Exhibition of Kazakhstan contemporary art opens in Berlin

ASTANA (TCA) — The second exhibition of the international project of the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan Focus Kazakhstan “Bread and Roses: Four Generations of Kazakhstani Women Artists” opened in the House of Artists Kunstquartier Bethanien in Berlin, Germany, the official website of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.

“Bread and Roses” is the result of study on works of four generations of Kazakh artists, beginning from 1945 and up to the present day. According to the curators, the exhibition represents a new vision of Kazakh art and culture and their wider interpretation in the context of the world of fine art. The term “Bread and Roses”, coined by the Polish-American leader of the trade union movement and activist for women’s rights Rosa Schneiderman affirms women’s rights to equality, culture and power, as well as to urgent needs.

The complex history of the Kazakh SSR in the period of the 1930s and 1940s and the rapid development of the republic since gaining independence in 1991 created a kind of melting pot of ideas that were dynamically reflected in contemporary art of the country. As the curator of the exhibition David Elliot said, chronologically the exhibition begins with the Russian avant-garde, but the exposition opens with an exhibit of arts and crafts — tekemem (textile flooring).

“Avant-gardists in their experiments with the form, the composition, the color avoided copying the reality, and in the folk art of Kazakhstan, in the ornaments there were already elements of abstraction. And the next generation of artists sought to revive the disappearing folk traditions in the fine arts,” he said.

Tatyana Glebova, Vera Ermolayeva, Aisha Galimbayeva and Gulfairus Ismailova represent the “older” generation of artists at the exhibition. The creativity of these “great-grandmothers”, “grandmothers”, “mothers” of contemporary art reflects the complicated history of the country and many incredible personal stories. These women combined in their work and created a bridge between traditional Kazakh art, the Soviet avant-garde of the 1920s-1930s, and socialist realism.

Most of the exposition of “Bread and Roses” is devoted to art which appeared in the 1980-90s and is dynamically developing today.

The exhibition was organized in partnership with the non-profit platform of contemporary art Momentum. The curators were well-known international experts: David Elliot, deputy director and senior curator at the Redtori Museum of Contemporary Art, Rachel Ritz-Wolloch, director of Momentum and Kazakhstan artist Almagul Menlibayeva.

The Focus Kazakhstan project was organized by the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports within the framework of the Ruhani Zhangyru program.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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