Episode 1: Absheron / Azerbaijan
Project curator: Anna Smolak
Collaborating curators: Magdalena Kownacka, Sabina Shikhlinskaya
Participants: Elnur Babayev (AZ), Chingiz Babayev (AZ), Magdalena Kownacka (PL), Barbara Maroń (PL), Sabina Shikhlinskaya (AZ), Anna Smolak (PL), Magdalena Ziółkowska (PL) and guests.
“Re: public” is a series of events with the participation of art practitioners from Poland and Eastern Partnership countries which attempts to examine public space as a place of encounters, collective experience, and the space of expression, as well as different modes of its shaping and using in relation to the political transition in these countries.
Episode one: Absheron (Azerbaijan) brings to existence social space that provides venue for an artistic encounter of various generations of Polish and Azeri artists. The point of reference will be the practices of Labyrinth, an artistic group active in Azerbaijan since the 1980s, whose participants sought for experimental forms of artistic expression outside the institutional structures and urban environment. Making use of closed sanatoria and abandoned post-industrial areas, Labyrinth artists travelled in the 1990s across Absheron Peninsula, while their actions constituted not only a trace left in the landscape, but also a temporary form of living.
“Re: public – Absheron” starts with the idea of collective experiences and transfers them into new contexts and configurations. It proposes the joint movement of a group as a tool for learning and memorising, as well as a means for “momentary belonging.” In the course of a week-long stay at the Peninsula, artists and curators from Poland and Azerbaijan will reflect together on the mechanisms of shaping collective identities of generations who experienced political transition on its different stages and in various geographical conditions, as well as whether artistic strategies that turn towards emotional experience, memory and imagination can provide analternative for political-economic conditions of contemporary life.