Love Me, Love Me Not is an unprecedented exhibition of contemporary art from Azerbaijan and its neighbours, featuring recent work by 17 artists from Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkey, Russia, and Georgia. Produced and supported by YARAT, a not-for-profit contemporary art organisation based in Baku, and curated by Dina Nasser-Khadivi, the exhibition will be open to the public from 1st June until 24th November 2013 at Tesa 100, Arsenale Nord, at The 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia.
Artsists featured are Faig Ahmed (Azerbaijan), Rashad Alakbarov (Azerbaijan), Afruz Amighi (Iran), Kutluǧ Ataman (Turkey), Shoja Azari (Iran), Rashad Babayev (Azerbaijan), Mahmoud Bakhshi (Iran), Ali Banisadr (Iran), Ali Hasanov (Azerbaijan), Orkhan Huseynov (Azerbaijan), Sitara Ibrahimova (Azerbaijan), Aida Mahmudova (Azerbaijan), Taus Makhacheva (Russia), Farhad Moshiri (Iran), Farid Rasulov (Azerbaijan), Slavs and Tatars ('Eurasia'), Iliko Zautashvili (Georgia).
"Each piece in this exhibition has a role of giving the viewers at least one new perspective on the nations represented in this pavilion, with the mere intent to give a better understanding of the geographical area that is being covered. Art enables dialogue and the Venice Biennale has proven to be the best arena for cultural exchange." explains curator Dina Nasser-Khadivi.
"Showcasing work by these artists in a single exhibition aims to, ultimately, question how we each perceive history and geography."
The exhibition offers a diverse range of media and subject matter, with video, installation and painting all on show. Pieces range from those steeped in historical reference, to those with more site-specific responses through to those which are inspired by personal history.
Ali Banisadr will be producing his largest work to date for the exhibition, in the form of a triptych inspired by the pervasive symbolism of fire and light. These elements, prevalent in both Azerbaijan and Iran, relate to the origins of Zoroastrianism as well as the etymology of ‘Azerbaijan’, which derives from the Persian name for ‘Guardians of Fire’. Through effective use of colour and painterly control, Banisadr translates the imagery of his childhood, his extensive understanding of art history, and his sharp observations of everyday life onto canvas, capturing insightful details of humanity with movement, energy, and abstraction. Banisadr’s works are housed in public collections worldwide including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Saatchi Gallery and the British Museum in London.