By Nazrin Gadimova
The opening ceremony of the famous late American artist Andy Warhol's exhibition was held at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku on June 21.
The exhibition is organized in the framework of a cooperation project of the Heydar Aliyev Center and the pop-art Andy Warhol Museum (USA), with the assistance of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
The event was attended by the Director of Heydar Aliyev Center Anar Alekberov, President of the National Academy of Sciences Akif Alizade, Principal of the Baku branch of M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Art Director of UNS creative scene Nargiz Pashayeva, Deputy Director of the Andy Warhol Museum Patrick Moore, Chairman of the Union of Artists of Azerbaijan Farhad Khalilov, Secretary of the Azerbaijan Union of Writers Chingiz Abdullayev, young artists from the YARAT! organization, led by Aida Makhmudova, as well as prominent public and culure figures.
Heydar Aliyev Center head Anar Alekberov expressed his gratitude to the exhibition curator Gianni Mercurio for his assistance in arranging the exhibition and briefed participants about the Center's activity.
"Within a short period of its operation Heydar Aliyev Center conducted several significant events which were joined by a great number of guests who could familiarize themselves with the work of the Center," Alekberov said.
He said further events will seek to familiarize visitors of the Center with Azerbaijani history and culture.
Alekberov expressed his particular gratitude to President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva for the implementation of all of these important projects and Vice President of the Foundation Leyla Aliyeva for direct contribution to the project.
The Andy Warhol Museum's Patrick Moore expressed his admiration for the Heydar Aliyev Center, and also thanked the management of the Center for organizing the exhibition at a high level.
"If Andy Warhol ever visited Azerbaijan, he would have been delighted with your colorful and modern city and your attitude to art, culture, tolerance and hospitality," Moore said.
Exhibition curator Gianni Mercurio thanked the head of the Heydar Aliyev Center for the opportunity of organizing the exhibition and all those who facilitated the realization of the project.
"Holding this exhibition is very important for me both professionally and personally, as it provided an opportunity to get familiar with such a beautiful city as Baku and make new friends - it's a big honor for me. I have the most wonderful feeling from my visit to Baku," he said.
Mercurio emphasized the magnificent architecture of the Heydar Aliyev Center, which he considers one of the best in the world.
"This center is a graphic example of world architecture, which will allow the world to know even more about Azerbaijan," he said.
Also, he spoke about Andy Warhol's life and creative work.
A catalog with reproductions of the famous artist's works was published the day before the opening of the exhibition.
The catalog begins with remarks of Leyla Aliyeva about the Baku exhibition. Recalling that Azerbaijan is a country with ancient history, traditions and customs, Aliyeva noted that different cultures, Eastern and Western civilizations, history and modernity are merged here and Azerbaijan is known as a country of modern art.
According to Aliyeva, Baku hosted many international events, conferences, festivals and competitions recently.
"This time Baku is in spotlight due to another significant event. It is the first time an exhibition of Andy Warhol's works, who inscribed his name in the history of modern painting, takes place in Baku. Today, the Heydar Aliyev Center, which preserves historical traditions, our cultural heritage and implements projects in the field of contemporary art, helps to build bridges between the Eastern and Western cultures, to promote Azerbaijani culture and art in the world and samples of world culture in Azerbaijan. In this view, Andy Warhol's exhibition "Life, Death and Beauty" is a successful project, aimed to promote and preserve contemporary art," Aliyeva said.
Director of Andy Warhol Museum Eric Shiner and curator Gianni Mercurio also provided their statements in the catalog.
The publication, which contains information about the life and work of Andy Warhol, the nature of his symbolic images, portraits, self-portraits, as well as the theme of life, death and beauty in the works of the artist, is a rich source about the views of the King of Pop Art.
The international exhibition "Life, Death and Beauty", which is expected to continue until September 9, features up to 100 creations of the artist, including photos, portraits of renowned cinema, music and fashion stars, and other works.
The exhibition is part of the Heydar Aliyev Center's support for the development of culture, efforts to introduce world culture to Azerbaijan and to further expand the relations between countries and peoples through such projects.
The famous 20th century photographer, artist and stage manager Andy Warhol, who was born in 1928, passed away in 1987.
Warhol's art encompassed many forms of media, including hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music. He was also a pioneer in computer-generated art using Amiga computers that were introduced in 1984.
The pop-art Andy Warhol Museum, located in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, was established in 1994. The single-artist museum exhibits 900 paintings, 100 statues, 400 photos, 60 feature films as well as other works of the artist.
The Heydar Aliyev Center was established on December 26, 2006. The complex was designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid.
The Center houses a conference hall, a gallery hall and a museum. The project is intended to play an integral role in the intellectual life of the city. Located close to the city center, the site plays a pivotal role in the redevelopment of Baku.