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03.05.2019 - 06.06.2019

"Modest charm of simulacra" i Rashid Nurekeev

The artist Rashid Nurekeev stubbornly refuses to explain the semantic and figurative messages to the viewer, forcing us to independently interpret his artistic gestures and starting a tactical game of meanings with us.

Until recently, he fundamentally worked with the classical medium of painting, although he often felt cramped within the framework of one plane, and he made ironic objects that bore fragments of his pictorial searches. The algorithm of its work resembled a fixing camera. The artist simply chaotically sketched his thoughts and reflections and, having accumulated enough material, collage the thoughts-sketches on canvas or on an object. He combined the characteristic icons of the world mass consciousness with local cultural clichés, creating a conceptual assemblage of the “glocal”. These are - "Washbasin" (2005) with a nickel-plated faucet and a portrait of SpongeBob on the panel; "Kontramarka" (2005) - an object simulating a theater curbstone made of corrugated cardboard, painted by your favorite archetypal heroes. In his graphic "Series" (2012) Nurekeev investigated the facts of daily Kazakhstani life. His serial investigation resembled the sketches of a criminalist, reflecting the train of thought and their associative connection.


He did not refer to philosophical calculations and cultural contexts, but broadcast the stream of consciousness in line with the current situation here and now. He objectively recorded factual and material evidence - all objects that fell into the field of his investigation became eyewitnesses to actual incidents, forming a kind of "spontaneous realism". The artist without effort called the picturesque masters of the twentieth century as witnesses - from Baselitz to Rauschenberg, voicing the testimony in the Kazakh language, introducing it into the field of pictorial text.


... This was the case until recently, before the exhibition "Bones, Olives, Airplanes". Here a different quality of the artist's utterances appears.


Nurekeev first of all crosses the media border of painting. The body of the exhibition consists of assemblages, familiar to the artist, to which photography and video are unexpectedly added. The photo series "Remains and Aspiring Dogs" (2015-2018) presents deadly beautiful evidence of the frailty of physical bodies (actually bones). Oddly enough, they are not perceived as symbols of the transition from this light to that one, or as an object of desire of certain conventional "dogs". They are self-sufficient, objectified, abstracted and aestheticized. Bones are so laconic in their ultimate immanence that one would like to suspect the artist in deeply hidden meanings.


In the same way, many planes presented by the artist at the exhibition are read - in the form of models, photographs and even one video quote from an Alfred Hitchcock film. The planes here act again as signs ... of the planes themselves. The artist just likes them. Self-portrait with an airplane stuck in the eye to that illustration (predicate - "airplane / beam in the eye"). The artist even affiliates an airplane parked in a barn with his beloved (sacred?) Cow, whose plywood corral with sketches of the object and hay in a glass case is located in the hall around the corner. Rashid regrets that it was not possible to bring a real, live cow to the gallery. But, all allusions to the sacred cow are in vain, since here the cow is a symbol of the cow, and ultimately just her simulacrum. The text on the monitor inside the exposition "highlights", declares the simulation: "yes, it's a cow ...".  

"The sound of water" (2018) - a voluminous assemblage with bath accessories, brooms, hoses and other attributes of "washing hands", its multi-component nature also provokes games of meanings. I just want to heap high meanings, but there is a suspicion that all these are exactly those objects that produce the noise of water.


The culmination of the exhibition's immanent system of signs is undoubtedly olives. This is the most difficult semantic trap. Olives greet the viewer at the entrance to the exhibition space, forming a dialogue tunnel between two "iconostases" - triptychs: "Olive Oil" (2018) and "Olive Garden" (2018). The first triptych heretical presents the olive as a "particle of God", marked with a cruciform stigma of the bone-crushing apparatus (olives pressed into oil - thus, can simulate a concentrated divine substance for a consumer society). The second one, no less heretical, presents fragments of the artist's “life”, painfully choosing the ways of broadcasting his message (which simulates the process of choosing olives in a store). A nearby shopping cart with a pile of canned olives appears as a simulacrum of eternal divine truth. Here, following Baudrillard, he is tempted to quote Ecclesiastes: “The simulacrum is not at all that which hides the truth, it is the truth that hides the fact that it does not exist. The simulacrum is truth ”i. The bitter-spicy taste of this truth-simulacrum-olives was felt by Nurekeev's artists-colleagues at the opening of the exhibition, when these olives were eaten as a snack at a buffet table.


The artist modestly "keeps silent" what he actually wanted to say, and those guiding codings that are read by a sophisticated viewer familiar with the history of art, in fact, appear as traps ironically set by the author. The exhibition, as a quest-simulacrum, leads us through the nooks and crannies of our own consciousness. Leading someone to evangelical motives, someone to the postulates of pop art, reanimating the problems of consumerism society. The exhibition seems to me to be a new stage in the work of the artist Rashid Nurekeev. Let me conditionally call it "spontaneous conceptualism" (which is undoubtedly another simulacrum that replaces the true meaning of the message).




Julia Sorokina


May 2018

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Address: Al-Farabi 77/8,
Almaty, Kazakhstan, 050040
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Admission to exhibitions is free