Qo'rg'on Chiroq

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Qo'rg'on Chiroq: The exhibition project Qo'rg'on Chiroq

TheArt and Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan presents a personal exhibition “Qo'rg'on Chiroq” (“Light on the Hill”) by Uzbek director and video artist Saodat Ismailova, which will be held from April 12 to June 1, 2019 in the framework of the pre-opening of the Center for Contemporary Art in Tashkent. In addition, in the Center there will be a screening of films by Ali Khamraev and master–classes for children will be offered.

The exhibition project Qo'rg'on Chiroq unites the creations of Saodat Ismailova during the last five years of her video work. The video poem “Zukhra” was exhibited for the first time in the pavilion of Central Asia at the 55th Venice Biennale. In addition, a double–channel video of the “Two Horizons” was filmed by the artist near Baikonur on the tomb of the legendary Turkic poet and musician Korkyt (IX century), who believed that levitation was the secret to achieving immortality. Dedicated to the extinction in the second half of the XX century of Turanian tigers, the video farewell “Bewitched” by Ismailova was created in the commonwealth with the composer Camille Norma, who writes music for unique instruments, i.e. glass harmonics. Three pieces will form the video installation “Whisper Oxus” which tells the story of the Amu Darya River (Oxus), the waters of which connect the Pamirs with the Aral Sea, along with the people who speak of the ancient waters in their dreams. The project will also host the premiere of the new “Immortal Letters” piece dedicated to the Sogdian language by Saodat Ismailova. The Sogdian language today is considered dead—its last written monuments pertain to the XI century— but the artist is sure that the language cannot die, continuing to live in the subconscious and collective memory. In the exhibition “Qo'rg'on Chiroq” Saodat Ismailova worked in collaboration with the senior curator of the London gallery Tate Modern Andrea Lissoni and the architects and co–founders of the Milan architectural bureau GRACE Ekaterina Golovatiuk and Giacomo Cantoni.

Saodat Ismailova, the artist, stated: “The name of my exhibition in the Uzbek language sounds like ‘Kurgan chirok’. Kurgan is a word that does not need to be translated into Russian and is often associated with antiquity and the mysteries of our ancestors. ‘Chirok’ is translated as ‘light’, but at the same time it is the name of a ritual which came to us from Zoroastrianism. Performing the ritual ‘chirok’, we light candles and lamps, symbolizing the relationship with our ancestors, with the forefathers and foremothers who live in the collective memory of our people. In addition, this image of light as a connection to me is very close, because, on the one hand, I work with the theme of collective memory, and on the other hand, I am a video artist and at the heart of my art lies the same light”.

Andrea Lissoni, senior curator of the gallery Tate Modern: “Being for the first time in Uzbekistan about ten years ago, I immediately realized how unique and even precious the place is. The roots of this country go deep into the past: ancient traditions intertwine here with elements of Russian culture and traditional customs of nations, which for millennia inhabited boundless deserts and steppes. Saodat Ismailova has become a wonderful cultural envoy of this world. Working in Europe, she not only preserves her national identity, but also helps the development of the region. I remember how I met her at the beginning of the noughties. One of the rooms in her apartment in Treviso was framed as a yurt. It really touched me. I saw an original artist who deeply feels the history, music, writing and other forms of cultural memory, an artist who is constantly in search of new stories and ideas. Saodat uses the transforming power of art to tell wonderful stories about the amazing region in which she was born and grew up”.

Furthermore, on April 13 in the Center for Contemporary Art there will be held an open meeting with the author Saodat Ismailova and curator of the exhibition Andrea Lissoni, the senior curator of the International Art Department of the Gallery of Contemporary Art Tate (London). At the meeting all participants will be able to ask questions, communicate with the author and curator, listen to their stories about the history, concepts, and complexities which they encountered in the process of working on the exhibition and how they addressed them.

A pleasant addition to the concept of the exhibition will be screenings of films by Ali Khamraev, a well-known Uzbek director, who was selected by the Saodat herself. In the cinema hall of the Center will be presented the movies of A. Khamraev: “Triptych”, “Seventh Bullet”, “Without Fear” and “Man Goes after Birds”. The films of Ali Khamraev are dynamic both in the story development and in the colors of their frame construction. His films, according to Saodat, subtly reflect the national way of life, keeping the modernity of our days.

In continuing the dialogue with visitors, on April 18 Saodat Ismailova will hold a series of interactive master-classes for children from 5 to 7 years and their parents. After the excursion and conversation all participants will begin creative work. Master-classes will be aimed at joint family work.      

Saodat Ismailova (born on 1981) is an Uzbek director and video artist, a graduate of the Faculty of Directing in the State Institute of Arts of Uzbekistan, and a scholarship holder of the Fabrica Research Center (Treviso, Italy). Among the works of Ismailova it is necessary to highlight the video poem “Zukhra” presented in the pavilion of Central Asia at the 55th Venice Biennale of contemporary art, and the full–length film “40 Days of Silence”, the premiere of which took place at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival, and the documentary film “Aral: Fishing in the Invisible Sea” (together with Spanish director Carlos Casas, 2004). The works of Ismailova have also been exhibited in the New Gallery of Museums and other art collections of Augsburg (Germany), in the Claude Levi–Strauss Theatre at the Museum on the Quay Branly (Paris), in the Tromso Center for Contemporary Art (Norway). The international premiere of the theatrical performance “Kirk Kiz” was held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in March 2018.

Information on the exhibition:

Dates of performance: April 13 – June 1, 2019

Opening: April 12, 2019

Venue: Center for Contemporary Art, 6, Block B, Amir Timur Street, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Curator: Andrea Lissoni

Co-Curator: Gayane Umerova

Artist: Saodat Ismailova

Organizer: The Art and Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Exhibition opening hours: daily from 10:00 to 20:00


Admission to public lectures and  master classes for children is free of charge, by prior registration on the website of the Center for Contemporary Art is necessary: www.ccat.oz (from March 25, 2019) and at: //goo.gl/forms/1rhVO6wg8YoeNzyW2