ARTBAT FEST 6 Contemporary Art Festival – The Dialogue City
August 27 – September 27, 2015
Organizers: Eurasian Cultural Alliance
Strategic Partners: The Major’s Office of the City of Almaty
Partners: British Council in Kazakhstan, Consulate General of the US, ACTIV cell brand, Hyundai brand of Astana Motors KMC, Tikkurila, the Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantin Sorokin, Artwin Gallery, Pro Rest, VILLA Boutiques & Restaurants, the Kazakhstan hotel, AB restaurants, Caspian Arts Foundation, Art Oxygen, Canon, Tadia
The annual Contemporary Art Festival ARTBAT FEST 6 will be hosted in Almaty for the 6th time; thie major cultural event will bring extraordinary installations, exhibitions, performances and amazing music to the city.
Public Art Project
Street Art Project
Young Artists’ Exhibition
ARTPOINT Public Cultural Space
Igor Sludsky, head of the Public Association Eurasian Cultural Alliance:
We decided to bring some innovations to the festival every year to make it interesting for our audience. A new format of ARTPOINT cultural public space is introduced this year. This ambitious project did not fit in the festival timeframe and started in Almaty since early July. We are implementing this project with the support of the Department of Culture, together with the British Council and Atomik Architecture bureau. In addition the artists from the Middle East and China became the festival participants for the first time; it was carried out in joint efforts with the Caspian Arts Foundation (UK) and ArtOxigen (India) respectively. Although previously we have carried out graffiti art projects, this year there will be as many as six huge graffiti works produced with Tikkurila paints exclusively. Most of the graffiti will be fulfilled within a joint project with the Russian Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantin Sorokin. For many years our festival is supported by the Department of Culture of the city of Almaty. I also want to say that we have begun to receive active support from Kazakhstani business.
Natalia Eskova, head of corporate communications of Kcell JSC:
We are pleased to support ARTBAT FEST; this festival is loved by many Almaty citizens and tourists for bringing in the most unordinary and creative art ideas. In partnership with the festival, together with the brand of ACTIV we decided to present Almaty with graffiti depicting the union of two worlds of people in love. The cellular communication today is a constant opportunity to share the worlds with each other and have a dialogue despite the distance. We really believe that Connecting the Worlds graffiti will be a pleasant surprise for the city of Almaty. Very soon there will be another surprise for the citizens; it will be an interesting addition to the first event.
Anton Afonin, executive director of the Astana Motors KMC:
The brand of Hyundai represented in Kazakhstan by Astana Motors is a sponsor of ARTBAT FEST international festival of contemporary art. Hyundai was motivated to sponsor due to its firm desire to settle in the niche of Modern Premium and to make the general public of Kazakhstan more familiar with the brand.
This cultural event has managed to catch the fancy of the residents and guests of Almaty for the sixth time. Participation in ARTBAT FEST has become a great opportunity for Hyundai to attract even more attention, and to find new admirers among creative people and art lovers.
Within the festival it is planned to make an art transformation for one car of Hyundai i30 at the exhibition space of ARTPOINT. Hyundai i30 is a well known and recognized hatchback in Europe. This bright and dynamic model is ideal for creative youth of the city striving for knowledge and art.
PUBLIC ART PROJECT – Air of the Earth
Curator: Sergey Kovalevskiy (Russia)
Participants: Taturo Atzu (Tatzu Nishi) (Japan), Nikita Kadan (Ukraine), Timofey Radya (Russia), Mila Kuzina (Russia), Walid Siti (Iraq), Bisan Abu Eisheh (Palestine), Inside Out international project. Participants from Kazakhstan: Saule Suleimenov, Bakhyt Bubikanova, Syrlybek Bekbotaev, Arystanbek Shalbaev, Georgiy Tryakin-Bukharov, Fatima Omir, Alyona Velar, Askhat Akhmediyarov
The core of ARTBAT FEST is an open exhibition of street installations. Placing these artworks into urban context and its direct contact with the real world demonstrate mutual complementarity of art and the city, revealing the binding power of culture to a wider audience.
Any artistic project in urban environment is aimed at manifestation of urban aura. The required multiplicity and comprehension of creative activity is brought through the dialogue with the spirit of location, immersion into its historicity, existence, sensibility and meaningfulness.
Though contemporary art exists above geographical and administrative borders, its natural mission is to find a universal potential in local context. Based on the figure of nomad fundamental for history and identity of Kazakstan one might assume that the generalized perception of nomadic relationships with the space, time and society could and should enrich the creative content of festival artworks. However in case of the megapolis of Almaty the key component is the fact that art nomadism is located in urban environment.
The meeting of the Nomad and the City with their fundamental philosophical differences is an intense challenge to the creativity of artists and expert knowledge of city people. How can one combine now the external space of nomadic steppe and the internal space of a city in the state, wild field and regularized policy, playing go and playing chess?
The most concise metaphors of smooth space are the elements of water and air. Being symbolic environment of specific lifestyle the air serves as that essential values message, which can be extracted and reactivated from a cultural layer of Almaty. The boundless steppe and high sky are those environmental features that are harder to experience in a crowded modern metropolis. However all these contradictions can be a valuable creative resource for geniuses. They face a general challenge to settle a neighborhood site of the city and the sky, which earlier was sensed as the roof of a nomad’s home.
According to a Russian poet Mandelstam the air can be “kneaded as dense as earth”. Based on dense sense of fleeting there is a conceptual archeology of paths without memory appearing as nontrivial strategy of art intervention into the urban environment. The artist’s imagination is able to carry out explorations not only in the ground but even in the sky. In the city soil one can find even glimpses of space. So according to ancient Kabbalah for every star in the skies there is a flower…
One of the strangest features of extraordinary geometry of nomadism is living by touch. “Smooth space is a space of contact, of small tactile or manual actions of contact, rather than a visual space… [It] is a field without conduits or channels. … It [heterogeneous multiplicity] can be explored only by legwork.” (Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari)
Among the inspiring paradoxes of nomadic corporeality there is a balance of external immobility and internal movement, as profoundly suggested by Toynbee, a British historian: “The nomad [is the one] who does not move.” “The nomad knows how to wait, he has infinite patience.” In ancient times such figures were referred as people of long will.
Since contemporary art is often defined as practical philosophy one shall determine the mental horizon of our air paths and provide concept of a required unit of urban spirit.
In philosophical tradition there is a well known suitable notion of a monad, the smallest particle in the universe, which paradoxically equals the whole world. In Modern times Leibniz focused on this metaphysic unit and traced “connection of the monad with the matter as a double-storey house, on the first store of that is open the sensibilia ‘folds and unfolds’, on the upper store absolutely shut and somber the spirit ‘bends and unbends.’
Following the linguistic and semantic accord of conceptual oneness with possible spirit of the place one might name the formula of artistic aggregate for city’s spirit inception – a Nomad monad.
This nearly palindrome saying stands for a chamber type of tangency of the air and the earth matters.
STREET ART PROJECT – The general in the particular
Curator: Vladimir Potapov (Russia)
Participants: Valeriy Chtak (Russia), Misha Most (Russia), Vladimir Popov (Russia) and Darion Shabbash (Kazakhstan).
The upcoming ARTBAT FEST will provide the city with approximately 6 new vivid unforgettable graffiti. The artists from Russia and Kazakhstan will colorize gray walls of ordinary houses.
Russia and Kazakhstan are the countries that once were a part of a unified ideological block, linked with brotherly relations; and now they are business partners and good neighbors. After the collapse of the Soviet Union each of them began to create its own concept of national and state history to various degrees reviewing the common history, where the main task was to build its unique historical narrative and its own national identity. General ideological view was replaced with a private authentic one. The cultural memory in the process appeared to be a set of ideas about the past, as well as about all the heroes, victories and tragedies, which in many ways are fixed in the memory, as well as a set of different forms of this fix. Production of historical knowledge and its rationing become the most important task of the young state, through which a meaning is given to the past, and hope for the future is determined.
At the same time in the rest of the world there are different processes; on the one hand it is globalization and multiculturalism leveling national traits, on the other there is the rise of movements for the rights and identity of minorities and regions. In this regard, national cultures turn into the intensive exchange on the background of public policy delineating the contours of historical identity.
The General in the Particular exhibition is a view of young artists from countries that once were a part of a single political unit, review of the common history from contemporary point since the collapse of the USSR. Each author is a carrier of a new national identity, which is a certain perspective or vision for a shared past. This vision inevitably contains distortion reduction and new elements that probably are not a defect of vision, as well as reflection of the new state and the self of the countries represented by the authors, thus building up a new dialogue on a common past.
