New York hosts exhibition of Kazakhstan art group

ASTANA (TCA) — A retrospective exhibition “Collection of Thoughts: Creating Stories” of the Kazakh art group Kyzyl Tractor, which is part of the Focus Kazakhstan project and the special program of Asia Contemporary Art Week, is taking place in New York between October 14 and November 30, the official website of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reports.

About three hundred works of the Kazakh art group Kyzyl Tractor are exhibited: paintings, drawings, monumental sculptures, spatial objects, installations, archival photos and video performances.

The participants of Kyzyl Tractor, who have been actively working on the art scene of Kazakhstan since the beginning of the 1990s, are the founders of the trans avant-garde movement. The group was founded by a teacher and follower of the school of spatial-structural composition Vitaly Simakov. During its existence, the group has changed several names: “CaA group”, “Shymkent – Transavangard”, “Structural school of C.” In 1995, they took the name “Kyzyl Tractor” (Red Tractor), which, according to the author, was supposed to go round the whole world.

Kyzyl Tractor is known for its rethinking and the use of nomadic, Sufi, and shamanistic philosophies, which in the practices of the group are closely intertwined with the social and political changes taking place in the region. The constant movement in which the nomads are located, the popular narrative of the 1990s, as well as the sacralization of natural materials – wood, wool, felt, textiles are often present in group performances along with the use of hand-made folk instruments: shan-kobyz, dombra and drums.

The central place in the exhibition is occupied by the painting of M. Narymbetov — an artist, a poet, a philosopher and a key figure of the Kyzyl Tractor group. The works of Narymbetov for the exhibition were provided by the Eurasian Cultural Alliance, and hundreds of other exhibits were collected from the workshops of artists themselves, museum and private collections in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

The name of the exhibition “Collection of Thoughts: Creating Stories” refers to the thesis of the exhibition curator Lisa Ahmadi, who calls the artist the first collector outside the art market, which is also the main concept of the Asian Contemporary Art Week 2018.

Asian Contemporary Art Week is a dynamic educational and curator platform that brings together leading New York and Asian art institutions, museums and galleries to present large-scale experimental exhibitions, innovative projects and various dialogues.

The Focus Kazakhstan project was organized by the National Museum of Kazakhstan with the support of the Kazakh Ministry of Culture and Sports.

Sergey Kwan