The exhibition displays about 300 exhibits of the Kyzyl Tractor Kazakh art collective: paintings, drawings, monumental sculptural works, spatial objects, installations, archival photos and video performances. On the day of the opening day, October 14, Kyzyl Tractor showed one of its famous performances - “Purification”.
It should be noted that the participants of Kyzyl Tractor, who have been actively working on the art scene of Kazakhstan since the beginning of the 90s, are the founders of the trans avant-garde movement. The group was founded by teacher and follower of the spatial-structural composition school Vitaly Simakov. During its existence, the group has changed several names - “CaA group”, “Shymkent - Transavangard”, “C Structural school”. In 1995, at the suggestion of Moldakul Narymbetov, the name “Kyzyl Tractor” began to be called, which, according to the author, was supposed to go round the whole world. Members of the collective, despite the independent creative path of each of them, are often combined, as in this exhibition “Thinking Collections: Telling Tales”. In turn, the exhibition examines the individual creativity of each artist in different periods, creating cross connections and a new context for their works.
Kyzyl Tractor is known for its rethinking and the use of nomadic, Sufi, and shamanistic philosophies, which in the practices of the group are closely intertwined with the social and political changes taking place in the region. Constant nomadic movement, a common narrative of the 1990s, is present in most of Kyzyl Tractor’s performances, sacred materials such as wood, wool, felt, and other textiles found in the steppes of Kazakhstan are frequently used, along with instruments like the shan-kobyz, dombra, and drums.
The central place in the exhibition is occupied by the paintings of M. Narymbetov - an artist, a poet, a philosopher and a key figure of the Kyzyl Tractor collective. The works of M. Narymbetov for the exhibition were provided by the Eurasian Cultural Alliance, and hundreds of other exhibits were collected from the workshops of artists themselves, museum and private collections in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.
The name of the exhibition “Thinking Collections: Telling Tales” refers to the thesis of the exhibition curator Lisa Ahmadi, who calls the artist the first collector outside the art market, which is also the main concept of the Asia Contemporary Art Week 2018.
The Asia Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) is a dynamic educational and curatorial platform that brings together leading New York and Asia-based art institutions, museums and galleries to present the largest showcase of cutting-edge exhibitions, innovative projects, provocative dialogues on current topics, and networking opportunities. Please see acaw.info for more information.
Focus Kazakhstan (www.focus-kazakhstan.com) is implemented by the National Museum of Kazakhstan in association with the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan within the framework of the program Rukhani Zhangyru. The curator of Focus Kazakhstan is Roza Abenova, Head of Centre of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan.