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Erbol Meldibekov & Nurbosyn Oris

February 10 - March 10, 2011

Political Geography

The Kazakh artist Erbol Meldibekov, who often works in collaboration with his brother, Nurbosyn Oris, it seems, has set himself the goal of creating a series of illustrations for Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's theory on de-territorialisation. But the French thinkers envisaged a nomad who, in his eternal movement across an endless plateau, removes all the strict oppositions of space and time. However, it was impossible for them to even imagine a situation in which the nomad is in the position of a static observer, with the world moving around him in a strange and unpredictable motion, at times disappearing completely from view and then swelling up in strange bubbles.

Here in a photograph, dated 1981, from the series "Family Album", two pretty Asian girls are standing in front of a statue of Lenin in the city of Jambul. And here they are again, but now turned into respectable ladies, in the year 2001, in the same place. But the city is already different Ц Taraz. And the country is different Ц instead of the standard monument to the leader of the proletariat of the world Ц there is a new hero, a warrior on horseback, the grandson of Genghis Khan, Baydibek Batir. The women do not feel any visible discomfort from the mutations in the reality surrounding them, their own reality follows the laws of the natural course of the universe, they are same, just a little older.

Not only monuments, which are made by human hands, but also elements of eternity are in a state of permanent hallucination. For example, one of the translations of the name of a mountain range in Afghanistan, the Hindu Kush, means "killer of Hindus". Shining mountain tops with regal indifference, were looking down on the Soviet soldiers dying in the Mujahedeen ambushes, even the sounds, coming from the statues of Buddha being destroyed by the Taliban, did not shake their grandeur. But this whole story has turned into a myth in the hands of Erbol Meldibekov Ц eternal beauty has turned into two simple green enamel-covered cauldrons, standing one on top of the other, in which meals are cooked and laundry boiled in large peasant families. Only the bottom of the upper cauldron, expertly converted with the use of a hammer into a simulacrum of infinity, reminds one about eternity.

Andrey Kovalev
Translated by P. Glebov and R. O'Dowd

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