YARAT Contemporary Art Space presents “A Mysterious Spirit’s Life” – a retrospective exhibition of the works by the People’s Artist of Azerbaijan Mir Nadir Zeynalov in the Museum of Azerbaijani Painting of the XX-XXI Centuries.
The exhibition, which includes more than 60 artworks from the collections of Azerbaijan State Art Gallery, Azerbaijan National Museum of Art, Mir Nadir Zeynalov’s Gallery, and also Ilal Ahmadov's and Sayavush Alizade’s private collections. Exhiibition is dedicated to the artist's 80th birthday, who went to an eternal rest a few months ago.
The curator of the exhibition is Shirin Melikova, who holds a PhD in Art History.
According to the curator Shirin Melikova, the exhibition's core idea is to immerse the audience in Mir Nadir Zeynalov's creative process and to convey a sense of the artist's creative rhythm of life, resulting in a balance of imagery and abstraction. This is done to vividly translate the artist's mystical immortality of spirit, and thus to achieve the effect of dialogue between the artist and the audience.
Separate halls make up the exhibition area, each presenting distinct aspects of the artist's diverse art practice in close-up. Mir Nadir’s command of color is shown in its totality in the hall of abstract painting. The hall of collages is the obvious continuation of the exposition: the artist enjoyed combining classic canvas art with a range of materials in a massive, monumental format. The hall of figurative art exhibits works that have a private, as well as a family-like, quality in their subject matter: visitors may see portraits of the artist's relatives, as well as his self-portraits from various years.
The hall of landscapes might also be viewed as an ode to Mir Nadir Zeynalov's minor homeland of Absheron, a patch of land on the Earth that fed his creativity not only in the fine arts but also in poetry. “The Journey of Life” hall reveals the mystical energy that has taken hold of the artist, radiating in a rainbow of colors.
The hall of graphics houses a one-of-a-kind collection of Mir Nadir Zeynalov's graphic works. Given the artist's aversion to this aspect of his practice, practically these monochrome, minimalistic works have not been publicly displayed in any of the numerous exhibitions organised during his lifetime. Nonetheless, the artist was able to create an atmosphere in these works with only one or two strokes, demonstrating exceptional skill.
Excerpts from Mir Nadir Zeynalov’s poetry are also displayed in the exhibition halls, enhancing and contributing in the comprehension of his works.
The exhibition hall features a screening room where visitors can watch a video devoted to Mir Nadir Zeynalov, which was filmed just a few months before the artist's demise. The film monologue, directed by Mubariz Naghiyev, is in the format “a day in the life of an artist” and was initiated by Shirin Melikova with the support of “Baki Abadlig Khidmeti” Ltd.
The materials about the artist are complemented by archival images and archives of personal poems recited by the artist. The audience can listen to them by picking up the vintage phone installed in the exhibition hall. The show also features Mir Nadir Zeynalov's personal collection of musical instruments, which he not only collected but also played and composed music on.
The exhibition is organized in the frame of the 10th anniversary of YARAT Contemporary Art Space.
Mir Nadir Zeynalov (1942, Baku – 2021, Baku) was one of the biggest representatives of the Absheron School of Art, who had left an important mark on the art history of his homeland. His creative heritage, multifaceted in its subject matter and diverse in its technical embodiment, is imbued with music and poetry, as well as deep philosophical convictions. Mir Nadir Zeynalov's works represent the XX-XXI century treasury of Azerbaijani painting.
Mir Nadir Zeynalov graduated from the Azerbaijan State Art College named after A. Azimzade in Baku (1963) and from the faculty of Graphic Arts of the Moscow Polygraphic Institute (1973). He is considered to be one of the most significant artists in the post-soviet area of Azerbaijani art. In 1976, he got a diploma from the USSR Academy of Arts at the “All-Union Exhibition” in Moscow, and in 1989, he received a bronze medal for his work “Spring Garden” at the Biennale of the Caspian Republics. In 1992, he was named Honored Artist of Azerbaijan, and in 2006, he was given the honorary title of “People's Artist of Azerbaijan”.
