A VERY RARE AND EARLY AIDAN SALAKHOVA ETCHING MEASURING APPROXIMATELY 15 X 19 1/4 INCHGES ENTITLED LAKESIDE IMPRESSION II. THIS WAS HER FIRST TIME VISITING THE USA AND LAKESIDE STUDIOS. WAM: Aidan, we think that your work has an important role in the ongoing discussion on modernity. Your investigation on gender themes in the context of Islam trigger many important questions that relates to many.
Also we think that, this investigation can be made to other religions as well. The gender theme is a crucial theme in the development of humanity and modernity. Many contemporary artist shave brought up themes related to democracy, equality and humanism.Many contemporary artists have clearly challenged political and religious institutions making headlines of newspaper around the world. We believe you fit perfectly in the scenario of those young revolutionary artists that have decided to make a difference in society, with their work and activity. In your personal and artistic carrier when did you decided to embark through this path? When and what made you decide to develop the gender / Islamic theme?
Aidan Salakhova: At the end of the 90s, and early 2000s. First of all, it was my video projection on painting, «Sleeping beauty», that showed a woman in eastern dress.Then, I made the more outspoken series of drawings, "Persian Miniatures". It started as a private diary, a sort of unconscious sketches. Gallery owner Volker Diehl happened to see my album opened and was surprised why I didn't show these sketches to anyone. The Habibi exhibition was under way - a series of photographs, combining classical elements and an Orientalist Eros. So, I decided to show "Persian Miniatures" with these photos.
WAM: What had inspired you to create these miniatures? AS: At first, I made?? These miniatures colorful, bright and more erotic.
And it looked like the series of paintings, I love myself. But I decided to transform it when I saw news report about the Nord-Ost terror siege in Moscow. I was completely blown away by the unusual beautiful eyes and shivering hands of suicide bombers holding bombs.This impression is changed visually in the "Persian Miniatures" from color to monochrome images. I wondered Why, What for?
WAM: How did the theme of eroticism appear in this series? AS: The hands of girls were touching the bomb's wires. It was a strange effect. Nerves, and at the same time sexy hand movements.I've always been interested in such duality. WAM: Do you think religion also has a duality? AS: In religion this fact always makes me embarrassed.
Do you know Mohammed's Satanic Verses? He wanted to introduce Islam and to gain the confidence of the Quraysh tribe, who were praying to three of Allah's Daughters called Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat.
The Prophet said they are highly respected Goddesses and their intercession is accepted with approval. He wanted Quraysh to embrace the religion of Islam. Then an angel came to the Messenger and said, ``Muhammad, what have you done? You have recited to the people that which I did not bring to you from God, and you have said that which was not said to you.
Allah is very merciful to you and makes no reckoning of your mistake. Satan had cast words into your recitation. So this is the famous incident which Christians have titled as the satanic revelations. Now we have the same things. I don't now what about Christianity, but The Virgin Mary.
She also gave birth later. The Book, 2011, Courtesy XL Gallery MoscowWAM: Is it possible to change this situation? Do you change it via your creativity?AS: Anyway, only a few people can understand that. For example, The Black Stone of Kaaba is the feminine symbolism of Al-Lat goddess. Why do you think I put the Goddess in front of the black stone at the Venice Biennale? WAM: What was the reason of taking out your work from pavilion Azerbaijan at Biennale in Venice? AS: I was accused of giving a vaginal shape to a black stone.
But this form was invented long ago. I created this stone using the proportion of the gold plate that in the Tut-Kapi museum, but I made it more oblong. It was my interpretation of the museum's gold sarcophagus. The only liberty I allowed myself was turning it into a tear emerging from all the prayers and sufferings.
This combines with the tears which are above on the Wailing Wall. The Ministry of Cultural Affairs was troubled.They saw the country's identity crisis in this diptych. Azerbaijan has a secular state and an exposition supported by the state should not start with a woman in a black veil. But then they were scared that Islamic fundamentalists would be against the fact that I did the vaginal form. After I had to move this work to the Italian pavilion and there have been no protests.
WAM: What was your experience at Venice Biennale? AS: I was confused by this scandal. I would greatly prefer journalists to write about my work not about this scandal. Many people congratulated me on my PR success.
But it was not my goal. To be honest, most of all I was upset over the fact that I couldn't see my sculpture for a week. The point is that the sculpture was made in Carara.
I was visiting it once per month, but I have not able to exhibit it finished and polished. WAM: Before the scandal at the Venice Biennale, do you ever receive negative comments about your works? I presented "Kaaba, " which is a video installation in XL gallery in Moscow. They wrote to mosques saying this installation discredits Islam. I was invited to the mosque and fortunately had the chance to explain the meaning of this work.
Chief mufti of Russia, Ravvil Gayammetdinov, visited my exhibition. After that he answered the protestors in a very interesting way, "Any interpretation of Islamic culture brings an interest in Islamic culture". I have the greatest respect to the religious aspects in my work. This is something sacred and spiritual, about love and faith. There is no intention to discredit at all.
The purdah (veil) is not the most important thing in my work. It could be a nun garb also. The brevity of this image is important. The nice visual images expresses much, like a specific language. This is not just about eastern woman.
This is about woman in general. Try to get into the veil! For European people it is difficult to understand how they wear this dress.
Europeans think that women in veil are unhappy and deprived of its rights. But when you put on the veil, you find a strong feeling of freedom within, you can close yourself. You can look as you want, you can be dressed as you want. This anonymonity gives you inner freedom in particular. In general, all these are works about it!
The same duality: an external closed nature and a spiritual openness. WAM: Have you ever tried to wear the veil?Without the veil you are going out wearing a mask of sadness or joy; do you understand me? Wearing the veil is definitely another thing, you may play just with a look, and no one will recognize you.
WAM: Where do you find inspiration? AS: Generally, it's my first-hand experiences, but sometimes my fantasy.
Yes, mostly, it is personal experiences, and sometimes fantasy. But most of all my art is my personal feelings. WAM: Do you worry about women's status in society? AS: I have some things to worry about.I never feel myself flawed as a woman, as a gallery owner and as a citizen. I always feel on a par with men. But community dictates its own terms about women's position in society. Why again the black stone? Well, it is also a metaphor of women's situation, how they are confined.
But this is no gender issue. Men also find themselves in a social framework. I hate questions concerned on male and female themes: How many men and women do you have in the gallery?
", "Why do you present women's art as a priority? For me, art has no gender, nationality, etc.
It is located in another state, a state of the name of "Art". WAM: Do you tend to explain your works?
It's difficult for me to give an interview. I don't like to force my ideas on others.
Viewers have a visual image already. Only this image can act on them different ways. WAM: Why did you choose Islamic symbols?
Visually, it is very good to express the sense that I put in. It's a beautiful architectural structure, very masculine.I like to look at the minarets. WAM: Who are the contemporary artists who inspires you and why? AS: I really like Louise Bourgeois, Matthew Barney, Olaf Orealeasa.
When you look at their exhibitions, works of art, you feel totally involved in their world. WAM: How do you see the dialogue between tradition and modernity? AS: I show classical traditions of painting in my works.
In graphic arts it transforms into a modern language of course. I graduated art school and art university. I always use the classic things - composition, the golden ratio.
I'm sure that the ability to sculpt and paint is very important for artist because many people have learned to think and speak, but are not quite savvy in terms of classical art. And you can see it in their works. It's not enough to have just an idea. The artist should be able to draw, and orchestrate.WAM: What are you working on now? The first one I made three years ago was "Trinity"- three women sitting on a gold background. I didn't know about the Satanic Verses then. But I began to think why I have all the time three women in my head, three statues of the trio. I started to dig to the roots.
I do not know the Koran in principle. But when you start to read, you begin to understand and learn how it was.Aidan Salakhova is one of the key figures of Russian contemporary art scene. Her work has always been the expression of personal and artistic freedom and her biography that of a self-made woman. An artist, one of the very first gallery owners in Russia, a fashionable and successful person.
At the same time, Aidan has created her own personal myth based on oppositions, such as feminism and the typical behaviour of the ideal consumer, eastern hospitality and aristocratic arrogance, a myth which makes her take the distance from the obtrusive vanity of the jet set. At the base of this myth lies a complex identity. Carrying Azerbaijani genes and European culture, Aidan was born and raised in the Eastern European empire. On these foundations she has built her art, which is about the myths of Beauty, Harmony and Perfection personified in demi-nude women, beautiful female-warriors, Ingres-like heroines.
However, notwithstanding the formal "prettiness" of all her works, she is one of the most provocative Russian artists. One of the first radical actions that she made was declaring that all her art "was addressed to the male audience". Such a declaration upset the feminist critics, and only later it became clear what Aidan really meant. By no means, men are the subjects in her work.They are instead an ornament, submissive part of her installations. She is a multi-faceted artist, so is her favourite theme, the East. Aidan admits that she looks at the East with the eyes of a European artist of the 19th century who believed that this antipode of the rational West was an imaginary world of luxury and wealth. Eastern motifs were already present in Aidan's early works.
Later, Orientalism becomes manifest both in the form of attractiveness and glamour - as in her installations-performances with live seminude women, whom Aidan made lay down on satin cushions among sweets and fruits - and in a radical form like in her video installation "Kaaba", where female eyes from a black cube make dervishes gyrate endlessly. Commenting on "Kaaba", Aidan reports the Sufi concept that the soul has a female origin, God is a Mistress, and the contemplation of light which lives in the heart brings to ecstasy... This work caused an uproar.
Fundamentalists considered it to be immoral and, as a consequence, a dangerous interpretation of the dogmas of Islam. The conflict ended when the supreme Mufti of Russia declared that there was nothing scandalous for the Islam in the work. A few years later, Aidan made the series of paintings "I Love Myself, " which portrayed the inhabitants of a harem with their faces hidden behind a paranja indulging in lesbian games. Their naked bodies open to the caresses of their companions and to the viewers' glaze were drawn with a thin pencil. Teasing the ardent supporters of piousness, Aidan declared that she could momentarily erase the pencil lines and pretend that she had not violated the orthodox Islamic prohibitionn to depict living creatures.However, what matters here is the context in which these works were created: the Oriental myth rests on ruins. The militant East is no longer associated to lazy luxury and the eroticism. Today's newsmakers - Muslim fundamentalists and Chechen insurgents, terrorist attacks, shakhidi ready to die for the right to wear the khidzhab, paranoid tension between Europeans and emigrants from the East and the physical and psychological violence afflicting women in patriarchal eastern cultures. All this has been treated in contemporary art a lot, but Aidan ignores mainstream. Besides paintings, Aidan has also made the more outspoken series of drawings "Persian Miniatures", which was started as a private diary, sort of unconscious excercize.
Although this series is considered to be "more outspoken", in fact it contains very little eroticism. There is instead a lot of sensuality, secrets, and surrealistic figurativeness.
Not a single element in this series has one meaning. It cannot be explained in poetic once in a harem, out of boredom... The touches and embraces are not particularly erotic. Most probably, this story is about finding the right partner - which is an issue dear to many strong and independent women.It is not strange that in this series we find a book (an anatomy atlas) and a mirror, which are symbols of self-knowledge, and miniature models of mosques with delicate hands holding the minarets, symbols of faith. Clearly, the minarets that the women caress and cover with protective gestures are an evident reminder of Freud, and they might make you think of even more radical interpretation than the "Kaaba" installation.. The government of Azerbaijan has decided to remove a pair of statues it has deemed controversial from its pavilion in the Venice Biennale, a spokesperson for the artist announced today. The two works, by the Moscow-based Aidan Salakhova, had been covered by cloth, with officials saying they'd been damaged in transport while they decided their ultimate fate.
"In my 25 years of curating profession, I have never experienced this kind of conflict, " said Azerbaijan pavilion advisory curator Beral Madra in a press release. At a recent opening at Lever House, The Observer recently overheard David LaChapelle complaining that his work had been banned from the Art HK art fair for obscenity, though that's admittedly a little different. According to the release, government officials had initially considered placing a plaque next to the works explaining that they did not support them, but ultimately seemed to have realized that this would amount to roughly the same thing.Contemporary art has recently become a pathway to the West for Azerbaijan, so this would seem to be a case of two steps backward. Aidan Salakhova's personal myth is built on contradictions.
The basis for them was the complex identity of the artist, born and raised in the Soviet empire and inheriting a complex combination of oriental genes and European culture. To top it all, Salakhova developed as an artist in the transitional era of the fall of the Iron Curtain, the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and the collapse of the Soviet Union, after which the position and logic of the development of what is commonly called modern art changed.From a phenomenon of anti-Soviet, underground culture, it almost overnight turned into a symbol of newfound freedom and a part of the market. However, Aidan never literally described this political and social experience. At first glance, her art has always been dedicated to the myth of beauty, harmony and perfection, who was embodied in the beauties staying in the timelessness and laziness of an artificial paradise. The viewer was assigned the somewhat shameful role of a voyeur who invades the privacy of someone else's life with an immodest look. But having lured the viewer with a seductive, often too frank plot and female nudity, Aidan often punished him for curiosity, traumatized him, exposing the female physiology to the utmost. But despite the formal "beauty" of all his works, without exception, Aidan is one of the most provocative artists of his generation, as well as an artist who never closed himself within the framework of one once successfully found strategy, continuing to experiment with various media and formats of expression, not while looking at the market conditions or momentary intellectual fashion. Aidan was one of the first in post-Soviet Russia to start working with installation and video art, she was the first to master mobile media, integrating her imagery into the MMS format. At the same time, throughout her creative biography, traditional techniques remained significant for her - painting and drawing, in which the artist strove for asceticism, simplicity of images, lines and color.
Just as the artist herself is not unambiguous, her most probably favorite oriental theme. The theme of the East, eastern borders and relations with neighbors is taboo in modern Russia, which, clearly possessing imperial ambitions, on the one hand seeks to colonize adjacent territories, and on the other, is actively colonized by neighbors.At first glance, the East of Aidan is in many ways similar to the archaic, fabulously rich, despotic and erotic East of the romantic poet Gerard de Nerval, the novelist Gustave Flaubert, the artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, or the translator of A Thousand and One Nights by Edward Lane, then there is with the East, born of the European imagination (even more specifically, the imagination of the white man). However, the man is just a staffage in Aidan's complex productions.
Along with this, Aidan often reminds us that the East, in fact, and this is incredibly significant, is the birthplace of the myrrh religions and esotericism. In 2002, the artist created a video installation "Kaaba", where female gazes from a black cube made dervishes rotate endlessly. This installation was based on the Sufi concept that the spirit is a feminine principle, God is the Beloved, and the contemplation of the light that lives in the heart plunges the Sufi into a state of ecstasy. Almost a decade later, continuing the religious theme, Aidan created a series of sculptures in which the synergy of East and West was especially vividly manifested.
