A nation is known, recognized and distinguished among the world nations by certain characteristic features. The highest and the greatest of these features is culture.


Painting Museum hosts "Baku Speaking: 1900-1940s" exhibition

YARAT Contemporary Art Space presents "Baku Speaking: 1900s-1940s", an exhibition held in the Museum of Azerbaijani Painting of the XX-XXI Centuries.

"Baku Speaking: 1900s-1940s" is a multidisciplinary museum exhibition that brings to light paintings and graphic works from the beginning of the twentieth century up to The Second World War. Literary works, archive chronicles and documents that reflect the attitudes of the time are also featured. The 1900s to 1940s are remembered as a politically, culturally, and socio-economically rich epoch in the history of Azerbaijan. The tense political environment of Azerbaijan, with its complex geo-political position, was a main influence in all areas of society. Added to socio-political processes that had begun at the dawn of the century, the socialist ideology of the Soviet regime was introduced around the 1920s, all the while secretly fighting against etatism, national democratic and panturkist sympathies. Amid these events, the fine arts in the country arguably underwent their most critical and decisive period resulting in changes to forms and themes and the emergence of new genres. Societal changes reverberated in literature with the publishing of various poems, plays and articles. The decorative arts that existed before the twentieth century were enriched with the traditions of the realist school of thought. With the education brought by the Russian school of art after the establishment of the Soviet regime, Azerbaijani artists moved from a flat to a more voluminous representation. As they acquired new methods of self-expression, the themes the artists addressed changed as well. Transitioning from decorative to documentary and narrative art, the works of the new century bear a historical significance. Themes of national identity and national belonging are represented and tackled satirically, such as the stalled development of society and lack of education. The issue of women’s freedom became a significant topic touched upon in the fine arts and literature, along with poetry and articles carrying nationalistic sentiments.

"Baku Speaking: 1900s-1940s" acts as a voice of its time, exposing the perceptions of art in the political, social, cultural, educational and literary spheres.

The artists presented in the exhibition are: Ismayil Akhundov, Azim Azimzade, Latif Feyzullayev, Mikhail Gerasimov, Hasan Hagverdiyev, Ali bey Huseynzade, Geysar Kashiyeva, Bahruz Kangarli, Rustam Mustafayev, Ali Rasim Mukhtarov, Adil Gaziyev, Alakbar Rzaguliyev, Ogtay Sadigzada, Salam Salamzade, Sadig Sharifzada, Taghi Taghiyev, Gazanfar Khaligov, Kamil Khanlarov, and poet(esse)s Mikail Rafili, Jafar Jabbarli, Ahmad Javad, Seyid Huseyn Sadig, Umgulsum Sadigzada, Huseyn Javid, Mikayil Mushvig, Samed Mansur, tell of a complex, changing, yet a very bright epoch through their works.

The exhibition is composed of paintings and graphic works belonging to the foundations of Azerbaijan National Museum of Art, Azerbaijan State Theatre Museum, Azerbaijan National Library and Azerbaijan Museum of Independence, as well as archive documents and manuscripts protected by the National Archives of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

"Baku Speaking: 1900s-1940s" will be accompanied by the opening of Villa Petrolia, an installation placed in front of the Museum of Azerbaijani Painting of the XX-XXI Centuries, which was gifted to YARAT Contemporary Art Space by Goethe Zentrum (Azerbaijan) and created by the artist Marco Montiel-Soto (Berlin, Germany). Villa Petrolia is a result of the author’s artistic research and is named after a famous mansion in Baku. The installation consists of a tower built during the Baku Oil Boom and shows posters and videos collected by the artist to pay respect to the modern oil realities of Baku.

Curation: Suad Garayeva-Maleki and Farah Alakbarli
Research: Zahra Mammadova 


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