Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 23
A new work by Azerbaijani artist Rashad Alakbarov will be featured at the East Wing Biennial (25 January 2014 to 13 July 2015) at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.
Spectatorship will seek to challenge pre-existing, traditional and even new perceptions of viewers and their place. A conceptually-driven exhibition, the eleventh installation in the East Wing Biennial series will once again provide the opportunity for young curatorial minds to work with contemporary artists.
The artists of INTERACT will play with the role of the spectator: some invite them to interact with the works (and draw attention to this interaction) in order to realise and overcome this preconceived role, whilst others pose different questions and terms of reference.
Four primary routes of enquiry are examined in the installation and, while each is clearly articulated, they also interact.
Visual perception takes on different roles and is particularly significant in the works of Emilie Pugh, Bridget Riley and Sebastian Brajkovic, each of which manipulates optical understanding as visual interventions.
Julie Mehretu's drawings require the spectator to move back and forth in the space in order to decipher the layers of references, techniques and meaning that the works contain.
De-privileging the visual field, the viewers' bodily awareness and other sensations will become their critical apparatus when encountering the work of Katie Paterson, which necessitates a sensitive appreciation of the importance of sound.
Zhu Jinshi's tactile use of paint demands a physical relationship with the work and a haptic understanding of composition.
The spatial (and cultural) context of the Institute spaces influences the viewer's role, making him a spectator. In creating a space for reflection, through the work of Tina Gonsalves, the visitor's own image will be cast back into the exhibition space. The viewers' confrontation with themselves will therefore be mediated by the artwork, setting the terms with which they confront their own perspective. Identity thus forms the enigmatic point of convergence for these works, which includes the evocative photography of Cordelia Donohoe and Liu Bolin. Felix Gonzalez-Torres' iconic 'Untitled (Ross)' also serves as a convergence of personal and public identity and their interaction.
Through a subtle orchestration of space, movement and perception, the apparent and obscure, The Courtauld Institute's environment at once becomes an international representation of contemporary art. At the same time, it is an encounter with art which, through engaged spectatorship, conscious interaction is brought into a position of prominence.
Contemporary Azerbaijani art is represented by Rashad Alakbarov, a non-conventional artist who creates innovative installations which challenge the viewers' expectations by using incongruous objects to create shadows that resemble familiar scenes or patterns.
Rashad had previously represented his country at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and in 2013.
Rashad's latest work is a large scale installation composed of metal elements that create an illusion of chaos and disorder when viewed from wrong angles.
There is only one point from which the whole structure becomes meaningful and a key phrase "It is not a chaos" becomes readable. The artist reminds us how some things can't be understood except if you look at them from the other person's perspective.