An exhibition of young Kazakhstani artists, On Love and Other Teachers, brings together the works of sixteen Kazakhstani artists, all under the age of 35, whose artistic practices span across diverse media such as video, performance, painting, installation, and graffiti. The exhibition's central themes revolve around the concept of love, including expressions of passion, desire, nostalgia, and empathy, as well as more personal narratives connecting the artists' unique experiences to those of the viewing public. Ultimately, On Love and Other Teachers seeks to translate an individual's experience of love, a "universal" human emotion, to the shared collective consciousness and urban condition.
The exhibition's title is borrowed from a film by exhibiting artist Ada Yu. Her work incorporates photography, choreography, and installation.
Syrlybek Bekbotayev's installation is calling attention to the political and social realities of those who inhabit these areas, their families and loved ones. Aigerim Mazhitkhankyzy's installation is comprised of symbols connected to archaic tribes that the artist re-contextualized as modern road signs. The installations by Alexandra Ali, Suinbike Suleimenova, and Ainur Kozhabayeva transform a part of the garage into a surreal and romantic space. The use of neon light and color creates an almost futuristic aesthetic, psychologically interacts with viewers and seduces them.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, a radical shift took place in the Kazakh art scene. Some practices sustained the conceptualist line considering their own position as part of a Central Asian narrative, while a younger generation searched for a new language. These artists raised questions on post-colonial Central Asia, which found itself in-between the revival of national and ethnic imagery and forced processes of identity construction. Playing with provocation, humor, irony, and romanticism artists explored the contradictory moments within the rhetoric of authenticity, addressing national independence, recent history, and social identity.
Since 1991, like other CIS countries, Kazakhstan went through various socio-economic shifts radically changing its cultural fabric. An emerging generation of artists, growing up during the booming 2000s, did not experience the nationalistic euphoria of the 1990s and do not romanticize their country's past or heritage. They are the new city kids, aware of global networks and social media, resisting confinement and societal designations around them. Their concerns are much more individual and their works draw both from illusions and disillusionments, hope and disappointments of life entrapped within the city...