WE ARE THE RIVER – YOUNG ARTISTS’ EXHIBITION
Curator: Yana Malinovskaya (Russia)
The exhibition brings together the artists under the age of 35. Young artists’ exhibition is on one hand an attempt to promote contemporary art, and on the other it is a way to display what the young generation is like.
The exhibition was inspired by several themes; these are the image of spiritual Eighth river project created in Ile-Alatau national park, the river of ideas generating the cultural environment of Zhetisu and Almaty, as well as the works of Gaston Bachelard, Imaginative geography by Dmitriy Zamyatin, the song Stand by the River by Boris Grebenshchikov, and the poem We are the time. We are the famous by Jorge Luis Borges. One line from the poem gave name to the exhibition.
Such polyphony of the curatorial references is in accordance with the image of the river itself, as it is carrying many streams, creating and filling it. In the context of mythmaking and literariness of a statement this method of deployed metaphor allows the project to have the length of time.
The river is a symbol of change; it’s the definition of changes. The definition itself does not bring change but establishes a change in the things. In this sense the exhibition title We are the River on the one hand is a broadcast of change, and on the other hand it is a calling for these changes. Who are we? We are the creative force, the collective flow. The creative river originates in the tops of imagination or in imaginary vertices.
Imagination is not a possibility to create images out of reality in accordance with etymological definition, imagination is a possibility to create images beyond reality, praising it (Bachelard).
The exhibition consists not only of the works of contemporary artists but the art pieces by conceptual architects, designers, theater designers. The curator did not base the selection on traditional democratic principle of criteria for the institutional success of an author, but for the originality of a particular art work and meaningful use of the image of renovation of the space, world, country, city, society, and relations.
The exhibition slogan is “I am the flow of renovation, we are me and someone else, we are turning into rivers, carrying the renovation, new fresh waters of solutions, ideas and projects that can transform the present.”
ARTPOINT PUBLIC CULTURAL SPACE
ARTPOINT is the place to spend time in a nice and useful way: to listen to the music, to watch movies, to visit an exhibition as well as to work in the open air, to have coffee, and to hold a meeting.
This space is aimed to be a platform for art projects and creative collaborations of Almaty citizens and promotions of different genres of contemporary art.
Atomik Architecture team was invited for project development. It is a studio of architects and designers from Kazakhstan and United Kingdom. The architectural approach to ARTPOINT includes a special Almaty light and laconic concept found in the buildings of Soviet modernism. It was an important period in the history of Almaty, when many iconic buildings were created and Almaty image was revealed.
The project is organized by Eurasian Cultural Alliance and British Council.
Within ARTBAT FEST 6 the ARTPOINT space will host a presentation of a joint project of artists Elena Starkova (Russia), Claude Steiner (Switzerland) and a musician Jay Haze (USA).
This year the long-established exhibition marathon presents three exhibitions: The genetic code of the time lost, an exhibition of the works by Russian artist Katya Shkolnik (28.08 – 28.09, Kasteyev State Art Museum) and the Eighth River, a documentary exhibition of the project in Ile-Alatau national park (29.08 – 12.09 Tengri Umai Gallery).
ARTBAT FEST 6 program includes Connecting the Worlds, a huge mural with augmented reality created by Kyrgyz artists DOXA art (Al-Farabi Avenue, 127) and two kinetic sculptures by Yermek Arkarov (Kazakhstan), which will be located on Dostyk avenue (opposite the Kazakhstan hotel) and Arbat area (a pedestrian part of Zhibek Zholy street).
Especially for ARTBAT FEST 6 a young Kazakh artist Alpamys Batyrov will transform a car into a work of art. You can see the transformation of an everyday item into art in ARTPOINT public cultural space.
In addition, an American artist Carrie Neumayer together with students of Kasteev Arts School will create a panel based on Kazakh fairy tales. The final art product will be displayed in ARTPOINT space.
For the festival Leung Mee Ping, a famous artist based in Hong Kong, presents a special project “Ashes and clay … And the coin in the middle” (Angle Chorus) in Almaty.
In the opening days of the festival from 27 to 29 August, Almaty will be able to enjoy the music by amazing Viennese musicians Lukas Lauermann and Mira Lu Kovacs (Austria).
For more information please contact:
+7 775 792 12 96
Aida Gabitova, pr-manager of Eurasian Cultural Alliance
For more information about Caspian Arts Foundation’s participation please contact: