Almaty, in the distant steppe of Central Asia shared by humans and apple orchards.
This emblematic city is the first capital of Kazakhstan; artists here are nourished by the rich and diverse history of nomadic tribes, numerous ethnic groups, languages, and religions. It is a place that has been through many upheavals in its recent past and gave birth to independence following a brief period of Perestroika and the breakup of the Soviet Union. These are all quite exceptional circumstances which produced atypical artistic forms, innovative attitudes, and actions born of an unceasing quest for identity: that of individuals, of communities but also, more generally, of the entire country and its social and economic status. The artists bear witness to this evolution and evoke the complexities of the transition spawned by a system that cannot quite exorcise its old demons; but they also reveal a society based on hyper-consumerism and on apparent wealth.
The present exhibition, proposed by Apollonia as part of the e.city – Almaty/Kazakhstan project and with the active and enthusiastic involvement of the Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCS), reveals all of these quite significant aspects of current creativity in Kazakhstan.
Several generations of artists, inspired by the same spirit of uncompromising story-telling, present a blunt reality sometimes with the aid of legends and often with irony and dark humor – a genuine and captivating world quite unknown elsewhere and revealed here for the first time to the French public through the works displayed in the halls of the MAMCS.
The exhibition was launched within e.city – Almaty/Kazakhstan project by Eurasian Cultural Alliance (Kazakhstan) and Apollonia (France). The project was carried out with the support of Almaty Akimat and Strasbourg Municipality.