The general appearance in the interiors of the Venetian palazzo makes it easy to fit these works into the Catholic tradition, like the figures of saints holding their attributes or symbols of their passions in their hands. Upon closer examination, it is revealed that these are female figures, whose faces are hidden by marble hoods, but rather by a burqa.Only hands gripping a book (a symbol of wisdom), a pumpkin (a symbol of the universe) and narrow minaret towers (a symbol of faith) are open to the gaze of an outsider. Of all Aidan's works, these Carrara marble sculptures are perhaps the most possessing such minimalist plasticity, which is practically reduced to a sign. And objects-symbols in this form and material acquire an almost mystical sound, equally accessible to both Western and Eastern consciousness. Opening of the exhibition "Persian Miniatures" in XL Gallery. Have you ever thought that an artist can take bread from a psychotherapist? To me, to be honest, no. Until I visited the personal exhibition of Aidan Salakhova "Persian miniatures". The first circle in the hall. At a leisurely pace, without stopping at a single canvas. Just to get into the atmosphere. At first, superficial glance - beautifully, exquisitely aesthetically presented erotica.
And as always, on the verge of a foul: not a scandal, but very close. And how else can a common man perceive figures wrapped in a veil, immersed in voluptuous dreams, and notorious architectural objects with a clearly phallic bias? Or maybe I'm the only one who perceives everything so wrongly? I begin to linger at each picture. There are many meanings, hints, symbols in the seeming simplicity of the compositions.Out of the corner of my eye, I notice the reactions of nearby guests. Someone clicks the camera, others shoot on iPhones. Those who have already filmed are talking quietly, moving from canvas to canvas. There are almost more opinions than guests.
There is something to talk about, something to discuss, something to argue about. I didn't even notice. Just at some point, she stepped out of the gallery hall under the arches of the Persian harem. Quiet sighs, a barely audible rustle of the book pages being turned over, a whisper, a light laugh... Women who have learned to love themselves.
Women whose lives are deprived of constant male attention, and at the same time filled with the search for the very presence of a man. Wrapped from head to toe in their black robes, looking at the world through a narrow slit of the burqa, these women are more sensual and attractive than a naked diva shining with curvaceous forms.What is the secret of their appeal? Maybe in the way they look at familiar things and what they manage to see in them? Or how they open their bodies to an involuntary witness of their loneliness, without throwing off their clothes? After all, what remains hidden - whether by hand, by a cover. A natural question naturally arises: if an oriental woman through a narrow black gap could see so many symbols of male presence, then why does a European woman with her wide-open eyes not notice anything of the kind? As an expert in the field of psychology and psychotherapy, I can assume that such an acute problem of female loneliness would not exist at all if our women learned to look at the world through the eyes of the heroines of Aidan's paintings.
How many women, passing or running by, passing in cars or public transport, are wrapped in their problems, as if in a cocoon, blinkered to the point. It will be cleaner than a burqa. And the distance between her and the men creates - wow! If they are already approaching this, they already clearly realize that together with the woman they get all her luggage into the load. And you still have to want this.
For HE to want, SHE must create a corresponding aura around herself. And for this you need to learn to see HIS Presence. Then everything changes in a woman - look, gait, breathing...
She carries a wave of emotions. A trail of attraction moves behind her. Isn't that right, men? As for the feeling, this is already to the center of the hall. Here, what in the description of the exhibition is modestly referred to as architectural objects.
I will be just as humble and say that these are symbols of a man, transmitted through the architecture of the minarets. They stand proudly in glass flasks. Considering that each such architectural object was made of paraffin by hand: it was warmed up, molded, ironed by the hands of an artist, a woman, and it was in her power to grow it, giving life to the form, or melt it, forcing it to flow between thin fingers...One such object particularly caught my attention. I gave him a name - Non-Virgin. The design clearly contains the imprint of a woman. Perhaps someone will have a completely different association, and the viewer will discern a different, opposite meaning in him... But I remembered one theory to which some "specialists" in human souls turn. With her help, they explain such problems, which are popularly voiced as "the family has its black sheep" or "neither the mother nor the father, but the passer-by". The meaning of the theory is that a woman who has had an intimate relationship with different men retains a certain information field part of the gene code? Of each of these men. And it leaves an imprint on the future child. But a man does not accumulate any field, no matter how many women he has. And in Non-Virgin I saw a symbolic refutation of this theory. Aidan plays with images and hints, like a psychologist with words. And there is more symbolism in her works than, perhaps, it was even originally conceived. Her canvases are read as a metaphor: in different states, in different life situations, the meaning of the same canvas is perceived differently. In addition, an artist does not have the ability to clearly articulate a message, unlike, say, a writer. And what is not expressed in a word is usually conjectured. Therefore, everyone will have their own reading of the canvases and art objects of "Persian miniatures" - passed through the prism of their own views and beliefs. The solution often lies on the surface. Just to see him, sometimes you have to play with filters of perception.
And a woman who has learned this will never be alone. Men won't let her. Aidan Salakhova is one of the key figures in the Russian art scene. All her activities were a manifestation of personal and creative freedom, and her biography was an example of a self-made woman.An artist, a pioneer of gallery business, luxurious and prosperous, she brought to life Pushkin's formula "you can be an efficient person and think about the beauty of your nails". At the same time, Aidan became the creator of a personal myth built on contradictions, into which femist discourse and typical behavior of an ideal consumer, oriental hospitality and aristocratic arrogance, with the help of which she escapes the obsessive vanity of the beau monde, entered on equal terms. The foundation of this myth is the complex identity of Aidan, who was born and raised in the middle empire of an Eastern European woman who inherited Azerbaijani genes and European culture. And the building built on this foundation was the art of Aidan, dedicated to the myth of beauty, harmony and perfection, embodied in half-naked beauties, beautiful warriors and engrisks. However, despite the formal "beauty" of all his works, without exception, Aidan is one of the most provocative Russian artists. One of the first radical gestures of this adherent of contemporary art (with his almost obligatory curtsey towards feminism) was the statement that all her art was "oriented towards the male viewer".
Such statements could not but anger the critics-feminists, and only later it became clear what Aidan meant. The man is by no means the subject of her art, but just a weak-willed staffage, an obligatory part of her installations. Harmony and perfection, embodied in half-naked beauties, beautiful warriors and engrisques.
Aidan is one of the most provocative Russian artists. Such statements could not but anger feminist critics, and only later it became clear what Aidan meant. Aidan admits that he looks at the East rather through the eyes of a European, and even a European artist of the 19th century, for whom this antipode of the rational West was a fictional world of bliss and fabulous wealth.
