Fire talks to me
Fire talks to me, 2015
4K, 10 channels video installation, 17 min, surround sound
Composed by German Popov
Courtesy American- Eurasian Art Advisors LLC.
Commissioned by Yarat Art Foundation
'My educational background is in the Soviet Russian, avant-garde school of Futurism, which I combine with the nomadic aesthetic of post-Soviet, contemporary Kazakhstan that I have been exploring in recent years through photographic and video work. I like to work with the notion of memory and reality. By editing raw data and combining documentary and staged footage, I tend to enable a cultural exodus from long oblivion.'
– Almagul Menlibayeva
Almagul Menlibayeva mostly merges the symbols and images of religion, personal memories and women, as well as Kazakhstan's post-soviet crisis of identity. Together with Rashad Alakbarov, she took part in the project The Union of Fire and Water, as a collateral event for the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, commissioned by YARAT and curated by Suad Garayeva.
The starting point of The Union of Fire and Water is Murtuza Mukhtarov's Venetian Gothic style palace, built in Baku in 1912. Mukhtarov was one of the first oil magnates in the country and the palace was built for his beloved wife Lisa. The building itself witnessed and hosted many incidents such as Soviet invasions and the suicide of Mukhtarov. The project takes place in Palazzo Barbaro, the former residence of Giosafat Barbaro, a Venetian ambassador who travelled to and wrote extensively on Azerbaijan. Palazzo Barbaro functions as a performative setting by recalling and emphasizing both the resemblances and conflicts between Baku and Venice.
This video excerpt gives decisive moments of Menlibayeva's ten channel video work: The video starts running from the three channel room where Murtauza tells Lisa to leave the town; the view of the oil fields; the dance on the pomegranate; the part of the window installation in the room of Plazzo Barbaro; and finally Lisa's diary room.
Read Menlibayeva in conversation with Basak Senova here.