LondonAidan Salakhova: The Dust Became the Breath
Curated by Farah Piriye
Moon marked and touched by sun
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.
I seek no favor
untouched by blood
unrelenting as the curse of love
permanent as my errors
or my pride
I do not mix
love with pity
nor hate with scorn
and if you would know me
look into the entrails of Uranus
where the restless oceans pound…
Audre Lorde – A Woman Speaks
Gazelli Art House presents the exhibition ‘The Dust Became The Breath’, featuring Aidan Salakhova (b.1964), the prominent Azeri artist. The exhibition is an important addition to the gallery’s 10th year anniversary programme, celebrating its history and marking its inception in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2003.
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Mila Askarova (founding director) says, “we are very proud to have an international platform to showcase important artists from Azerbaijan and to give a voice to the region’s history in the UK. ” The exhibition will debut a series of new artworks by Salakhova.
Curator Farah Piriye explains, “the exhibition’s title, inspired by Nizami Ganjavi’s ‘The Treasury of Mysteries’ (1163), an ethico-philosophical poem aimed at moral and spiritual guidance, likens dust to the ghosts of our pasts, as the exhibition navigates personal and collective experiences, confronting the challenging aspects of our histories in order to examine our present identities.”
‘The Dust Became The Breath’ builds its narrative around the work of Aidan Salakhova, structuring a decadent discourse on cultural and sexual identity, religion and spirituality, traditional symbols and journeys taken inward. Despite censorship, Salakhova continues to create a controversial and radical body of work, constantly facing social and ethical challenges. Experimenting with implicit forms of time and memory, Salakhova’s body of work elicits a sense of mysticism and transcendence, exploring the nature of feminine presence through time. It allows for simultaneous existence in multiple realities—internally and externally, in the past and present, experiencing and being experienced, while attempting to escape such constraints imposed by the principles of duality; feminine vs masculine, consciousness vs unconsciousness, guilt vs remorse, personal vs public, presence vs absence, past struggles vs present identities, the East vs the West.
Going beyond time and space while challenging the persistence of patriarchy by focusing on powerful female personification, the exhibition sheds light on the artist’s personal experiences, as untold stories and social stigmas take their rightful place in public discourse. In an almost Sufi manner, the dichotomy of I-other is transcended, becoming one universal non-duality.
Aidan Salakhova (1964) Graduated in 1987 from the Moscow State Surikov Institute of Fine Arts. In 2000, Aidan Salakhova became professor at the institute. In 2007 Salakhova became an Academician of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts. In 2011 she worked on the 54th Venice Biennale’s Azeri pavilion. Highlight solo exhibitions include; (2016) ‘Revelations: New Work by Aidan,’ Saatchi Gallery, London, UK; (2016) ‘Tears of Sorrow, Tears of Joy.’ Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden; (2012) ‘Fascinans & Tremendum’, MMoMA, Moscow and (2007) ‘Red, Project with Yves Saint Laurent’, State Centre of Contemporary Art, Moscow.
Nizami Ganjavi – one of the greatest representatives of the Persian literary tradition and allegorical poetry, who was born in the 12th century in Ganja (modern day Azerbaijan) is best known for his romantic epic work ‘Khamsa’ (1163-1197). His heritage is widely appreciated and shared by Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, the Kurdistan region and Tajikistan.
Farah Piriye – London and Milan based curator, co-founder of research led socio-cultural platform Zeitgeist19, focusing on art and sustainability. Graduated from Sotheby’s Institute of Art (2011) and UAL: Central Saint Martin’s (2017), in art history and curating.
Courtesy of Gazelli Art House