Curated by Alistair Hicks, the Azerbaijani artist presents a new body that comment on her rapidly modernising country’s forgotten and marginal corners that uses art as an outlet to give a feeling of stability to co-exist in this unprecedented environment. Art gives no boundaries and opens to any communicational variations for the artist.
The concept of space is closely investigated through the lens of the artist. As Mahmudova explains, “we exist within space, we co-exist in parallel, and space exists within us.” Space can be a place where one physically or spiritually exists, creating the concept of one’s reality and illusions. Marc Augé’s concept of non-places explores the idea of transition or the liminal, as a crossroads of human relations to what humans perceive but only partially and incoherently.Mahmudova explores the juxtaposition of private and public, places and non-places, spaces and non-spaces. Marc Augé’s concept of ‘non-places’ investigates the idea of transition, non-spaces discourage ‘settling in’ contrasting with the notion of ‘home’ and identity, where a paradox exists. Although that space can be equally alienating to anyone, one can feel ‘comfortable’ and ‘relational’.
By shedding light on liminality, or threshold crossing, Mahmudova explores spaces of transition and disorientation. Initially coined by Arnold Van Gennep, The Rites of Passage (1909), the notion that an individual’s life comprises of a series of transitions into three stages, separation, transition and return, where liminality is transition. Liminality has both spatial and temporal dimensions and can be applied to various subjects: individuals, communities, societies, and entire civilisations. On the contrary, nature has a sense of stability, timeless and open space, where Mahmudova regularly returns to as a source of inspiration.
“It’s the artist and the medium. The never-ending relationship between me and the other resembles perpetual conversation. It takes full involvement from both sides. The act itself is the purest form of creation. This, in turn, gives you a unique opportunity to engage in authentic and unguarded communication with unfolding perspectives. It connects and unites us in the moment of now, giving versatile, unpredictable and beautiful outcomes” says Aida Mahmudova.
Aida Mahmudova is an Azerbaijani artist and founder of YARAT Contemporary Art Space in Baku. She holds a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. Her work has been exhibited internationally and uses a variety of techniques and media. Despite a varied practice, the artist’s main focus remains her exploration of material as a tool for experimenting with and navigating the world she inhabits.
Early on in her work, Mahmudova developed a curiosity towards material, which manifested itself through experimentation with light, colour and matter in her landscapes and semi-abstract canvases. As her paintings became increasingly more layered the artist expanded her practice into the three dimensional, applying the same approach to sculpture and creating environments both emotive and intense. The artist continually mixes layer upon layers of widely diverse material, such as paper, clay, paint, cement, stone, and, more recently, epoxy resin and untreated marble. These materials take on an almost human quality for the artist as she explores the ways in which they connect, interact and affect one another. Deeply intuitive, the artist uses these experiments as tools for her own material growth and emotional healing.
Alistair Hicks, former Senior Curator at Deutsche Bank, is the author of the Global Art Compass (Thames and Hudson). He is the curator of Doublethink: Doublevision, an exhibition at the Pera Museum in Istanbul in 2017 that shows artists from around the world reassessing the way we think. Much of his work is aimed at trying to cut through the art politics and artspeak to show how rich and diverse our times are. While at Deutsche Bank his main job was selecting and presenting art to purchase committees. He created the Man Booker Library while he was art advisor to Man Group. Currently he is on the art advisory board of Cliveden Advisory, the Advisory Committee of Unseen Art Fair (Amsterdam) , on the Global Art Advisory Committee of Hana Bank Global HR Center Art Collection and is a contributor and advisor to Russian Art Focus. He advises private clients. Hicks has been an art critic for such diverse publications as The Spectator, The Times, The Financial Times, Apollo and Vogue.