Oriental motives were already present in Aydan's early student works. Later, Orientalism manifested itself either attractively and glamorously, as in installations-performances with living, half-naked beauties, whom Aidan laid on satin pillows among sweets and fruits, or harshly, on the verge of a foul, as in the video installation "Kaaba", where women's views from a black cube forced the dervishes to make an endless rotation. Commenting on the Kaaba, Aidan referred to the Sufi ideas that the spirit is the feminine principle, God is the Beloved, and the contemplation of the light that lives in the heart plunges the Sufi into a state of ecstasy. And she quoted the verses of the Sufi saint Rabia: All I want is the essence of Your Love, // I want to become one with You, // And become Your Face.This work almost became a reason for a scandal - the fundamentalists saw in it a too free and, therefore, dangerous interpretation of the dogmas of Islam. The conflict was avoided, the Supreme Mufti of Russia did not see anything seditious in such an interpretation of Islam. A few years later, the picturesque series "I love myself" appeared, the heroines of which were the inhabitants of the harem, indulging in lesbian games, whose faces were hidden by veils of burqa, but ideal bodies drawn with a thin lead of a simple pencil were naked and open to the caress of partners and the views of the audience. As if teasing the zealots of piety, Aidan argued that she could erase pencil lines with an eraser for a moment and thus pretend that she did not violate the prohibition on depicting living beings existing in orthodox Islam. However, this is not essential, but the context in which these works appeared.
The Orientalist myth rests in ruins. The East, rattling with weapons, has long been no longer associated with the lazy bliss and eros of the tales of The Thousand and One Nights.Today's newsmakers are Muslim fundamentalists and Chechen militants, terrorist attacks girdled with the death of a suicide bomber and fighting for their right to wear a hijab and wrap themselves in a veil, Europeans of Arab descent, paranoid tension between Europeans and immigrants from the East, physical and psychological violence to which women in patriarchal Eastern cultures are subjected.. In parallel with painting, Aidan worked on an even more frank graphic series "Persian Miniatures", which began as sketches in a notebook not intended for prying eyes, a private lesson, automatic writing practically exposing the work of the subconscious.
While the series is called "more overt", there is little literal eroticism in it, but a lot of sensuality, mystery and surreal imagery. In this series, everything is ambiguous, and is not limited to a description that could begin with the words once in a harem, out of boredom... The touches and hugs that the heroines put into each other do not look purely erotic. Rather, this is a story about finding an adequate partner - a topic that is relevant for many strong and successful women.
There is nothing surprising that it was in this series that a book (anatomical atlas) and a mirror appeared - symbols of self-knowledge, miniature models of mosques with minarets in gentle hands - symbols of faith. However, the minarets, which the women either cover with a protective gesture, or caress, are an obvious hello to Freud, at the same time suggesting an even more radical interpretation of the mystical raptures of Sufism than in the Kaaba installation. A huge retrospective of Aidan Salakhova opened at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art on Ermolaevsky Lane. A rare case: the business elite in expensive suits, bohemians in bright fashionable outfits, an art get-together in shabby jackets and young artists in T-shirts - all these people crowded together.
The enthusiastic unity was ensured by the very figure of Aidan, acting in different life roles - the most famous gallery owner, with whose help numerous new collectors compiled their collections; secular ladies, whose portraits and interviews adorn almost all of our glamorous media; a teacher teaching students not only the art of drawing, but also new technologies; and, of course, one of the best Russian artists. Aidan herself was in a long black dress - as if she had stepped out of her own paintings or video works. The exhibition, which occupies all four museum floors, is built according to the technological principle - painting separately, video separately, drawings separately.
But it is united thematically - the main topic that has been of interest to Aidan for many years. It can be conditionally called feminism, covered with Islamic paraphernalia.Woman, female body, female grace, female behavior, female gaze - that's what Aidan is interested in. And it doesn't matter in what technique the work is done and who is depicted on it - a simple Russian woman ("Tatiana"), a classic odalisque ("Sleeping Beauty"), or a Muslim woman swaddled in a black veil or headscarf, from whom only eyes are left for the world - sad, dreary, but very observant ("Kaaba"). Aidan's feminism is not aggressive, not belligerent, and not asexual. Salakhova's art is extremely erotic, even, I would say, physiological.
She, of course, fights for the rights of women, but she understands these rights quite definitely. The scenes in which a girl in a veil is engaged in masturbation ("I love myself" series) or two girls indulge in sodomy are more likely about dreary evenings in a harem, and not about the recognition of the rights of sexual minorities. And also, as one art critic has accurately noted, Salakhova's art is very tactile: the main motive of all her works is the motive of touching. A girl touches herself, another girl, a man, or some phallic object (work from the series "Persian miniatures").And even if, on closer examination, this object turns out to be a minaret - Aidan does not mean national or religious differences, she just sees the vitality of life in everything. A very important quality, without which it is difficult to be at the same time an artist, gallery owner, teacher and secular character. The Aidan exhibition opens the Contemporary Moscow program, which is jointly organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art and XL Gallery. The essence of the program is the museification of contemporary art. Retrospectives of a dozen contemporary artists will be held in the halls on Ermolaevsky.
At the same time, another gallery, Marat Gelman, is doing a similar project, but this time together with the Tretyakov Gallery. Both projects testify that the once radical, shocking, many incomprehensible art has risen to the rank of general's stars. What can no longer be ignored. And the Woman Created God: Video Creation by Aidan Salakhova.Beauty is truth, truth beauty, -that is all. Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn, 1819. Beauty is truth, and truth is beauty; and this. Is all that is known on earth and all there is to know. John Keats, Ode on the Greek Vase, 1819. The first video work of Aidan Salakhova, "Suspense" (1998), is at the same time an important example in the process of institutionalization of video art in Russia, meaning, about a decade after its birth, the final and "official" confirmation of the status of video as a full-fledged genre in the field of contemporary art...
In the structure of "Suspense", which is an installation, two genres are actually equalized, two different approaches for expressing artistic expression: the first is painting, which is proud of its thousands-strong tradition, and the second is video, embodying technological progress and innovation. In the semi-dark space of the exhibition hall, a pregnant woman froze on a large canvas. Her pensive expression, her arms hugging her heavy belly, the simplicity of the clothes and the monochrome texture of the canvas itself - all contribute to the emergence of an eerie feeling, in which suspense and tension are mixed in anticipation of the end of pregnancy. Suddenly the immobility is disturbed and the woman comes to life.The canvas turns into a screen on which the same woman leaves her seat and slowly stands up. But, despite the fact that in this work the projected image dictates its own rules for painting, depriving it of the necessary lighting and changing the original visual texture of the painting surface, giving it a bluish tint. Aidan manages to avoid the conflict between the two genres. Painting and video here are ideally coordinated allies in creating a suggestive experience of uncertainty, which the very title of the work suggests as one of the keys to interpreting the work. The video - a woman slowly getting up - adds to the still and silent painting the feeling of discomfort that a pregnant woman inevitably experiences during gestation.
Feelings of inconvenience, excitement, anxiety, which these images carry, allow us to consider them as a weak echo of Salakhova's early works, such as, for example, the Abortion series, which speaks of the mental and physiological trauma of losing a child before his birth. Only a faint echo - because there is no aggressive imposition or emotional demonstration of such cruel pain for women as abortion. And once again - painting finds in the video an impeccable companion to create the effect of complete uncertainty, which is the essence of the work.It should be noted that the endless movement of slowly getting up multiplies this impression. To a certain extent, this is reminiscent of the myth of the curse - as if the Greek gods condemned a woman to forever repeat the same action, over and over again. One can afford to notice that the crime she committed in order to receive such a punishment must be something connected with love, the leading force and the leitmotif of Aidan Salakhova's creativity. However, this is only one of the possible readings.
There are many others, also undoubtedly legitimate. A constant element for Aidan's video works is precisely that her works are always symbolic, but never allegorical: they give rise to many references.
Ultimately, this woman exists alone, as a titanic heroine in the confined space of the canvas / screen, in complete control of her own territory. Her simple, almost mechanical movements make the act of voyeur devoid of qualities such as lust and sexual pleasure.
