Public Art in Icherisheher: Orkhan Huseynov’s “Where Our Love Has Come To”

2020 was not very rich for cultural events, a lot of them had to be canceled, postponed or organised online. Art on the Wall is instead a project that started digitally and now can be seen at Kichik Qala 58 address in Icherisheher on a building facade as outdoor banners. Orkhan Huseynov is the first artist whose works are on display from December 28, 2020 until mid-February 2021.

Orkhan Huseynov is a Baku based multimedia artist. Interest and admiration of Azerbaijan’s oral, applied art traditions and history are the core of Huseynov’s multifaceted art practice. He has exhibited extensively both in Azerbaijan and abroad in group shows at Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; MAXXXI, Rome; Me Collectors Room, Berlin; Phillips de Pury gallery; Love Me, Love Me Not, 55th Venice Biennale Collateral Event in 2015, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation in 2017 and had solo exhibitions at Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam in 2003, Kichik QalArt gallery in 2013 and YARAT contemporary Art Space, Baku in 2017.

‘Where Our Love Has Come To’ is a homage to famous Azerbaijani cinema classics that were made in Icherisheher. Interwinding local context with society’s most critical topic – COVID-19, Orkhan Huseynov, masters genuine, whimsical and intellectual in the essence visual language and gives the second meaning to beloved movie titles. In today’s world, Asmar and Ogtay would not be able to ramble the narrow streets of Icherisheher without wearing a mask. ‘If Not That One, Then This One’ now speaks of an uneasy choice Gulnaz should make in what mask to wear. Like us, the movie heroes also accept and adapt to the ‘new normal’ of pandemic. Masks have become the most important accessory, a protective measure from the virus and a sign of care for the beloved.

Originally planned as a project that democratises contemporary art and attempts to bring it to a wider audience, Art on the Wall has also become an alternative form for Ta(r)dino 6 Art Platform exhibition programme. As the platform is unable to open its permanent art space in Icherisheher until spring 2021, this public art project is a way for Ta(r)dino 6 to introduce itself to its future audience, engage in dialogue and be closer to Bakuvians. Art on the Wall is also a way to support artists’ work and talent: the project is organised in partnership with the Administration of the State Historical-Architectural Reserve “Icherisheher” and financed by German Embassy Baku.

Art on the Wall will continue with presenting new artworks commissioned to Azerbaijani contemporary artists. Its future editions will introduce new names to Bakuvians – the artists who have never before exhibited in Azerbaijan or whose exhibitions have been suspended due to pandemic. All information and announcements will be published on @tardino6 and @icherisheher_living_history social media accounts.

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