photography, video installation,digital art

Almagul  Menlibayeva

CONTEMPORARY FINE ART CENTRAL ASIA / KAZAKHSTAN​​

American-Eurasian art advisors Llc.

Performance Eternal Bride by Almagul Menlibayeva in Almaty, Kazakhstan, 2002.


Проект Вечная Невеста родился после визита моей подруги, она грустно вздохнула: «Я хочу продать свое свадебное платье, как жалко что я его не могу одеть второй раз..». В солидарность с ней, не задумываясь, я выкупила это платье и решила одеть его еще и еще раз.

  Процесс переживания себя в перформансе стал переосмыслением условностей и глубокого табуирования меня как части того общества, которое меня формировало.    Мне было не легко, я волновалась... Какой-то прохожий крикнул мне вслед: «Самоубийца!». На все проекции участников я соглашалась, формируя характер места в котором я живу.

 В конце дня перформанса наконец-то появился герой у Вечной Невесты, но счастливый случай подарил его блаженным бездомным, побирающимся у Зеленого Базара на улице Шелковый Путь на Алмате 2.
  В тот вечер после перформанса я была уже другой.
  Этот опыт дал мне образ Пери,  как нового инструмента в руках у художника. Я поняла, что женский образ волшебной Пери в тюрских сказках с усилением Авраамических верований стал негативным в оценке Тенгрианского и Шаманского фольклера. Пери стали толковаться злыми и опасными для людей. Сила женщины умалялась. Ее поэтическая психомагия осуждалась. Вместе с тем общество все больше боялось смерти и собственной конечности и создавало невозможные правила, в надежде спасти себя.

  Пример похожий через временной анализ до периода аврамиических времен одной древней тюркской легенды об Музыканте Шамане Коркыт Ата, он стал бессмертным через силу искусства музыки на инструменте Кобыз, но в период  усиления аврамиических верований в Центральной Азии и Сибири,  Шаман с Кобызом играя умирает от укуса змеи. В этом контексте художник рассматривает формирование мифологии как идеологии. Она хрупка и подвижна между рассказчиком и зрителем.

Аlmagul Menlibayeva© 

Tokamak, 2016, 15 min, 4K

9 channel video installation, surround sound,
Sound artist G. Popov (OMFO)
Courtesy American- Eurasian Art Advisors LLC.



Almagul Menlibayeva
Exodus, 2009, (excerpt)
High definition video
Single channel;

Sound artist G. Popov (OMFO)

Courtesy AEAALLC.

In the film Exodus the artist Almagul Menlibyaeva 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.

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.

Menlibayeva transmutes these mythological and historical accounts by assigning the traditionally
male dominated roles to her women and their various engagements as Goddess/Priestess/Peri.

Almagul Menlibayeva
Eternal Bride, 2002 (excerpt)
Digital video
Single channel
Sound artist G. Popov (OMFO)
11:22 min

Courtesy American Eurasian Art Advisors LLC.

Almagul Menlibayeva
Apa, 2003
Digital video
Single channel
Sound artist G. Popov (OMFO)
4:37min

Courtesy American Eurasian Art Advisors LLC.

for full preview video links of the video works please contact: almagul2@gmail.com

Almagul Menlibayeva
Transoxiana Dreams, 2011, (videostill)
High definition video
Single channel;

Sound artist G. Popov (OMFO)

Courtesy American- Eurasian Art Advisors LLC.

In the film Kissing Totems, a series of surrealist actions and unlikely encounters take place on the territory of a deserted factory from the Soviet era. This industrial ruin of the communist past becomes a stage for birds, totems, andperiswho are inscribed in a shifting dream-narrative. Invoking confounding feelings of unease and curiosity, the artist lets us see the film through a little girl’s eyes, who observes the uncanny events with a contemplative detachment. As she traverses symbols from the communist past — cast by the camera from the factory’s industrial materialism — she encounters mythological beings from her country’s ancestral tales. Surprisingly enough, peris and totems seem to perfectly cohabit with the constructivist ironwork of the place, while the girl appears very much at ease with both symbolic systems. Through the fantasized gaze of the girl, the post-communist "non-lieu" in the Kazakh steppe becomes but another totemic myth, which is being appropriated by the newly revived beliefs and ideologies.

Deeply connected with her native Central Asia, Almagul Menlibayeva’s work attempts to test the permeability of contemporary art to some traditional practices, ideas, and imagery. Often described as punk-shamanism, Menlibayeva’s videos are embedded in theatricality that leads them through a complex set of references — from tribal symbolism to images of the communist industrial past.

Аlmagul Menlibayeva© 

 Перформанс Апа  строит диалог между индивидуальным и сакральными архетипами неалфавитного знания, которые становятся недоступны и потеряны с изчезновением устного наследия.

   Символ Белого (Ак перевод с Казахского) и практика переживания его полной свободы выстроились в видео перформансе Апа.

 Начальная идея "Белого" была реализована в живописной практике раннего периода в картине Белое Выходит Замуж  (1992, 81х112 см). Период ранних 90-х где было довольно тесное взаимодействия с молодой казахстанской андеграундной группой Зеленый Треугольники парнером  Сергеем Масловым. 