The feeling of uncertainty and suspense, which both video and painting evoke in the viewer, clearly interferes with other possible interpretations of the artist's image of a woman - where she appears as an object. This pregnant woman can be considered the progenitor of all female characters that will inhabit Salakhova's videography in the near future. In her next video installation, Sleeping Beauty (2000), the artist again shows the relationship between static and moving images, as in Suspension. Again, there is a single woman in the center of the stage.This transition from the future mother to the new heroine is very important, since this creates a certain typology of the subjective pictorial series that Salakhova builds in painting, to which she belongs by education - a series to which she also remains true in photography and video. Here the artist offers the viewer one of the most significant characters of his own mythology, Odalisque. In Sleeping Beauty, Salakhova simultaneously re-actualizes the legacy of the St. The imperative canon of the Beauty of neoacademism connects with the exotic corporeality of its own cultural origins. In this work, Aidan sensually mixes both of these traditions. In turn, the title - repeating one of the most famous tales of Charles Perrault - undoubtedly reveals the author's belonging to Western culture and makes this West-Eastern "mix" even more expressive.
The tale, which Aidan tells this time, with an oriental woman in the lead role, belongs, rather, to the collection of "A Thousand and One Nights". "Sleeping Beauty" is undoubtedly more sensual - one might even say carnal - work than the previous ones. Two years later, in 2002, Aidan builds the "House of God" - "Kaaba" (Arabic), a massive black cube containing four pairs of female eyes - each on its own side, looking from the inside of its burqa at the world around it. Outside, two large video projections show two men dressed in traditional costumes performing a Sufi ritual dance.
In a relatively limited space and with rather modest means, Salakhova again creates a rich conglomerate of indices that legitimize a wide range of interpretations. One of the most unusual is that the black cube means both the artistic representation of the Black Stone in Mecca (also called "Kaaba" in Arabic), which attracts millions of pilgrims every year, and the vagina - a logical interpretation born of a black construction with an opening on each side populated by women.
Ultimately, the House of God Aidan is the House of Women. Obviously, there is no blasphemy in this appropriation. On the contrary, this is an authoritative statement from the artist herself.
In fact, this unconventional combination will not look unusual if we take into account the essence of Salakhova's work and her biography as an artist. Far from self-promotion and scandal, Aidan has never been afraid to challenge and take risks.
It should be noted that this aspect of her artistic "I" in video works is never stuck out and is not given as the first layer. On the contrary, it manifests itself after a careful examination of the work.
Therefore, if at first glance the Kaaba seems to want to please the viewer and interest him with the help of ethnographic documents, large size and the use of high technologies, careful analysis proves that there are many more references hidden under the seductive surface. Above all, the Kaaba manifests itself as a powerful statement of the leading and dominant role of women. In it, the theorist carefully examines the cinematic mainstream and singles out the "male gaze" in it as the main addressee, which dictates their structure to films. Women have always been portrayed by the Hollywood film industry, Malvy claims, as "objects" to satisfy the voyeuristic desires of men. Obviously, Aidan breaks this mechanism and places a "feminine gaze" at the center of the House of God.
According to the principles of psychoanalysis, the gaze is a psychological index of power, the one who controls the gaze (the beholder) has a dominant position in comparison with the one who is the object of this "watching". In Salakhova's Kaaba, the beholders are women. They have an out-of-narrative gaze - from the inside out - which is dominant in the space around them. Thus, they control the space around them - and, therefore, the audience in it. In this regard, it should be mentioned that it is for their eyes that the dancers perform the Sufi ritual.
In other words, it is men who become "objects". The following year, Aidan places two female warriors at the center of her installation Love and Death. By the way, they are found in the video. Before their story begins, two large photographs show women in daring poses, dressed in luxurious traditional oriental costumes, holding a cold weapon.
After the women leave the "ethnographic space" of their photographs, they move to the center and begin their battle-dance. They fight violently and it is tempting to say that they fight like men. " Either way, such an analogy is only valid if there is no further misunderstanding of their struggle as a parody of what "traditionally belongs to men. Salakhova's female warriors are not antagonists to men. These are women, those whom the artist gives "courage".But they also do not lose their femininity. As the name itself tells us, warriors are the visual embodiment of a passion of love that borders on death experienced by women.
To summarize somewhat, the "exotic" element - the dominant of Aidan's imagination - finds its culmination here: visualization of the tension of feeling. At its core, "Love and Death" is a work about how passionate women can be, because the story that the artist is now telling us is again, as always, about Love. Love that, in the tradition of romanticism, has a distinct taste of death.
Visualization of the tension of feelings. The next video, "Khabibi" (2004) stands out from the rest as the most "Bakhtin" work, since it carries both "carnivalism" and the Other. Without a doubt, "Khabibi" is also the most ironic work in Salakhova's videography.
It is a looping repetition of one long section showing the waist of a professional belly dancer dressed in a traditional tinkling costume. Here, Aidan demonstratively isolates the anatomical part of the female body, the one that in the East has an erotic function, while in the West it greatly scares women and is condemned to a secret life: "fat belly".
The artist boldly combines the Eastern understanding of eroticism and Western social complexes together. Again, Aidan is moving away from exploiting the female body, assuming "visual pleasure" and "male gaze". In Habibi, a woman performs an endless dance, completely immersed in movement. Considering that "khabibi" in Arabic means "beloved", the author's irony becomes even more obvious.
However, besides this, Aidan also talks about the incompatibility of two different cultures: what the East loves, the West cannot stand. Against a black background, a young attractive girl stands, dressed in her white dress, smiling and holding a bouquet. Suddenly, the photo comes to life and the bride slowly turns around, revealing her back, which is superimposed on top of the smiling image in the photo. The effect in this work is of the same nature as the compositional solution "Suspense", although there is no such strong feeling of being suspended, and it seems that nothing threatens the bride's happiness. Nevertheless, the piece still contains a strange, albeit weak, sense of unpredictability, arising from the idea that showing the public the back of the bride can be explained by the demonstration that the bride does not see and cannot see.
The latent threat posed by her future. Whatever the new life that lies ahead of her, she will release her out of control. She makes this clear with a simple gesture: deliberately dropping the bouquet. There is no aggression or rage in her behavior.
She just lets the flowers slip out of her hands and fall to the floor. With this delicate but at the same time decisive gesture, the bride Aidan puts herself on that high pedestal from which she dominates the viewer, reflecting all attempts to turn her into a stupid stereotype of the "beautiful" that awaits the future spouse of some Mr. In MMS (2005) Salakhova explores the links between mass technology and art communication. This video installation seems to have the intention of deconstructing Marshall McLuhan's famous axiom A means is a message. Here the author offers his own version: a message inside a tool.
Clearly, MMS does not emphasize technology as a self-sufficient vehicle for creating art. Aidan doesn't really celebrate mobile phones as artistic tools just because they can send photos and videos. They are only "authorized" to become intermediaries in order to convey what is art in itself - in the case of "MMS", become objects infected with the virus of Beauty: a short clip depicting the eyes of one of the "goddesses" painted by the artist. Tatiana (2006) emerged after a year of studying the women around Aidan in her home life. Covertly examining her friends, acquaintances, neighbors and all the other female characters that she has come across, Aidan discovers in a middle-aged woman living in a neighboring apartment, a new heroine for her mythology.Three large photographs show Tatiana's "naked" face, bravely looking ahead. Tatyana's hands move neatly, almost mechanically, over her lips, around her eyes, showing, one after the other, the three moods that she experiences such an important moment in a woman's day. The inner world of feelings is here openly presented to the viewer, without loud statements - the work is deliberately devoid of sound. But one way or another, Tatiana is not a tragic figure, similar to the heroine of Luigi Pirandello's essay "On Humor", who is ridiculed by her neighbors because of her strong make-up, as she tries to become young again.
