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Transoxiana Dreams

Almagul Menlibayeva

Andakulova Gallery


ink jet on archival paper 1/3

71 - 107cm


This photograph is from a series centred around a mythological narrative staged in the vast landscape of the artist’s native Kazakhstan ravaged by 60 years of Soviet occupation. The ancient region of Transoxiana in today’s southwestern Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan is a former homeland of the nomadic tribes of Persia and Turan and for centuries, was an important trade region along the Northern Silk Road with flourishing civilizations and fertile plains. Today, Transoxiana lies bare and barren. In Menlibayeva’s fantastical narrative, strange and seductive female Centaurs appear as a mirage in the hostile desert. Derived from Greeks legends about the nomads of the Transoxianian Steppes, these hybrid creatures are both savage and magical remnants of a time now passed.

Almagul Menlibayeva was born in 1969 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She lives and works in Kazakhstan and Berlin and holds an MFA from the Art & Theatre University of Almaty (1992). Her work has been exhibited at the Grand Palais, Paris (2016–2017); 56th Venice Biennial (2015); MoMA PS1, New York (2013); 18th Sidney Biennale (2012); ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Germany (2012); Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (2012); Sharjah Biennial 10 (2011); M HKA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, Belgium (2010); Queens Museum, New York (2009) and Stenersen Museum, Oslo (2009). Menlibayeva’s videos have been shown at many international film festivals, including the Rotterdam Film Festival (2011); 22nd São Paulo International Short Film Festival (2011) and INVIDEO 2010, Milan (2010).

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