Almagul Menlibayeva "Kurban"

Priska C. Juschka Fine Art

poster for Almagul Menlibayeva "Kurban"

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The artist Almagul Menlibayeva returns to the Steppes of her native Kazakhstan, where she conceives, stages and films mythological narratives, alluring her audience to partake in this visual journey.

Her video Kurban (sacrifice/victim) unfolds like a modern day Iliad. Within the ruins of the abandoned collective farms – once constructed by the deported people of the former Soviet Union, displaced by the government and forced to work in the gulags of Kazakhstan – a seemingly ancient world emerges. Women stand motionless and elongated on ladders, wrapped in shroud-like cloth resembling ancient statues. The architecture, reminiscent of the Greek Parthenon, provides the stage of a surreal world where only these ‘Goddesses of the Steppes’ remain. Expectant men watch from afar as young women in contemporary dress approach carrying a bound black sacrificial ram. As the ram is being dismembered, a child held by one of the mute and detached ‘living columns’ starts crying while the men are wailing. The episode leaps to the portrayal of a young shrouded woman with Shamanistic lamb sculls adorning her temples...

In a similar cryptic way, Menlibayeva’s video Exodus directs the viewer into present day Kazakhstan, where an equally strange and powerful tale unravels. While local men and women are in the process of packing up their Yurtas (nomadic tents) with the obvious intention to move on, a young girl watches, captivated and immobile, subsequently appearing to be left behind – synonymously invoking the experience of global uprooting. As an interlude and a visual bow to Kurban, two young women thrash their hair, symbolically morphing into birdlike creatures flapping their wings.



from February 26, 2009 to April 11, 2009

Opening Reception on 2009-02-26 from 18:00 to 21:00

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