Adil Aubekerov, Technical support, 2018, in acrylic and marker on canvas.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Foundry, Dubai’s progressive art space located Downtown, is hosting an exhibition of the artworks of Russian/Kazakh artist Adil Aubekerov. Titled Line as a Universe: Between the Past and the Future (Mar. 17 – Apr. 17), it is organised by Dina Baitassova, curator and art entrepreneur from Kazakhstan. Aubekerov is a young artist based in Moscow. His expressive works project a variety of details and complex images and he is interested in visual culture of the Kazakh nomads, biology, and animalism. The works feature deconstructed Petroglyphs from the Palaeolithic Age, a menagerie of Scythian gold, images of animals inhabiting Kazakhstan — an epic, graphic reflection of the diversity in the cultural code of Central Asian region, through the eye of a contemporary artist.
In the context, the artist takes an imaginary journey through time, contemplating and observing the birth of several countries and cultures, the change of civilisation, art and styles, from cave paintings to modern graffiti. His journey plunges him into a special state of mind close to meditation. It results in the paintings being done without sketches, in a free flow of consciousness. The approach is also reflected in the history of art, bringing us back to the practice of Surrealists, when, in an attempt to free themselves from rational thought, artists invented the method of automatic writing. Says Aubekerov: “I believe that the line is the foundation of everything that surrounds us. I really enjoy observing it. I want to explore it, to experiment with it.
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“In my abstract works, I like to tell stories through the open movement without limiting myself - I’m an advocate of expressing my feelings, rather than displaying them in some deliberate way.” As the name of the exhibition indicates, lines and destination are the keys to understanding the painter’s mind. “The line of life is the complex of everything,” says Aubekerov. “All of my visual culture forms with lines. If you take a look at a human being, some combination of lines gives its figure. “We read this in a building or a cup or a spoon with minimal quantity of lines that give us the description … I love the lines because they contain the energy that I want to convey.” Improvisation has a special place in Kazakh culture — they traditionally called the competition for poets who composed poems impromptu, Aitys.
Aubekerov seems to revive this tradition through graphic images and praises the line, which in his abstract works, becomes an intertwining of worlds and ecosystems, endowed with nature and man in harmony. Many of his graphic works reflect the special nature of street art, unexpectedly revealing the versatility of post-graffiti, blurring the line between museums and street art. “His paintings beam a strong energy and power,” says Baitassova. “The energy is very positive. “Some people might think that some images are frightening; but he explained to me that these images, on the contrary, guard a person. Just like the chimeras in Notre Dame or like some Japanese houses that have these scary monsters on their roofs, they are there to protect the owners from evil spirits.” Born in Astrakhan, southern Russia, in 1991, of Kazakh heritage, Aubekerov lives and works in Moscow, Russia. Selected exhibitions and projects include Bali Air Art, Denpasar; Map of Human Nature at the VII Moscow Young Biennale, Moscow; Flora and Fauna at PA Gallery, CUBE Moscow; Destination Lines, Astana Art Show, Nur-Sultan; Outline festival, Moscow; Donostia Art Fair, San Sebastian; Art Pampelonne, Saint-Tropez and Heart of the Caspian Sea, Astrakhan.
He has successfully collaborated with global brands, including Lamborghini Moscow, with specially commissioned artwork in 2018; participated in BMW Art Car initiative in 2018 and performed a live painting for United Colors of Benetton in 2019, in support of the new collection of the Moscow flagship. He has also designed artwork covers for electronic music label Arma17. His works are in held private and public collections, including the Skolkovo Foundation, Russia. Baitassova is an independent curator and a founder of IADA (International Art Development Association), a non-profit organisation for contemporary art that tries to bridge art in Kazakhstan and the world.
As part of her work, she collaborates with art institutions, museums and publishing houses. She has joined forces with RMN Grand Palais on exhibitions such as Pearls of France held in Almaty and Napoleon, in Nur-Sultan. She has also curated the projects One step/pe Forward at the 55th Venice Biennale, On Love and Other Teachers in Almaty, The Single.The Plural at the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Nur-Sultan, among other shows.
In 2018, she opened the first contemporary art space in Astana — TSE Art Destination — which combines a contemporary art gallery, an educational centre and an experimental art lab. She is also the founder of Artios Art Advisory. Among other initiatives, she is the mastermind behind the Astana Art Show, a showcase of cutting edge contemporary art in Kazakhstan featuring works of Kazakh and international artists. In Dubai, she has participated in Art Dubai Marker — Central Asia and Caucasus, where she showcased contemporary Kazakh artists. She graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Sorbonne in Paris and the Faculty of Interior Design at Marangoni.
Foundry is a hybrid art space founded as a response to the evolving cultural scene in the UAE. Its creative attitude includes a collaborative open work space, podcast studio, micro library, café and gallery spaces. Foundry’s environment, which places a high premium on innovation, provides Dubai’s community and the global art scene, the opportunity to thrive, connect, communicate and exhibit.
Visitors can expect presentations of artworks in different mediums, by artists from South East Asia, Global South and naturally, the Middle East. This year also marks the debut of a new section - Art Dubai Digital - that will bridge the art and crypto worlds.
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