Works of Pe­dro Gómez-Egaña to be show­cased

Azer News - - Country Guide - By La­man Is­may­ilova

YARAT Con­tem­po­rary Art Space will host a solo ex­hi­bi­tion from Colom­bian­born, Nor­way-based artist Pe­dro Gómez-Egaña on Novem­ber 10, 2018 – Fe­bru­ary 10, 2019.

Show­cas­ing a ma­jor new art­work as part of his on­go­ing "Ob­ser­va­tory" se­ries, Gómez-Egaña cre­ates a mul­ti­sen­sory, im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence, build­ing a large-scale pav­il­ion struc­ture within YARAT’s gallery walls.

In­spired by the Caspian re­gion, the ex­hi­bi­tion co­in­cides with YARAT’s M.A.P. fes­ti­val – a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary theatre and per­for­mance fes­ti­val tak­ing place across Baku.

In­ter­ested in rit­u­al­is­ing au­di­ences’ ex­pe­ri­ence of space, the pav­il­ion-like struc­ture re­moves the viewer from their fa­mil­iar sur­round­ings. Built as a space within a space, me­chan­i­cal com­po­nents inside the ob­ser­va­tory form in­de­pen­dent pod-like seg­ments where view­ers ex­pe­ri­ence a haunted, ever chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Unit­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic el­e­ments of the artist’s wider prac­tice - such as chore­og­ra­phy and the ma­nip­u­la­tion of light – Gomez-Egaña mod­u­lates the view­ers ex­pe­ri­ence of time and nar­ra­tive, whilst con­trol­ling nav­i­ga­tion through his pur­pose-built spa­ces.

The work takes in­spi­ra­tion from the Nor­we­gian ad­ven­turer Thor Hey­er­dahl’s widely con­tested hy­poth­e­sis The Search for Odin. Through Hey­er­dahl’s nu­mer­ous vis­its to Azer­bai­jan, he ob­served that the artis­tic style of rock carv­ings there re­sem­bled those pre­vi­ously found in Nor­way. He con­cluded that Azer­bai­jan was a site of ad­vanced civil­i­sa­tion, with Az­eri peo­ple mi­grat­ing north to Scan­di­navia; he there­fore hy­poth­e­sized that Vikings had their ori­gins in the an­cient Caspian re­gion. Ti­tled “Sleip­nir”, the ex­hi­bi­tion di­rectly ref­er­ences the eight-legged horse rid­den by Odin, a god in Norse mythol­ogy fea­tured in Hey­erdal’s the­o­ries, who trav­elled from Azer­bai­jan to Scan­di­navia.

For his in­stal­la­tion, GómezE­gaña also in­cor­po­rates a mu­si­cal sound el­e­ment, per­formed by singers who cre­ate a ghostly pres­ence within the space. Com­bin­ing tra­di­tional Nor­we­gian mu­sic with Az­eri folk mu­sic, the in­stal­la­tion re­flects upon Hey­er­dahl’s de­bunked the­ory. In­ter­ested in the his­tor­i­cal, and geopo­lit­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics of Azer­bai­jan, Gómez-Egaña says his works ‘take a crit­i­cal look at cur­rent and his­tor­i­cal tech­nolo­gies and ex­plore how they de­fine our ex­pe­ri­ence and un­der­stand­ing of time’.

Gómez-Egaña’s in­stal­la­tion will be pre­sented as part of YARAT’s M.A.P. fes­ti­val to be held in Baku on Novem­ber 6-11.

This ex­hi­bi­tion is cu­rated by Suad Garayeva Maleki Pe­dro Gómez-Egaña was born in Colom­bia and lives and works be­tween Copen­hagen, Den­mark and Ber­gen, Nor­way. Gómez-Egaña stud­ied mu­sic com­po­si­tion, per­for­mance, and vis­ual arts at Gold­smiths Col­lege, the Ber­gen Na­tional Academy of Arts, and com­pleted his doc­toral project in vis­ual arts at the Nor­we­gian Re­search Fel­low­ship Programme in 2012. Gómez-Egaña’s work has ex­hib­ited around the world in­clud­ing: the Is­tan­bul Bi­en­nial; Brus­sels Bi­en­nial; ICA, Lon­don; Kun­st­nernes Hus, Oslo; La Kun­sthalle, Mul­house; and Colom­bo­scope, Colombo amongst oth­ers.

Pe­dro Gómez-Egaña is cur­rently a pro­fes­sor and re­searcher at the Fac­ulty of Arts of Ber­gen Univer­sity, Nor­way.

YARAT is an artist-founded, not­for-profit art or­gan­i­sa­tion based in Baku, Azer­bai­jan, es­tab­lished by Aida Mah­mu­dova in 2011. YARAT (which means 'cre­ate' in Azer­bai­jani) is ded­i­cated to con­tem­po­rary art with a long-term com­mit­ment to cre­at­ing a hub for artis­tic prac­tice, re­search, think­ing and ed­u­ca­tion in the Cau­ca­sus, Cen­tral Asia and sur­round­ing re­gion.

It com­prises YARAT Art Cen­tre, ARTIM Project Space, YARAT Stu­dios, YAY Gallery and an ex­tended ed­u­ca­tional and pub­lic programme. YARAT Art Cen­tre, a 2000m² con­verted Soviet-era naval build­ing, opened in March 2015 and is the or­ga­ni­za­tion's main ex­hi­bi­tion space. The ex­hi­bi­tion programme fea­tures new com­mis­sions by artists re­spond­ing to the re­gion. It sup­ports and pro­vides ac­cess to artists from the re­gion, while en­gag­ing and in­tro­duc­ing es­tab­lished, in­ter­na­tional artists.

No­tably, YARAT hosts M.A.P., a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary per­for­mance fes­ti­val fea­tur­ing drama, dance, opera, and street and pup­pet per­for­mances. Founded in 2017, M.A.P. takes place an­nu­ally in ma­jor theatre venues across Baku dur­ing one week. The se­cond edi­tion is cu­rated by Kam­ran Shah­mar­dan, a theatre direc­tor and the founder of ‘Black and White Theatre Fes­ti­val’ in Ima­tra, Fin­land. En­ti­tled “Theatre with­out Bor­ders”, this year’s am­bi­tious programme in­cludes di­verse per­for­mances from theatre com­pa­nies across Italy, Switzer­land, Den­mark, Great Bri­tain, Ger­many, Es­to­nia, Russia, Iran and Ja­pan. Bring­ing a vi­brant at­mos­phere to the city, the fes­ti­val opens with “Aria”, a pro­duc­tion fea­tur­ing mu­sic, singing, cos­tume and dance by the Ital­ian col­lec­tive No Grav­ity. Other events in­clude a poem per­formed with ac­ro­bats by acclaimed Swiss direc­tor and chore­og­ra­pher Daniele Finzi Pasca, and a mod­ern ver­sion of Aus­trian com­poser Joseph Haydn’s opera “The Desert Is­land” by the Mari­in­sky Theatre, Russia.

Lo­ca­tion: YARAT Con­tem­po­rary Art Cen­tre, (Na­tional Flag Square), Bayil, AZ1003 Ex­hi­bi­tion opens: Tues­day through Sun­day, from 12:00 – 20:00 Ad­mis­sion is free.

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