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Azerbaijan Pavilion
Biennale Arte 2024


Oil changed both Irina Eldarova’s professional development and her destiny, becoming the basis of one of the artist’s extensive series: Girls Prefer Oilmen, its leading image the world’s most famous blonde – Marilyn Monroe.

Irina Eldarova, photo by Adil Yusifov

Irina Eldarova (b. 1955), Honored Artist of Azerbaijan, illustrator and designer, was born in Moscow and educated at the Saint-Petersburg Academy of Arts and Moscow State Academic Art Institute. With their vivid imagery, her paintings are a distinct contribution to modern Azerbaijani art. Irina’s dynamically figurative paintings captivate with their vibrant coloring, while often incorporating a subtle humor. She conveys her imaginative associations and narratives to the viewer in a variety of media. Her unique storytelling explores themes of good and evil, of dreams, as well as of life’s complexities and intrigues. Brimful with the realism of experience, there is still room for intricately interwoven reflections on life. Beyond her paintings, she has also designed extensive marble reliefs for the Halglar Dostlugu metro station in Baku. Irina Eldarova has shown her work in more than twenty solo exhibitions, at home in Azerbaijan and abroad.

2013-2024, oil on canvas

Various dimensions

Girls Prefer Oilmen series

Irina Eldarova asserts that women are initially foreigners. Getting married, moving from their parents’ home, sometimes even from their country.

This series tells of a non-realist, fictitious meeting and love between two heroes mythologized in the mass media. East and West, of the 1960s and 1970s – a typical male worker from the offshore oil fields in the Caspian Sea and the Hollywood idol Marilyn Monroe. The appearance of a foreigner in the scenography of an already romanticized, industrial everyday life creates a special semantic intrigue.

In this story, the most unlikely scenario of a pop symbol meeting an ordinary Baku oilman is possible. The ephemeral feminine and brutal hard labor. Two foreigners from two worlds far apart... Enchanting colors. So much humor. So many associations. A combination of two myths, daring in concept and implementation – the bright ideals of communism and the American dream – the air of unreality, as experienced by those who find themselves in an unknown environment. Here only kindness and attention give one the strength to become oneself in a new place that one day becomes home.

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