performances of Ali Hasanov, who also represented Azerbaijan at the 2007 Venice Biennale, involve body motions, music and installations and make reference to his country’s difficult road to independence.

Exhibiting artists: Aga Ousseinov, Aida Mahmudova, Ali Hasanov, Altai Sadiqzadeh, Eliyar Alimirzoyev, Enver Askerov, Faig Ahmed, Fakhriyya Mammadova, Farid Rasulov, Huseyn Haqverdi, Irina Eldarova, Leyla Aliyeva, Mammad Mustafayev, Melik Aghamalov, Mirnadir Zeynalov, Niyaz Najafov, Orkhan Huseynov, Rashad Alakbarov, Rashad Babayev, Sanan Aleskerov and Tora Aghabayova.

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