Yarat presents new group show ‘Crumbling down, up and up we climb’

Yarat Contemporary Art Space presents a new group show Crumbling down, up and up we climb.

The exhibition explores attitudes towards cultural histories and monumentality as well as the constant human condition of entropy and re-awakening. Through works by Reza Aramesh, Vajiko Chachkhiani, Jan Fabre, Goshka Macuga and Stephen G. Rhodes, it draws upon the ambivalent ambition to move forward while continuously struggling with loss and forgetfulness.

Vajiko Chachkhiani’s But Ah, My Foes, And Oh, My Friends (I), (2016) – a candle burning at both ends – opens the show in conversation with his film Winter which was not there (2017). A middle-aged man from the Caucasus, driving with his dog through picturesque Georgian landscape, drags an incongruous Socialist monument behind his truck. The seemingly ordinary road trip thereby signifies the loss of history carried by the generation who lived it. The narrative of inevitable loss is strengthened by the apocalyptic installation of Stephen G. Rhodes Willkommen Im Vile Assumption Haven: Or The Private Propertylessness and Pals’ (2017). The work highlights the catastrophic consequences of refusal to acknowledge the environmental and economic collapse facing our generation, specifically drawing on both recent and historical experience of New Orleans.

In the next room, two tables from series Before the Beginning and After the End, (2016) by Goshka Macuga present scrolls of drawings made by robots (developed by Patrick Tresset). Archiving the progress of civilization, they present a journey through creative and destructive processes of humanity. Humanity’s Awakening and Destructive Nature of Humankind carry both local and universal historical and artistic artifacts from pre-historic arrowheads to contemporary sculpture. The installation suggests technological advancement through robotics as the next step in creation of knowledge and cultural production. Opposed to robotic drawings is the monumental hand drawn canvas L’heure Bleu (1987), by Jan Fabre, symbolizing the mystical hour when the animals of the night fall asleep and the animals of the day awaken. Emphasizing the regenerative power of nature the work evokes the continuous cycle of rebirth both as a natural and creative process.

Caught between radical technologies, overpowering nature and uncontrollable socio-political turbulence humanity finds itself once again in a precarious position. The larger than life sculptures by Reza Aramesh Site of the Fall- study of the renaissance garden (2014 – 2016) herald the rise of a new hero- a victim rather than conqueror, bringing to memory the destruction of monuments of the old. Juxtaposing five artistic positions as different proposals for a way forward, this exhibition acts as a verse on humanity faced with its own limitations, like a candle burning at both ends.

This exhibition is curated by Suad Garayeva-Maleki and Björn Geldhof.

YARAT is an artist-founded, not-for-profit art organization 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.