YARAT! Organization presents Rashad Babayev’s project "Antonioni in Baku" (PHOTO)

YARAT! Organization presents Rashad Babayev’s project "Antonioni in Baku" (PHOTO)

Azerbaijan, Baku, April 20 / Trend V.Imanov /

A presentation of the project of artist Rashad Babayev "Antonioni in Baku", organized by the YARAT! nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of contemporary art of Azerbaijan was held on Friday in Baku near Theater of Musical Comedy. Famous artists and public figures attended the event organized during 012 Baku Public Art Festival.

Rashad Babayev worked on photo collage with length of 60 meters and a height of four meters for about four months.

Italian modernist film director Michelangelo Antonioni visited Baku in 1972, in search of the location for his movie. During his stay in Baku that lasted 10 days, he visited several places and finally found what he was looking for at the Artyom Island. Prior to visiting Azerbaijan he had also visited Uzbekistan and Armenia, but could not find a suitable location. He found the perfect location for his movie in Azerbaijan. The nature of the Absheron peninsula with its austerity and minimalistic atmosphere suited perfectly the muted beauty of the style of Antonioni. Western critics called him the "singer of detachment", which is why it is not a surprise that he found what he was looking for on the Absheron peninsula.

Antonioni had visited Baku incognito, therefore nobody knew about his presence. Otherwise a visit of a cinema icon to the capital of Azerbaijan would have been celebrated. Unfortunately since Antonioni kept his visit a secret it led the Soviet authorities to reject his request to film his iconic movie. The major goal of this project is to reveal the truth and inform the citizens of Baku about the 'mysterious' visit to Azerbaijan of this famous Italian director.

Michelangelo Antonioni had found perfect shooting location for his next movie at the Artyom Island near Baku. According to RimmaAbdullayeva, who was working as a production manager at "Azerbaijanfilm" film production company and accompanied Antonioni during his visit. The plot of the fairy-tale like movie was the following: a group of boys are flying the kites at the seashore. In short period of time all of them start falling down one after another except for only one, which goes higher and higher. Thus boys keep bringing strings and clothes from home and tie them to the rope of the kite. Gradually the whole city, furthermore the whole country and finally the whole world is getting involved in the process of extending the rope of the kite. As a result everyone ends up naked and barefoot. However one day due to an accident occurring in outer space the kite falls back to Earth and covers it will loads of clothes and items which were used to extend the length of the rope. Circumstantially this leads to fatalities due to the lack of air to breathe, and everybody dies. The director was a convinced antagonist of any experiments regarding outer space and the plot of the film applied a form of a personal manifestation to itself. The reason why the project was left undone is quite banal and refers to the director himself for being rather moody and not managing to succeed on arrangements with USSR bureaucracy concerning his artistic freedom that he wanted to attain while shootings and editing.

The 012 Baku Public Art Festival features the work of twenty-one of the finest emerging and established artists in Azerbaijan. Each has been given the task of creating a visual reinterpretation of a setting that holds significance for them within the city. By bringing their work into the public sphere, the artists will gain creative freedom and will achieve a higher level of exposure without the constraints imposed by a gallery or museum.

Works of the following artists will be exhibited: Altai Sadikhzade, Aga Ousseinov, Fuad Salayev, Mammad Mustafayev, Huseyn Haqverdi, Mahmud Rastamov, Teymur Daimi, Niyaz Najafov, Mekhti Mammadov, Rashad Alakbarov, Ali Hasanov, Aida Mahmudova, Faig Ahmed, Farid Rasulov, Leyla Aliyeva, Sitara Ibrahimova, Rashad Babayev, Nail Alakbarov, Orkhan Huseynov, Nazrin Mammadova, Shargiya Rahmanli .

The participating artists belong mainly to a generation of young talent, who have observed the regeneration of Baku, and are passionate about promoting Contemporary Azeri art, whilst staying in touch with their rich cultural heritage.

As part of the 012 Baku Public Art Festival the award-winning film director Rufat Hasanov will be making a documentary to record the project from inception to completion. He will interact with each artist and follow the development of their work in the lead up to the Festival, culminating with the unveiling of the artworks. This film will be shown at the closing ceremony of the 012 Baku Public Art Festival.

Founded in 2011 by Aida Mahmudova, YARAT! is a non-commercial, private organisation dedicated to the promotion and nurturing of Azeri Contemporary art nationally and internationally.

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