Project #6: Untitled… (Local Foreigners)
July 7 – August 10
Featuring: Aslan Gaysumov (Chechnya), Taus Makhacheva (Dagestan), Babi Badalov (France/Azerbaijan), Mher Azatyan (Armenia) Nino Sekhniashvili (Georgia), Musay Gayvoronsky (Dagestan)
Curator: Andrey Misiano
Garage Project Space’s sixth project, Untitled… (Local Foreigners) is an exhibition Untitled… (Native Foreigners) is an exhibition dwelling on the experiences of various artists born during Soviet times in the Caucasus, who are gradually losing their connection to a common socialist past. The exhibition’s participants may represent differing geographies and generations, yet they are united by a painfully uncertain sense of personal identity, intensified and overсomplicated by the conditions of a new global order.
Untitled… (Local Foreigners) focuses on the experiences and art of people who have lived through the collapse of history – and continue their existence in a fragmented, globalized world. At the same time, memories of the first post-soviet decades, today presented through a highly controversial historical perspective, have not yet faded entirely. The common consensus, however, is that all the greater aspirations of that lost epoch continue to remain in the future indefinite tense. Current circumstances are driving a distance from government-implemented social and cultural policies and imposed ideological imperatives and the artists’ response is a migration, or escape.
In this context, it seems appropriate to draw on a philosophical phenomenon examined by the Italian philosopher Paolo Virno in his Gramatica de la Multitud* (A Grammar of the Multitude, 2003). Analyzing modern society, Virno addresses a very specific internal state that is, to differing extents, characteristic of all the participants in the exhibition: the inability to “feel at home.” This new “homelessness” implies that every person is essentially a foreigner, independent of citizenship or place of residence.
Each work presented at the exhibition invites the viewer to share insights highly personal to its artist, which originate from differing social contexts and facts of personal biography. In this way, previously unexplored but universally relevant questions will be raised and explored.
* A Grammar of the Multitude: For an Analysis of Contemporary Forms of Life by Paolo Virno has been published in Russian as part of Garage’s joint publishing project with Ad Marginem.
Nino Sekhniashvili was born in 1979 in Tbilisi. She graduated from the Tbilisi State Fine Art Academy and has developed as an artist while attending numerous residencies in Georgia and beyond. Her artistic language is not defined by any specific medium, and attempts to transcend traditional and contemporary visual techniques. In 2005, for example, she created the fictional band DARIO RADIO together with Kate Siamashvili, a collaboration that makes artworks through the medium of scent. Sekhniashvili is also the founder of the gallery and performance basement Nectar. Selected exhibitions: Archeologies of the Museum, Georgian National Museum, Tbilisi; Posta, Raum Oberkassel, Dusseldorf; THE LAST SONG, Gallery Micky Schubert, Berlin. She lives and works in Tbilisi.
Mher Azatyan was born in 1972 in Yerevan, Armenia. He is an art collector and artist, whose works consist of collected images and texts. At the heart of these often sudden and unexpected encounters between photography and text lies material scarcity. However, he continues to search for wider opportunities, which can be found in the most insignificant of scenarios such as life’s simple pleasures or amusing situations. Selected exhibitions: Remember Malevich, Yerevan, 1993; Question of Ark, Yerevan, 1995; Great Atrophy, Hay-Art Cultural Center, Yerevan, 1999; 49th Venice Biennale, 2001; Adieu-Parajanov: Contemporary Art from Armenia, Kunsthalle Project Space, Vienna, 2003. He lives and works in Yerevan.
Taus Makhacheva was born in 1983 in Moscow. She holds a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, London (2007) and an MA from Royal College of Art, London (2013). The problem of identity formation, whether cultural or ethnic, is a central area of reflection in the Caucasus. In Makhacheva’s practice, it is closely connected with the moral and ethical choices triggered by the evolution of new life conditions. Selected exhibitions: City States-Makhachkala, Topography of Masculinity, 7th Liverpool Biennial, 2012; 11th Sharjah Biennial (2013); Love Me, Love Me Not, 55th Venice Biennale, collateral event (2013); The Story Demands to Be Continued, Makhachkala (2013); Walk, A Dance, A Ritual, Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig (2014). Awards and honors: “Future of Europe” prize, Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig, 2014; “Innovation” prize, 2012. She lives and works in Makhachkala and Moscow.
Babi Badalov was born in 1959, in Lerik, near the Iranian border of Azerbaijan, and studied at A. Azimzadeh State Art College of Azerbaijan. His art is influenced by the different cultures that he encountered when, time and again, turbulent events forced him to migrate. These experiences are reflected in his visual poetry, which often combines Persian, Talysh, Russian, Farsi, English, French, and other languages. Essential to his works is the Eastern tradition of Dodagdeymez, a form of spoken poetry that is recited without the poets’ lips touching each other. Selected exhibitions: Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module, New Museum, New York, 2014; 1st Thessaloniki Biennale, 2007; Manifesta 8, Murcia, 2010; 15th Jakarta Biennale, 2013; The Watchmen, The Liars, The Dreamers, Le Plateau, Paris, 2010; My Life Report in Paris, Tranzit Display, Prague, 2010. His works are in the collections of the Russian Museum St. Petersburg; Kunstmuseum Emden; MHKA – Museum of Modern Art, Antwerp. He lives and works in Paris.
Aslan Gaisumov was born in 1991, in Grozny, Chechen Republic. He graduated from The Institute of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2012 and Moscow College of Design, 2010. Selected exhibitions: Untitled (war), CCA Winzavod, Space for Young Art “Start”, Moscow, Russia, 2011 (solo show); More Light , 5th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2013; Under a Tinsel Sun, 3rd Moscow International Biennale for Young Art (main project), Central House of Artists, Moscow, 2012. Awards and honors: prize from the French Institute, St. Petersburg, 2014; winner of the 3rd Moscow International Biennale of Young Art, 2012. He lives and works in Grozny and Moscow.
Musa (Musay) Gayvoronsky was born in Kaspiysk, the Republic of Dagestan, in 1987. His creative searches originate from the close study of the everyday life that surrounds him. As a result, some of his video works take the form of distanced anthropological observations, while in other cases, Gayvoronsky adopts the opposite approach, carefully constructing situations in public spaces that transform the regular flow of the everyday into a form of experiment. Selected exhibitions: Touch, First Gallery, Dagestan, 2011 (solo show); Mount Kaspiy. The Contemporary Art of Dagestan, First Gallery, Dagestan, 2012 (mobile exhibition project); Addiction and Temptation, North Caucasus Biennale of Contemporary Art, First Gallery, Kaspiysk, 2013; Hand in Art, State Museum of Oriental Art, Maykop, The Republic of Adygeya, 2013; A Drawing of Russia 2013, 5th Tomsk All-Russian Triennial, 2013; Festival des Ailes et l’e space, MILSET Science Photo Contest, Toulouse, France 2013 (first place, Aeronautics and Space). He lives and works in Kaspiysk.