WINTER, the Central Asian Pavilion, unfolds its concept through six artistic positions and discursive statements, staged in the Pavilion by artists from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The site-specific installation ‘Breathe Quietly’ by Vyacheslav Akhunov originates in a sketch from 1976 as an unrealised public monument, satirically reflecting the culture of intimidation and state propaganda at the time. By exhibiting this piece today, the artist invites viewers to see the present situation in Uzbekistan, through the lens of the Soviet period. Other works, such as Saodat Ismailova’s double projection video, Zukhra and Aza Shade’s film ‘The Disappearing City’ explores the role of women in contemporary Central Asia, where tradition still plays a major role.
Ikuru Kuwajima’s photographic series ‘Astana Winter Urbanscapes’ and Kamilla Kurmanbekova & Erlan Tuyakov’s site-specific installation ‘Zhol’, explore the field of architecture, as being subject to appropriation by ideology. Kuwajima documents the recent architectural developments in Astana, while Kurmanbekova & Tuyakov re-interpret the classic yurt into an architectural installation and transitory passage. Sergey Chutkov & Anton Rodin’s collaborative project ‘Letters from Tajikistan’ was made possible through an open call for letters across a broad strata of Tajik society, resulting in a semantic map of Tajik and Central Asian realities. The Pavilion opened to the art world during the preview of the Biennale di Venezia, with the discussion forum ‘Perspectives Beyond Stagnation’, organized in partnership with LIAF (Lofoten International Art Festival). Invited guest speakers, Gopal Balakrishnan and Aaron Schuster addressed issues relating to themes of exhibition, such as the convolutions of capitalism, transgression and constraint.