Heydar Aliyev Center

The form of the building of this artistic centre is based on the signature of the president of the country. The architectural design looks totally different from every possible angle and the overall effect is highly futuristic and very overwhelming.

The most distinct features are the fluidity of form and ambience of the space created.

The content of permanent exhibitions is dedicated to glorification of the achievements of the dictatorship as well as evidencing the historical and cultural heritage of the nation.  This is also supported by a number of displays by internationally renounced artists, including to my surprise, Tony Cragg and Anish Kapoor.  I would have never dreamt to think that both artists would have knowingly agreed to exhibit their work at the ‘cathedral’ of totalitarianism.

The key exhibitions also include a collection of cars owned by President Aliyev, a timeline of his family in power and a display of a range of memorabilia of personal and national significance.

I must admit that I felt quite guilty to enter this building and support the ambiguous ethos, purpose and function of this questionable monument. However, my curiosity was stronger and, on reflection, the exhibitions were very well curated and presented.

Overall, the main element of my learning could be summarised by the following thoughts:

The central principle of abstract art and non-figurative representations is the refusal to imitate visible reality in the process of creation. Instead of copying nature and recreating the surrounding world, the toolset of artistic creativity, such as composition, colour, texture, line and form themselves become the object of art, main interest and the subject matter.  Furthermore, the idea of the form replaces the subject.

All of work, which I have produced so far, consists of a bizarre conglomerate of abstract elements and those, which are somehow recognisable.  I am definitively interested in ambiguity through the creation of non-representational compositions and supporting their meaning and visual communication with readable components and fragments.  This combination allows me to create both a new space and new understanding.

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