Muzykstan, Central Asian art at Venice Biennial

June 2007 -

For the second time, the Venice Biennial (10 June - 21 November 2007) will have a pavilion with work by five visual artists from five Central Asian countries. The first presentation in 2005, compiled by Russian curator Victor Misiano, proved an enormous success. The work on display was made by artists from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Frieze, a leading British art magazine, was enthusiastic.


Still uit Pustotsvet van Jamshed Kholikov

The presentation in Venice led to various other expositions, including in Poland, Italy and the United States. The work on display in 2005 was made by a group of artists called neo-nomads who grew up in the Soviet era and who are primarily considered pioneers of contemporary art in Central Asia. This year's presentation shows work by artists from five countries: Turkmenistan and Tajikistan are first-time participants. The exposition was compiled by a team of three curators directed by Yuliya Sorokina from Kazakhstan. A new, young generation of artists shows work primarily reflecting the cross-over between new media and contemporary music, in which the laptop often plays an important part.

The pavilion for the five Central Asian countries has been christened Muzykstan. Not only does the name whisper the names of the participating countries, but it also has everything to do with the important position held by music in this region's culture. The work, which often comprises performances, video art and machinery, reflects the artists' search for a link between popular music, folk music, rock, dance and contemporary art. Presentations of this type do not change the fact that traditional art is an important source of inspiration for these artists, who place social and historical cultural backgrounds in a new context. In addition to the main exposition, the pavilion boasts a media library of DVDs with music, film and performances. Visitors can view the work of their choice on portable DVD players.

Hivos contributed to the funding of the Muzykstan pavilion.