The film is a mythological narrative placed and staged in the vast landscape of her native Kazakhstan ravaged by 60 years of Soviet occupation. She leads her audience to the brutally changed region of the Aral Sea where its indigenous people live in the Aralkum, the desert of a once thriving region now entirely devoid of water due to radical Soviet irrigation politics.
The region of Transoxiana (Greek for ‘across the Oxus’) in southwestern Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, once the eastern part of the Hellenistic regime under Alexander the Great and the former homeland of the nomadic tribes of Persia and Turan at the banks of the Oxus River, remained an important trade region along the Northern Silk Road with flourishing civilizations and fertile plains for many centuries. Afflicted by former Soviet policies and abandoned by commercial and cultural interests, today, Transoxiana lies bare and stripped in a surreal state of existence with discarded fishing fleets on dusty terrain, cleaved by metal scavengers while its inhabitants look on as the sea keeps receding into a far and unreachable distance of a seemingly better world.
In her latest video and accompanying photographs, Menlibayeva tells the tale of a young fisherman’s daughter who observes the dramatic changes to the landscape of the Aral region and its population through a child’s eyes in a dreamlike mélange of documentary and fantasy. Menlibayeva visually walks the viewer through a vacant landscape and a symbolic dream whereby the girl’s father searches for the remaining sea and new fishing grounds while encountering strange and seductive four-legged female creatures (Centaurs) on his way through the hostile desert. Drawing on the image of the Greek mythological figure of the Centaur, Menlibayeva creates alluring hybrid beings, both sexually charged and bizarre alike. According to the legend, when the ancient Greeks first encountered the nomads of the Transoxianian Steppes on their horses, they initially believed them to be mythological quadruped, part person part animal, fearing their savage and magical powers.
In Transoxiana Dreams, Menlibayeva, a pictorial sorceress herself, breeds an eccentric storyline and fantastical imagery extracted deeply from her own atavistic repertoire and leading visional through an existing, yet unimaginable landscape in a distant and hypnagogic world.
Short video excerpt.
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Transoxiana Dreams, 2011
HD video, sound, single channel, 23 minutes
Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC
damaged landscape, mixed with nomadic shamanesque revival through punk and surreal staged tableaux vivants
Transoxiana Dreams, a mixture of documentary and fairy tale, illustrates the dramatic environmental changes in the Aral region as seen through the eyes of a fisherman's young daughter. One day, her father leaves to look for the lake and new fishing grounds. On his way through the desert, he meets bizarre creatures, half horse, half human: a tribute to the nomadic past of his people.
List of the shows of Transoxiana Dreams
2017 When the Sea Looks Back, A Serpent`s Tale/ the Many Headed Hyndra#2, Nida Art Colony, Lithuania;
When The Sea Looks Back, A Serpent’s Tale/ The Many Headed Hyndra# 2, Berlin, Germany;
2016 KINO DER KUNST, Nurnberg museum, Nurnberg, Germany;
Heroine Mother, Contemporary Art by Post-Communist Women Rethinking Heroism, Momentum, Berlin, Germany;
2014 Transoxiana Dreams, Videozone, Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany;
2014 Update/ Post memory, curated by Susanne Altman at Motorenhalle, Dresden, Germany;
2014 Threads, curated by Mirijam Westen, Museum of Contemporary Art Arnhem,
2013 EXPO 1: New focuses on some of the most pressing environmental and sociopolitical
issues of the day. These concerns are described, examined, and addressed through
different modes, including exhibitions of artworks in gallery spaces, educational lectures,
interactive experiential environments, experiments in communal living, a prototype
garden for educational purposes, and a regular program of moving images.
2013 International Film Festival, Kino Der Kunst, Munich, Germany
2013 An Odd for the Wastelands and Gulags, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria;
2011 Les rêves perdus d'Aral, Galerie Albert Benamou, Paris, France;
Transoxiana Dreams, Priska C. Juschka Fine Art, New York, NY, USA;
Published on May 1, 2013
Interview (in German) with festival director Heinz Peter Schwerfel + impressions of the movies "Between The Waves" by Tejal Shah, "Cabaret Crusades" by Wael Shawky, "5000 Feet is the Best" by Omer Fast and "Transoxiana Dreams" by Almagul Menlibayeva. Shown at the festival "Cinema of Art" from 25.04.2013 to 28.04.2013 at Munich... read more in German:
Interviewmit Festival-Leiter Heinz Peter Schwerfel + Ausschnitte der Filme "Between The Waves" von Tejal Shah, "Cabaret Crusades" von Wael Shawky, "5000 Feet is the Best" von Omer Fast und "Transoxiana Dreams" von Almagul Menlibayeva. Gezeigt auf dem Festival "Kino der Kunst" vom 25.04.2013 bis 28.04.2013 in München.
Das ideale Festival für «Kunst+Film»: «Kino der Kunst» ist allein Filmen von bildenden Künstlern gewidmet. Was in Ausstellungen meist nur auf Monitoren läuft, kommt hier auf die große Leinwand -- und zeigt überdeutlich Stärken und Schwächen.
Einen ausführlichen Beitrag finden Sie bei "Kunst+Film":
http://kunstundfilm.de/2013/05/kino-d...Type your paragraph here.