On the contrary, she, like all the heroines of Aidan, controls her territory. The video itself here is a layer of makeup on the surface of the photo. Summing up, we can draw a parallel between the video of Salakhova's work and the ancient Greek poetess Sappho: the author's works are also a study-contemplation of the relationship of sensual love and immortal art. Skillfully playing with the boundaries of voyeurism, Aidan shows off her independent, strong, self-sufficient women. Women who do not allow anyone to exploit them, but on the other hand, are in complete control of their own destiny and follow their passion at will.
All these women are goddesses, something like Graces in Greek mythology, the goddess of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity, fertility, and besides all this, also the goddess of love, because love is in its entire varied spectrum, from eroticism to motherhood, one of the key concepts for the artistic world of Salakhova. But at the same time, if we take into account the coefficient of Muslim iconography, we can see that in his videos the author mixes Greek mythology with Eastern.This is especially true for the spiritual recognition of the mystical traditions of Sufism and its concept of direct perception of God (Truth) through sharing the feeling of divine love. Salakhova is not an artist who fights for women's rights. It is far enough from the point at which women feel the need to explain themselves to themselves, to demand equality and to be heard. There is no gender fight in her video.
Men do not appear funny there. Often they are not even presented. Although, Aidan very subtly uses the strategy described by Derrida, absence as a sign of presence, because men are implied, even if they are not physically present: a pregnant woman, a bride, a belly dancer, they are all in direct relationships with men.And once again: Salakhova is not a suffragist or a die-hard feminist attacking the status quo of a patriarchal society, where the man rules and the woman is the object. On the contrary, she presents her heroines in their own independent space, in the territory of complete freedom, where only God is under their constant gaze. Museum of Contemporary Women's Art. And the author himself, who in relation to the "classical" is in the same position as the viewer.
Like the shoulders of the secular beauty Helen in Tolstoy, classical art for modern perception is too "varnished" by the multitude of glances that slid over it to awaken any living feeling. From this point of view, Aidan's absurd procedure for creating, destroying and disclosing (reviving) the classic is not at all absurd, since, like ordinary female coquetry, it has as its purpose to arouse desire.
Aidan, as it were, invites the viewer to "undress" the classics, to experience something similar to Winckelmann's trepidation in front of the antique statues that have re-emerged. The involvement of experts in the project raises another topic, which is inextricably linked with the theme of the classic, namely, the theme of originals and forgeries, or, in a more subtle version, the intractable problem of the value priorities of time. In his objects, Aidan equates in rights what is "under" with what is "above", traditional figurativeness with abstraction, metaphorically reifying their independent, but at the same time inseparable existence in the history of art.And although such compromises, which replaced the modernist denial of the past, are extremely popular in contemporary art, one would like to think that this dualism "no fish - no meat" will eventually degenerate into some other matter that will be worthy of X-ray images of future Grabar centers... Milena Orlova, Winckelmann's Awe. And although such compromises, which replaced the modernist denial of the past, are extremely popular in contemporary art, I would like to think that this dualism "no fish, no meat" will eventually degenerate into some other matter that will be worthy of X-ray images of future Grabar centers...
Graduated from the Moscow State Art Institute. One of the organizers and co-owner of the "First Gallery", Moscow. Lecturer at the Moscow State Art Institute.Awarded with a silver medal of the Academy of Arts of the Russian Federation. Member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation. Correspondent of the Academy of Arts of the Russian Federation. Academician of the Academy of Arts of the Russian Federation. A joint project of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and XL Gallery within the framework of the "Contemporary Moscow" program. Moscow Museum of Modern Art on Ermolaevsky. "I love myself" // Time Out Moscow, 2005, November 21-27, p. Looking Behind the Veil // The Moscow Times, 2005, December 2. How the East Will Respond // Everything is clear, 2006, ?
January 29 - February 17. Petersburg, 2004, January 26 - February 8, p. "Habibi" Aidan Salakhova in the gallery "D-137" // Kommersant- Weekend St. Petersburg, 2004, January 23, p.
There are countless diamonds in stone caves... What does an oriental woman want? Petersburg, 2004, February 9, p.Once in a harem // City St. Aidan Salakhova: not too glamorous for love... Harem with plastid // NOMI, 2004, ?
"Habibi" - the safistika of love. About the origins of homoeroticism in the "Odalisque" Aidan Salakhova // http. "Habibi" in drawings and photographs // Red St.
Freud with a Persian accent // http. Orel Art Presenta Galerie, Paris. XL gallery // Poster, 2002, April 15-28. Irresistible Medusa Gorgon // Izvestia, 2002, April 6. Feminism in a cube // Kommersant, 2002, April 6.
Kaaba // ArtChronicle, 2002, No. (within the framework of the project "Workshop ART-MOSCOW"). Central House of Artists, Moscow, May.Silhouettes of Russian artists // Weekly magazine, 2002, May 14. Odalisque (within the framework of the ART-MOSCOW Workshop project). Central House of Artists, Moscow. All the best // Izvestia, 2001. Counting of artists // Izvestia, 2001. May 17 - June 18 Booklet.
Gallery D-137 // ArtChronicle, 2001, No. Ideal odalisque // Kommersant St. Petersburg, 2001, May 19 Arsenyeva Z.
Parandzha - the best protection of a beauty // 2001, May. Ringing in a clothing store // Kommersant, 2000, 15 July. The Sleeping Beauty (XL-gallery, supported by the European Galleries Association). Museum of 20th century art, Kemerovo.
// Our newspaper (Kuzbass), 1999, February 4, p. Near a candle in the dark // Kuzbass, 1999, March 10. Atmosphere of mystery and expectation // Voskresnaya Gazeta (Kemerovo), 1999, March 21. Art and Culture in post-Communist Europe. October 16, 1999 - January 16, 2000 - Hamburger Bahnhoff, Berlin - Ludwig Museum, Budapest.Diva (XL gallery project within "Photobiennale 98"). Central Exhibition Hall "Manezh", Moscow. Day by day: Central Exhibition Hall "Manege" // Evening Moscow (weekly), 1998, April 27 - May 10, pp. Vanity Fair // Literaturnaya Gazeta, 1998, December 12 Sigalov M. Little Tragedies big "Photobiennale" // Izvestia, 1998, May 8, p.
Tearing off all and all kinds of masks // Russian magazine, 1998, December 9. New Academy of Fine Arts, St. September 23 - October 5 Booklet.
Research of Aidan's paintings in XL rays // Kommersant, 1996, September 26. Art: a way of use Consumation or resistance? Two exhibitions // Today, 1996, September 26.
(results of the week) // Today, 1996, October 1. The birth of neoclassicism from the spirit of conceptualism // Nezavisimaya gazeta, 1996, October 2. Berman - EN Gallery, New York. Announcement of the exhibition "Golden Confession" // Decorative Art, 1991, No. Spring Bead Games // Capital, 1991, No.