    Вторая работа к теме была реализована через другие медиа как перформанс и видео Вечная Невеста, 2002.

 Этот перформанс является реконструктом из культа наследия Поклонение Предкам, Суфийских Практик, поисков реконструкции идентичности, деколонизация гендера.

Молодые шаманки произносят Апа ( синоним Проматерь с Казахского языка)


Almagul Menlibayeva
Milk for Lambs, 2010, (excerpt)
High definition video
Single channel,
12:10

Sound artist G. Popov (OMFO)
Courtesy American Eurasian Art Advisors LLC.

astana, 2016, 15 min, 4K

3 channel video installation, surround sound,
Sound artist G. Popov (OMFO)
Courtesy American- Eurasian Art Advisors LLC.




“When I look at the Steppe, it reminds me of my body, dry and in some places hairy...When I look at the round yurts and tables, they remind me of my breasts.” 
(lyrics, Milk for Lambs, Menlibayeva).


The people of the Kazakhstan steppe live suspended between modern times and their local traditions. Almagul Menlibayeva accompanies the Kazakhstanis during the festivities in honor of Tengri, the god of heaven, and his wife Umai, the goddess of fertile ground. With alternating pictures in black and white and in color, of the past and of the present, Menlibayeva tells us about the rituals that accompany the festivities and that illustrate the eternal cycle of nature - birth, life, and death. At the forefront of the image are the women who seem to coax fertility from the barren steppe by wearing colorful dresses, laying on rich meals and using their female bodily attributes in order to feed their children and their men.
Menlibayeva, a representative of post-Soviet contemporary art in Central Asia, re-discovers in her pictures and performances the customs and traditions of her native country. At the center of attention of her work are the Kazakhstani women and their identity. Until recently, Central Asia was predominantly communist and the ideal of the strong and disciplined female worker was used by communist politics to exploit women. In line with the rest of society, since the end of communism, the image of women has toо 
undergone a transformation. In her pictures, Menlibayeva re-tells the search for a personal path through tradition and the modern world.

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.

n 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.

Video installation Transformation interacts with historical architectural styles of different eras and ideologies. In the space of the monument historic Beaux-Arts architecture combined with Classical and Art Nоvаue the Soviet architecture veined in the iron heart of the nuclear landscapes of the test fields in the film Kurchatov 22 (8-channel video installation, 2013-2016),  the new era of the futuristic architecture in the movie Tokamak (8-channel video installation, 2016) with the work of Astana (3 channel video installation) installed on the ceiling of the Beaux-Arts architecture of Salon d'Honneur. The witness of the past and the unresting futurists together with the viewers are having an opportunity to have a unique experience of the space of video installations as "mental architectural video sculptures".

Almagul Menlibayeva

SteppenBaroque, 2002, (excerpt)

Video, 9 min

Sound artist G.Popov (OMFO)

Courtesy American Eurasian Art Advisors LLC.

Almagul Menlibyaeva©

Performance by Saltanat Tashimova and Sayan Tezekbayeva

THE PAGE  UNDER THE CONSTRUCTION

Filmography


Eternal Bride, 2002, digital video, Sound OMFO, Single channel, 11:22 min., Production Kazakhstan, Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

Apa, 2003digital video, Sound OMFO, Single channel, 4:37 min., Production Kazakhstan, Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

Steppen Baroque, 2003, Digital video, Sound OMFO,  Single channel, 11 min., Production Kazakhstan, Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

Jihad, 2004, Digital video, Sound OMFO, Single channel, 4:52 min. Country of Production: Kazakhstan, Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

I will never forget this, 2005, Digital video, Sound OMFO, Single channel,06:16 min., Production Kazakhstan, Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

Appleblossom,2006, Digital video, Sound OMFO Single channel, 07:30 min., Production Kazakhstan, Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

As the Oil Burns, 2007, Digital video, Sound OMFO, Single channel, 12:26 min., Production Kazakhstan, Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

Headcharge, 2007, Digital video, Sound OMFO, Single channel, 12:22 min., Production: Kazakhstan, Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

Kurban, 2009, HD video, Sound OMFO, Three channel, 11:35 min., Production Kazakhstan, Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

Exodus, 2009, HD video, Single channel, 11: 21min., Country of Production: Kazakhstan, Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

Queens, 2009, HD video, Sound OMFO, Single channel, 17 min., Country of Production: USA, Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

Butterflies of Aisha Bibi, 2010,HD video, Sound OMFO, Single channel, 10 min., Production Kazakhstan, Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

Milk for Lambs, 2010, HD video, Sound OMFO, Single channel, 11 minutes, Production Kazakhstan, Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC
Ride the Caspian, 2011, HD video, Sound OMFO, Double channel, surround sound, 11:46 min., in collaboration with Bahar Behbahani

Transoxiana Dreams, 2011, High define. video, Sound OMFO, Single channel, 23 min.,Production Kazakhstan, Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC

Kurchatov 22, 2012, HD video,Sound OMFO, Five channel video installation with surround sound, 29 min.,Kazakhstan, Courtesy American-Eurasian Art Advisors LLC


Almagul Menlibayeva
Kissing Totems, 2008 (excerpt)
High definition video
Double channel video installation
9 minutes
Sound artist G.Popov (OMFO)

Courtesy American Eurasian Art Advisors LLC.