Friday, 12 October 2018, 24:00 | midnight

#98: Almagul Menlibayeva

“My educational background is in the Soviet Russian avant-garde school of Futurism, which I combine with a nomadic aesthetic of post-Soviet, contemporary Kazakhstan – something that I have been exploring in recent years through my photographic and video work. I use specific ways of expression in modern and contemporary art as a vehicle to investigate my personal archaic atavism as a certain mystical anthropomorphism. In other words, I explore the nature of a specific Egregore, a shared cultural psychic experience, which manifests itself as a specific thought-form among the people(s) of the ancient, arid and dusty Steppes between the Caspian Sea, Baikonur and Altai in today’s Kazakhstan. In the Russian language, Archaic Atavism is personalized as a being, which points to and creates a different meaning. We are not just speaking about an idea or archaic element in the collective subconscious of a people, but about the embodiment of our archaic atavism which becomes an active entity, just like a creature itself. Our archaic atavism is not just internalized, but also externalized. It is as if he has been awakened by the post-Soviet experience of the indigenous Kazakh people, who are becoming their own after 80 years of Soviet domination and cultural genocide. Suddenly he (Archaic Atavism) became interested in enculturation and in behavioral modernity. He also began to have entertaining dialogues with the transnational circulation of ideas in contemporary art. For this dialogue, I have chosen the medium of video and photography and like to work with the notion of memory and reality. My archaic atavism is interested in my video explorations in the Steppes and in post- Soviet Asia. By editing raw data and combining documentary and staged footage, I become his voice, enabling a cultural exodus from long oblivion. My work raises metaphysical questions such as Who am I? and Where shall I go?; this (psychic) experience and perspective marks my artistic language.” Almagul Menlibayeva

We are very much looking forward to welcoming Almagul Menlibayeva showing a selection of her outstanding films:

2003, Soundscape by German Popov, 4:37 min
Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

2007, Soundscape by German Popov, 12:22 min
Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

2009, Soundscape by German Popov,11: 21min
Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

Transoxiana Dreams
2011, Soundscape by German Popov, 23:00 min
Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

Fire talks to me
2015, Composed by German Popov, 18:24 min
Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC


Almagul Menlibayeva (born 1969 in Almaty, Kazakhstan) is an award-winning contemporary artist who works mostly in multi-channel video, photography and mixed media installation. She lives and works in Germany and Kazakhstan. Her work has been featured internationally at the Sydney Biennale, Australia; the Venice Biennale; the Moscow Biennale, Russia; the Gangwon International Biennale, South Korea.

Her video installations and photography have been exhibited widely at venues such as Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium; Queens Museum, NY, USA; Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Ithaca, NY, USA; Stenersen Museum, Oslo, Norway; ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Germany; University of California, San Diego, CA, USA; Center of Contemporary Art, Zamok Ujazdowskie, Warsaw, Poland; Museum of Contemporary Art  Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland; Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City, Mexico; Kulturzentrum bei den Minoriten, Graz, Austria; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia.

Menlibayeva’s work addresses issues such as critical explorations of Soviet modernity; social, economic; and political transformations in post-Soviet Central Asia; and decolonial reimaginings of gender, environmental degradation, and Eurasian nomadic and indigenous cosmologies and mythologies. A winner of the Main Prize of Munich’s Kino der Kunst International Film Festival (2013), Menlibayeva was awarded the French Ministry of Culture’s Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2017.