The future depends on you. Moscow Museum of Modern Art. From the Studio to the Art Object. Städtische Galerie Dresden (Dresden City Art Gallery).2nd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. Organizer: Moscow Museum of Modern Art. Curator Oleg Kulik Catalog History of Russian video art. Moscow, Russia Curated by Antonio Geusa Catalog. Gender unrest (special project of the 1st Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art). Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow. Museum and Exhibition Center RGGU, Moscow, Russia. 4th Festival "Fashion and Style in Photography". Gallery on Prechistenka, Moscow March 14 - May 14.
8th International Art Fair ART-MOSCOW (Volker Diehl Galerie stand). International Biennale of Contemporary Art "Second Sight" (project "Ghostbusters").
The National Gallery, Veletrzny Palac, Prague. 13 - September 11 Catalog. July 30 - August 31.
Face portrait (exhibition of the Guelman Gallery and M'ARS). Center for Contemporary Art "M'ARS", Moscow.
June 1 - July 13 Catalog. Contemporary art from Moscow to Dusseldorf // Kommersant, 2003, May 31. Russian revenge in Dusseldorf // ArtChronika, 2003, No. Contemporary art from Moscow // NOMi, No.
2nd festival of contemporary art "ARTKlyazma". Pension "Klyazminskoe reservoir", Moscow region. August 29 - September 7 Catalog.State Exhibition Hall "New Manezh", Moscow. Women-artists of Russia of the 15th - 20th centuries.
January 22 - March 31 Catalog. Business woman: creativity and life. All-Russian Exhibition Center, Pavilion "Culture", Moscow. Business woman "on the kingdom" // Health of Russia, 2002, April 30.
Customsmen Under the sign of goodness and hope // Sudarushka, 2002, No. Fathers and Sons (VP Studio Gallery Exhibition). "Fathers and Sons" // Art Journal, 2001, ? 5th International Art Fair ART-MOSCOW (stand of the Foundation of National Art Collections).East - West (ball of artists, organized by the gallery D-137). The shortest nights last without end // Kommersant St.
October 19 - November 11 Booklet. 2001, October 29 - November 11, p. The image of Timur Novikov in Russian art of the last third of the twentieth century. Mezhdeystvennoe art / Interactive has Art. KLAVA's lovers (exhibition of the Avant-garde Club within the framework of the 4th International Art Fair "ART MOSCOW").
A doll from the Star. Star toys // ArtChronicle, 2000, ? Teil 2: Die Galerie XL in Moskau (as part of the Russische Spielzeit program organized by Kulturabteilung Bayer).
Foyer Hochhaus W1 der Bayer AG, Leverkusen, Germany. January 14 - February 28 - Feierabendhaus der Bayer AG, Dormagen. Pushkin: fantasies on the theme... Moscow Center for the Arts at 14 Neglinnaya, Moscow.May 25 - June 9. (announcement of the exhibition "Pushkin: Fantasies on a Theme") // Playbill, 1999, May 17-30. Loose tripod // Results, 1999, May 25, p. Moscow International Forum of Art Initiatives "Cult of Culture / Communication". Artists re-wash the history of art // Kommersant, 1999, July 23.
Department of the latest trends in the Russian Museum: new acquisitions. Petersburg // Art magazine, 2000, No. Museum and Exhibition Center of the Russian State Humanitarian University, Moscow. R 1 - Inspiration of lightness.Moscow Center for the Arts "On Neglinnaya", Moscow. November 10 - December 7. A drop of inspiration kills a horse // Kommersant, 1999, November 12. "R1 - inspiration of lightness" // Art magazine, 2000, ? Lightness in thoughts // Moscow News, 1999.
Cultural and historical center "Slavyansky", Moscow. Renovation // Results, 1998, February 3. History and Historicisms (Exhibition of the Association of Moscow Galleries). Museum-estate "Ostankino" ("Egyptian" hall), Moscow.
Free artists against the background of the serfs // Kommersant, 1998, June 4. Moscow Forum of Art Initiatives "Control Station of Feelings".
State Exhibition Hall "Maly Manezh", Moscow. Peaceful Forum of Contemporary Art // Kommersant, 1998 July 8. Repin (branch of the Samara Regional Art Museum), Shiryaevo village, Samara region, Russia. Neoacademic photographs from the collection of the New Academy of Fine Arts and private collections in St.
Museum of Foreign Art of Latvia, Riga. February 6 - April 6.
Group exhibition "The second point" // Art Diary, 1997, September. Group exhibition "Own Cinema" // Art Diary, 1997, September. The Moscow Studio, 1991-96: A Five Years Retrospective of Printmaking. The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC. November 27 - December 30 Catalog.
Institute of Contemporary Art, Moscow. Classic art traditions and the history of photography.Petersburg Neoacademism Seeks Its Historical Roots // Kommersant. Love in "Manhattan":a hedgehog, a bear and an odalisque // Kommersant. Museum and Exhibition Center of the Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow. Central House of Artists, Moscow - Caisse des Depots et Consignations, espace d'exposition (56 rue Jacob), Paris Catalog. Adresse provisoire pour l'art contemporain russe. Musee de la Poste, Paris. May 25 - August 21 Catalog. Hearts of Four (Exhibition of the Institute of Contemporary Art). Officers' Club of the Academy. June 18 - July 2. (exhibition organized by Paolo Sprovieri and the RF MK). Villa Campolieto, Herculaneum - Galleria Communale d'Arte Moderna, Bologna Catalog. Park of the Museum-Estate "Kuskovo", Moscow. "Aesthetic experiences" in Kuskovo // Nezavisimaya gazeta, 1991, October 30.
Decorations in decorations, or the Manor and the avant-garde // Decorative art, 1992, ? January 13 - February 22, 1991 - The Clocktower Gallery (The Institute of Contemporary Art, NY), New York. March 14 - April 21, 1991 - North Carolina Museum of Art, Riley. November 21, 1992 - February 28, 1993 Booklet.
Gallery "Gardeners" (exhibition hall of Krasnogvardeisky district), Moscow. April 18 - May 13. XLIV Esposizione Internazionale D'Arte. La Biennale di Venezia, USSR Pavilion, Venice. In de USSR en Erbuiten.
September 22 - November 4 Catalog. Expensive art (exhibition of the Avant-garde Club).Rauschenberg to us, we to Rauschenberg. East European Biennale, USSR pavilion.
Prospects for Conceptualism (Exhibition of the Avant-garde Club). Exhibition Hall of the Proletarsky District in Peresvetov Lane, Moscow. 18th Exhibition of Young Moscow Artists. Labyrinth (from the "First Gallery"). June 3 - August 14.Krieg und Welt / War and Peace. Hamburg - Munich - State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow - State Hermitage, Leningrad. Lake Side Studio, Navy Pier, Chicago. 17th Exhibition of Young Moscow Artists. Artist's House at 11 Kuznetsky Most, Moscow.
16th Exhibition of Young Moscow Artists. Aidan Salakhova (Azerbaijani: Aydan Tair qizi Salahova, born March 25, 1964) is an Azeri and Russian artist, gallerist and public person. In 1992 she founded the Aidan Gallery in Moscow. Salakhova's works can be found in many private and state collections including the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation, Francois Pinault Foundation, Teutloff Museum and the Boghossian Foundation; in private collections of I.
