By Laman Ismayilova
A solo exhibition of Colombian-born, Norway-based artist Pedro Gómez-Egaña opened at YARAT Contemporary Art Space on November 10.
A press tour with YARAT artistic director and the exhibition curator Suad Garayeva-Maleki and artist Pedro Gómez-Egaña was organized as part of the exhibition, Trend Life reported.
The event was attended by prominent public figures, representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in the country, famous cultural and art figures.
Addressing the event, Suad Garayeva-Maleki noted that the exhibition is held within the framework of the second M.A.P. International Theater Festival.
It was emphasized that in the work of Pedro Gómez-Egaña present elements of performance, which occupies a large place in contemporary art.
Pedro Gómez-Egaña said that the idea of the exhibition came to him after a visit to Azerbaijan. The artist learned about the hypothesis put forward by the Norwegian researcher Thor Heyerdahl regarding the ancient ties of Scandinavia and Azerbaijan.
The exhibition features a new major work by Pedro Gómez-Egaña which has become part of his "Observatory" series. This large-scale pavilion was inspired by the Caspian region. The exhibition has a special multisensory, immersive impact on the viewers.
The installation pushes the viewer to the ritualization of the ordinary perception of space, takes us beyond the limits of the usual dimensions.
Built as a space within a space, mechanical components inside the observatory form independent pod-like segments where viewers experience a haunted, ever changing environment. Uniting characteristic elements of the artist’s wider practice - such as choreography and the manipulation of light – Gomez-Egaña makes the viewers experience of time and narrative, whilst controlling navigation through his purpose-built spaces.
The art work was inspired from the Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl’s widely contested hypothesis The Search for Odin. Through Heyerdahl’s numerous visits to Azerbaijan, he observed that the artistic style of rock carvings there resembled those previously found in Norway. He concluded that Azerbaijan was a site of advanced civilization, with Azerbaijani people migrating north to Scandinavia; he therefore hypothesized that Vikings had their origins in the ancient Caspian region. Titled "Sleipnir", the exhibition directly references the eight-legged horse ridden by Odin, a god in Norse mythology featured in Heyerdal’s theories, who traveled from Azerbaijan to Scandinavia.
For his installation, Gómez-Egaña also incorporates a musical sound element, performed by singers who create a ghostly presence within the space. Combining traditional Norwegian music with Azeri folk music, the installation reflects upon Heyerdahl’s debunked theory. Interested in the historical, and geopolitical characteristics of Azerbaijan, Gómez-Egaña says his works "take a critical look at current and historical technologies and explore how they define our experience and understanding of time".
The exhibition will last until February 24, 2019. Admission is free.
Pedro Gómez-Egaña was born in Colombia and lives and works between Copenhagen, Denmark and Bergen, Norway. He studied music composition, performance, and visual arts at Goldsmiths College, the Bergen National Academy of Arts, and completed his doctoral project in visual arts at the Norwegian Research Fellowship Programme in 2012. The artist's work has exhibited around the world including: the Istanbul Biennial; Brussels Biennial; ICA, London; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; La Kunsthalle, Mulhouse; and Colomboscope, Colombo amongst others.
Pedro Gómez-Egaña is currently a professor and researcher at the Faculty of Arts of Bergen University, Norway.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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