On October 22-27, the capital city of the Republic of Uzbekistan hosted the VII Tashkent International Biennale of Contemporary Art, “Different Cultures, One World”, supported by the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan and the Tashkent city administration.
Authoritative Biennale jury was chaired by the President of City del Art, Dr. Jean-Yves Langlais (France). The jury panel comprised: Masut Fatkulin (Russia), Chair of the Executive Committee of the International Confederation of Artist Unions; Ertegin Salamzade, Doctor of Art History, Director of the Architecture and Art Institute of the National Academy of Sciences (Azerbaijan); Maria Tsantsanoglou, Director of Modern Art Museum (Greece); Thomas Elsen, art curator (Germany); Alexey Naumov, Rector of the Academy of Arts (Latvia); and Marinika Babanazarova, Director of the Savitsky State Art Museum.
On October 27, at the Central Exhibition Hall of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan, the results of the XII Tashkent International Biennale of Contemporary Art were announced.
Incentive prizes went to: Josephine Turalba (Philippines); Nick Sayers (UK); Inna Kostina (Azerbaijan); Yulia Alaghir (Uzbekistan); Pavel Voinitsky (Belarus); Binzyman Hamad (Saudi Arabia); Alexey Naumov (Latvia); Denizkhan Ozer (Turkey); Georgios Katsangelos (Greece) Lee Soyoung (Korea), the group of Mr. Khan (Korea, Taiwan); Greg Bannan (USA); Ma Zhun (China); Farhad Farzaliev, for «Yarat» (Azerbaijan); Ramal Kazimov (Azerbaijan); Norhuroz Kurbanov (Uzbekistan); Mauro Magrini (Italy); Lia Shvelidze and Mamuka Tsetskhladze (Georgia).
Diplomas of the International Confederation of Artist Unions “For original artistic solution” offered in the Biennale work were received by: Smail Bayaliev (Kazakhstan); “Dimensions the Invisible World” project with Gayane Umerova as curator (Uzbekistan); Anatoly Shelest (Israel); Maxim Vardanyan (France); and Noriko Yamamoto (Japan).
Awards “For the natural blend of Uzbekistan arts traditions and modern figurative language” went to: projects such as “Contemporary Art of Karakalpakstan”, “Jazz in Colours” by Damir Ruzybaev, and “Artists of Samarqand”; to Bayat Mukhtarov; Ibragim Valikhojaev; Babur Mukhammedov; Babur Ismailov; Lekim Ibragimov; Bahadir Jalalov; and Zelimkhan Saidjanov.
Special prizes of the Biennale were awarded to: Urich Lau Wai-Yuen (Singapore); Saodat Ismailova (Uzbekistan); and “Finding Us” Group (South Korea, Montenegro, Serbia, Spain, Egypt, Ethiopia, Denmark, Poland).
The Grand Prix of the exhibition went to Vyacheslav Useinov (Uzbekistan).
Biennale jury and its participants shared their impression of the exhibition, which is presented below.
Jean-Yves Langlais (France), Chair of the Jury Panel:
I think the title of the Biennale, “Different Cultures One World”, is not accidental. It got many foreign artists interested. The works by Uzbek artists rightfully deserve to be part of international exhibitions: they are creative, with unique individual signature in workmanship, which will certainly interest amateurs of art in other countries. Interpretation of established canons and traditions prevail in the works of Uzbek artists. I believe it would be worthwhile for international exhibitions to have artists from Uzbekistan participate, presenting works in Contemporary Art style. We look forward to their new ideas. Specific mention should be given to the original installation by V. Useinov, and video-art pieces by S. Jabbarov and T. Makacheva shown at the exhibition.
Thomas Elsen (Germany), Member of the Jury Panel:
I believe that the organizers of the Tashkent International Biennale, including its curator Kamola Akilova, have dove a very serious work preparing the event. The Tashkent Biennale is different from the European ones, which we normally see, say, in Venice or in great art fairs in Basel or Cologne. This is my first time in Tashkent and in Uzbekistan at large, so it was very interesting for me to come here. It is a very important and impressive experience for me to see how artists are working here and how exhibitions are conceived and presented. Mentality and religion is surely one thing that differs always from society to society and from country to country. Even within Europe, German artists have another mentality, for example, than British artists or Swiss artists. Maybe the differences are not so great, but they do exist.
The way of painting in Uzbekistan is very highly developed; there is a great culture of education for painters on the one hand, and on the other hand, its very traditional way of painting. My feeling is that Uzbek artist, even traditional artist are very curious to exchange, to discuss their work, to have the possibility to present it to artists of other nations. It is would be exciting to see what will come out in maybe 10, 20, 30 years. I grew up in Germany and for me it has always been more or less normal to see experimental forms of art. We all have to learn from each other to take the perspective, to understand why one is painting the way he does, I have to learn about painter’s tradition, his social frame, all his relations within his own country…
I think, projects like this biennale are a step forward to help us learn not only how painting looks like, but also know the way of thinking, the way of feeling, the way of tradition, and to have a dialogue with the artist… Step by step Uzbek artists will learn more about the European culture and the other way round. I have the impression that most of the Uzbek artists I have seen here do have a clear idea. They have a clear concept, a clear idea of certain way of painting and interpreting the world, and their own position. That’s really impressive. It’s difficult to focus on a certain country, because the spectrum of presented works here is so wide and large. The jury panel discussed very long and intensely all the works we saw here… We have looked on Uzbek artists with the same seriousness and clearness, and I think with a good result.
Roza Abenova (Kazakhstan), gallery dealer, exhibitor:
At the Tashkent International Biennale our “Aru-art” gallery presents an art-object, “Architectonics of Steppe”, by talented Kazakh artist Smail Bayaliev. In his work the author uses metal structure with untreated felt stretched over it. Recently, he has been interested in the mustang theme, which is associated with the nomadic past of the Kazakh people. Today the Tashkent International Biennale of Contemporary Art is the only one of this kind in the Central Asian region. It offers a broad-base forum for its different trends. I wish that the next Tashkent Biennale, along with modern and post-modern art, would give broader scope to Contemporary Art that is actively developing in different countries nowadays. Overall, the large-scale event has been perfectly organized, given that the Tashkent International Biennale is running for the seventh time.
Walid Jahin (Egypt), exhibitor:
This is my first time in Tashkent, and I am very impressed with art and culture of your country, your people. It was very interesting to meet students whose works are performed with great mastery, despite their young age. Many of them are very talented, and I can allow myself to say that, because I teach at the Fine Arts Academy in Egypt. I like the idea of your country hosting biennial visual arts festivals, and look forward to a photo-biennale next year.