Khalilov, Matan Uziel family collection, P-K. At the 2011 Venice Biennale, Salakhova's name hit the headlines when her work was politically censored. Incident at the 54th Venice Biennale. Aidan Salahova was born in 1964 in Moscow in the family of Azeri and Russian artist Tahir Salahov,  who is the Vice-president of the Russian Academy of Arts, and a laureate of state awards in Russia and Azerbaijan.
In 1987 she graduated from the Moscow State Surikov Institute of Fine Arts (Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture) as an external student. Since 2000, Aidan Salakhova is professor at the institute. Since 2007, she is an Academician of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts. In the late 1980s Salakhova became one of the most significant art figures of the new generation in post-Soviet countries In 2002 Aidan was awarded a silver medal by the Russian Academy of Fine Arts. Having worked for over twenty years as both an artist and a gallerist she has been one of the strongest influences on the development of contemporary art in post-Soviet Russia.
Salakhova has exhibited her work at major international art fairs and biennales, including twice at the Venice Biennale (1991 and 2011) and at the Second Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2007). Salahova's art won recognition not only in the Russian art community, but also internationally. Aidan is a regular participant of major international art fairs and biennales including the Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art (1991, 2011), the 2nd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2007), etc. In her works, Salakhova investigates gender themes, women's sexuality in the context of Islam,  contrasts between the East and the West, matters of prohibition, esotericism, and beauty. She is one of the key artists on a contemporary Russian art scene working in various mediums, such as photography, sculpture, painting, and installations.Aidan Salakhova marries Eastern Islamic with Western feminist influences, combining her Azerbaijani background with her Eastern European upbringing. Her "Persian Miniatures" series explores the feminine identity in an Islamic context. Missing elements carry as much weight as those that are visualized. Feminine figures are delicately portrayed, with the male presence noticeably absent.
The drawings are flat and their subjects anonymous, rendering them interchangeable and representational. Her execution traces back to Persian miniatures from which the series takes its name. Her selection of this style is fitting, as Persian miniatures historically were private books, allowing artists to express themselves more freely than they would with more public wall art. Although these are typically executed in vibrant, vivid colors, Salakhova's miniatures are more somber, as though carrying the strength and the weight of their subjects.
Highly semiotic, Salakhova's work plays on the capability of representative imagery to represent a multitude of meanings, primary among which is women's position within established social conventions. Her symbols are far from mundane, featuring images such as the gourd, a womb-like symbol of fertility.
Also recurring is the minaret symbol, representing faith and power, as well as unity given its function as the location of the call to prayer. Water, a symbol of purity and life across a number of civilizations and religions is also an expression of tears as the inner emotional sea. 2016 Revelations Saatchi Gallery, London, UK.
2015 Reachless, Serpukhov Historical and Art Museum, Serpukhov, Russia. 2013 Out of Body, Quadro Fine Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE. 2012-13 Fascinates & Tremendum, MMOMA, Moscow, Russia.
2012 Persian miniatures, Quadro Fine Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE. 2009 Kicik Qualart, Baku, Azerbaijan. Project of Yves Saint Laurent. State Centre of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia.
XL Gallery, Moscow, Russia. Dom Cultural Center, Moscow, Russia. Orel Art Presenta Galerie, Paris, France. Volker Diehl Gallery, Berlin, Germany.2001 Odalisque (in conjunction with "ART MOSKVA studio"). Central House of Artists, Moscow, Russia. 2000 Tea in the Desert. 2000 The Sleeping Beauty (XL Gallery, in cooperation with the European Galleries association).
Museum of 20th Century Art, Kemerovo. Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin; Ludwig Museum, Budapesht.1998 Diva (project of XL Gallery in conjunction with Photobiennale 98). Manezh Central Exhibition Hall, Moscow, Russia. 1992 Leda and the Swan. In June 2011, Salakhova was representing the Azerbaijan Pavilion among other national artists at the 54th Venice Biennale. Two of her artworks previously approved by the ministry of culture were ordered to be covered and eventually removed from the exhibition a day before the opening, "because of government sensitives towards the nation's status as a secular Muslim country".
 The officials said the works had been damaged during transportation.  Commenting on the conflict the pavilion curator Beral Madra stated that the concept of the removed sculptures had been misinterpreted by the government, and added that in over 25 years of curating she "ever experienced this kind of conflict". In an article entitled "Vagina Art Veiled at Azerbaijan's Venice Biennale Pavilion, Causing Some to Cry Censorship", Kate Deimling stated that "Black Stone, " a "sculpture depicting the black stone in Mecca venerated by Muslims within a vagina-like marble frame, were both covered up".
Founded in Moscow in 1992 by Aidan Salakhova, the gallery today is one of the most prestigious private galleries of modern and contemporary art in Russia. Traditionally, the Aidan Gallery is highly appraised by critics, collectors and audience at international contemporary art fairs and exhibitions, such as The Armony Show (United States), FIAC (France), Liste (Switzerland), Art Forum Berlin (Germany), ARCO (Spain), Vienna Art Fair (Austria), Art Dubai (UAE), Art Brussels (Belgium).  The gallery works with artists, who combine straight conceptualism with radical Aestheticism, such as: Rauf Mamedov, Elena Berg, Nikola Ovchinnikov, Konstantin Latyshev and others. 1987 Surikov Art Institut, Moscow.
1989-92 curator and co-director of 1st Gallery, Moscow. 1992 founder and owner of Aidan Gallery. Museum of modern art, Palermo. Moscow Museum of modern art, Moscow. Moscow house of photography, Moscow.
XL Gallery in Manege, Moscow. Farideh Cadot Gallery, New York. Museum of modern art, Moscow. XL Gallery at New Manege, Moscow.«Forum of the new art initiatives». «Russia without contemorary art museum». «Collection d'Art Contemporain RINACO. Caisse des Depots et Consignations - 56 rue Jacob, Paris. Villa Campoleto, Ercolano; Galleria Comunale d'Arte Moderna, Bologna, Italy. Artisti d'oggi al confronto». «Rauschenberg to us, we to Rauschenberg». Hamburg; Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow; Hermitage, Leningrad.
Irina Korina; Oleg Kulik; Igor Makarevich; Boris Mikhailov; Aidan Salakhova; Constantin Zvezdochotov; Boris Orlov; Viktor Pivovarov; Aristarkh Chernyshev; Bluesoup group; Sergei Shekhovtsov; Anna Jermolaewa. Summer exhibition of the gallery artists. June 26 thru July 29, 2012. Irina Korina; Aidan Salakhova; Aristarkh Chernyshev & Alexei Shulgin.
March 5 thru May 23, 2010. Irina Korina; Oleg Kulik; Igor Makarevich; Aidan Salakhova; Constantin Zvezdochotov; Boris Orlov; Alex Buldakov; Sergei Shekhovtsov; Peter Belyi. December 22, 2009 thru January 24, 2010. October 8 thru October 30, 2008. Solo exhibition at Moscow Museum of Modern Art.May 8 thru June 8, 2006. November 25 thru December 16, 2005. December 11 thru December 23, 2004. April 3 thru April 22, 2002. Vladimir Dubosarsky & Alexander Vinogradov; Igor Makarevich; Aidan Salakhova; Constantin Zvezdochotov; Larisa Zvezdochetova; Avdei Ter-Oganyan; Valery Koshlyakov; Alexander Kosolapov; Olga Chernysheva; Sergei Shutov; Semyon Faibisovich. January 15 thru January 20, 2002. December 2 thru December 20, 1998. Live and interactive Polaroid photoinstallation (in Manege hall). September 29 thru October 5, 1996.
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