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Azerbaijan Pavilion
Biennale Arte 2024 A. "Pink planet" for the Azerbaijan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Entitled "From Caspian to Pink Planet: I Am Here" is the exhibition of the Azerbaijan Pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale. On display are the works of Vusala Agharaziyeva, Rashad Alakbarov and Irina Eldarova. And there is also a bit of Italy: curator, along with Amina Melikova, is Turin-based Luca Beatrice.

It is titled From Caspian to Pink Planet: I Am Here the exhibition thatAzerbaijan is presenting at the 60th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, in the spaces of the Arsenale, from April 20 to November 24, 2024, organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.There is a bit of Italy in the Azerbaijani pavilion since curator Amina Melikova worked in tandem with Italian Luca Beatrice, fresh president of the Quadriennale in Rome:Melikova and Beatrice imagined an exhibition inspired by the theme proposed by International Art Exhibition director Adriano Pedrosa to explore the different meanings of the expression Foreigners Everywhere (this is the title of the 2024 edition of the Biennale), declined through the interpretations of the three artists selected by Rashad Aslanov, commissioner of the Pavilion: Vusala Agharaziyeva (Baku, 1990), Rashad Alakbarov (Baku, 1979) and Irina Eldarova (Moscow, 1955). The exhibition project, designed at the Venetian atelier OSTUDIO, restores a contemporary portrait of Azerbaijan’s fervent artistic production through an exhibition itinerary that investigates the themes of identity, provenance and migration as pillars of contemporary cultural debate. The selected artists have conceived and created a selection of works designed to invite the public to delve into one of the most pressing cultural and social issues of our time.

Vusala Agharaziyeva, born in 1990 in Baku draws inspiration from her personal experience to explore the theme of foreignness, placed at the center of a cultural reflection involving the history of Azerbaijan. In the painting Pink Planet (2023-2024), the travels and displacements that have characterized the artist’s biography become an ideal vehicle for the transmission of a common feeling. The constant feeling of feeling like a foreigner within one’s own existence reverberates in the work’s subjects, caught in the act of landing on moonscapes defined by a distinct pink hue.

Rashad Alakbarov, born in Baku in 1979, investigates the concept of birthplace and its impact on our life and identity. He uses architectural elements such as doors and mirrors to reflect on the connection between the individual and places experienced. In I Am Here (2024), high walls compose a labyrinth that, from different angles, forms the phrase “I am here,” emphasizing the possibility of changing perspective to find a way out.

Born in Moscow in 1955, Irina Eldarova explores her own history through her series of paintings Girls Prefer Oilmen (2013-2023). Originally from Russia, her move to Azerbaijan marks a pivotal point in her life. Her art reflects the dialogue between cultures, telling an imaginary love story between an idealized Caspian Sea oil field worker of the 1950s and the famous Marilyn Monroe, a symbol of the American dream at the time. Eldarova’s work emphasizes the importance of welcoming others with curiosity and respect, promoting a universal vision of mutual understanding and love.

“All it took was a quick visit to Baku to understand the cultural and artistic effervescence of this ancient country, where contemporary architecture dialogues with history, technology and industry make rapid accelerations, and art becomes the most faithful mirror of this forward-looking attitude,” explains Luca Beatrice, co-curator of the Pavilion.

“The three artists presented belong to different generations and use different expressive means and techniques. However, the selected works touch, in one way or another, on situations that intertwine reality and fantasy, in which individuals overcome alienation and achieve a sense of belonging within the space.” explains Amina Melikova, co-curator of the Pavilion.


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