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Solo exhibition from multidisciplinary artist Taus Makhacheva on view at YARAT Contemporary Art Space
Taus Makhacheva, On the benefits of pyramids in cultural education, strengthening of national consciousness and the formation of moral and ethical guideposts, 2015. Photo documentation of performance at 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. Photo by Ivan Erofeev, courtesy the Artist.

BAKU.- YARAT Contemporary Art Space announces a solo exhibition from multidisciplinary artist Taus Makhacheva, running 12 July – 6 October 2019. Living and working in her hometown of Moscow, Makhacheva’s varied practice includes installation, performance and film. At YARAT, the artist presents an interactive multimedia installation exploring Azerbaijani contemporaneity, through newly-commissioned works detailing the USSR Circus tradition and wider concepts of history making.

Reference points include the story of the Berberov family, who once lived in Baku with their pet lion, King I. Achieving fame across the Soviet Union following a movie role, the lion was then mistakenly shot dead by a policeman. The exhibition also draws inspiration from the 1967 Soviet Circus documentary ‘National Circus’, investigating the representation of Soviet republics through distinct performance groups such as Azerbaijan’s Nazirov gymnastic group, the Uzbek clown Akram Yusupov and the Tashkenbaev family of tightrope walkers. The Soviet circus was a censorship-free and even anarchic space, almost out of regime control. While being part of the cultural underground, it remained a form of mainstream entertainment showing the connection between freedom in circus space and postmodern theorist Susan Melrose’s concept of theatre depoloticization.

Through its unpicking of fact and fiction around the shared histories, the exhibition furthers Makhacheva’s ongoing interrogation into the lasting tensions between tradition, modernity and cultural authenticity from the transitional period of the Soviet into the post-Soviet landscape, towards the post post-Soviet futures.

This exhibition is curated by Suad Garayeva Maleki.

Taus Makhacheva (b.1983, lives and works in Moscow, Russia) is known predominantly for her performance and video works that critically examine what happens when different cultures and traditions come into contact with one another. Having grown up in Moscow with cultural origins in the Caucasus region of Dagestan, her artistic practice is informed by this personal connection with the co-existing worlds of pre and post Sovietisation. Oftentimes humorous, her works attempt to test the resilience of images, objects and bodies in today’s world.

Taus has a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths (2007) and MFA from Royal College of Art (2013).

Selected exhibitions include Liverpool Biennial (2018), Yinchuan Biennale (2018), Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (2018), Venice Biennial (2017); Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art (Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, 2017); Museum ON/OFF (Centre Pompidou, 2016); Shanghai Biennial (2016); Kyiv Biennial (2015); Moscow Biennale (2015 and 2011); Sharjah Biennial (2013). Awarded by 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art Foundation Prize (Moscow, 2015), “Future of Europe” Prize, Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig, (2014) and the “New Generation – Innovation” State Prize (2012).

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