He participated at the wide range of group exhibitions, including: “Make an Island for Yourself” (Museum of Azerbaijani Painting of the XX-XXI Centuries, 2020, Baku); “Fly to Baku. Contemporary Art from Azerbaijan” (Baku, Vienna, Roma, Moscow, Berlin, Paris, London, 2012-2013); “The Artists of Azerbaijan” (Berlin, Germany, 1993; Los Angeles, USA, 1993; Houston, USA, 1989); All-Union Exhibition of Painting, (The Central House of Artist, Moscow, 1988); “Ten-day-long event of Azerbaijani Literature and Art” (Union of Artists Hall, Kiev, Ukraine, 1977), etc.
The artist's personal exhibitions were held in large halls in Azerbaijan and abroad, among which: an exhibition dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the artist (Art Gallery of Museum Centre, 2017); MoMA (Baku, 2012); Museum Centre (Baku, 2007); The Saratov State Art Museum named after A.N.Radishchev (Russia, 1990); The Central House of Artist (Moscow, 1990) etc.
The works of Mir Nadir Zeynalov are kept in Azerbaijan National Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art (Baku), Azerbaijan State Art Gallery, the Union of Artists of Azerbaijan, State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), Saratov State Art Museum named after A.N. Radishchev, as well as in private collections around the world.
About the Museum of Azerbaijani Painting of the XX-XXI Centuries
The Museum of Azerbaijani Painting of the XX-XXI Centuries is situated on the territory of the National Flag Square, founded by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The official opening took place in June 2015 and YARAT Contemporary Art Space presented the first exhibition entitled “Labour, Leisure and Dreams: 1960s-1980s Through the Eyes of Azerbaijani Masters” on 26th May 2018. The exhibition includes works by twenty-three famous Azerbaijani painters, together constituting The Golden Fund of Azerbaijani Culture.
Thanks to regular meetings with local and foreign art experts, curators and artists, visitors of the exhibition had an opportunity to learn more about the creative development of the artists and their works exhibited in the museum. Under the guidance of famous artists, master-classes for children (“Little YARAT”) and adults (“Explore Yourself”) helped the participants discover their creative potential and master the basics of visual art. Moreover, the visitors enjoyed various musical pieces from classical to rock, which accompanied them within the museum halls.
The Museum collaborates closely with educational institutions and the museum's staff familiarizes pupils and students with expositions through interactive tours by teaching them to comprehend and interpret art.
YARAT is an artist-founded, not-for-profit art organisation based in Baku, Azerbaijan, established by Aida Mahmudova in 2011. YARAT (which means 'create' in Azerbaijani) is dedicated to contemporary art with a long-term commitment to creating a hub for artistic practice, research, thinking and education in the Caucasus, Central Asia and surrounding region.
YARAT comprises YARAT Art Centre, ARTIM Project Space, YARAT Studios and an extended educational and public programme. YARAT Art Centre, a 2000m² converted Soviet-era naval building, opened in March 2015 and is the organisation's main exhibition space. The exhibition programme features new commissions by artists responding to the region. It supports and provides access to artists from the region, while engaging and introducing established, international artists.
In October 2015, YARAT opened ARTIM, a central, accessible and dynamic space in Baku's Old City. ARTIM (meaning 'progress' in Azerbaijani) shows experimental practices and new work by emerging Azeri art professionals (selected through open call) and the international artists from the residency programme. It features multiple small-scale projects each year and hosts ARTIM Lab, a programme enabling young artists to engage in workshops and daily studio practice to generate new ideas and works.
In 2016 YARAT launched a renewed residency programme. Aimed at developing young Azerbaijani voices and emerging international artists, the focus is on new, innovative practices and artists with an interest in the region. The residency programme hosts 6 international and 4 local artists a year at YARAT Studios’ spaces.
Exhibition duration: November 17, 2021 – April 3, 2022
Venue: Museum of Azerbaijani Painting of the XX-XXI Centuries (Bayil District, National Flag Square)
Exhibition opening hours: Tuesday – Friday, 12p.m. – 8 p.m.
Entrance to the exhibition will be according to pandemic rules
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