Contemporary artist Farid Rasulov first trained as a doctor at the Azerbaijan State Medical University before shifting his focus to conceptual art. Since his practice began over a decade ago, he has explored a variety of media in his work including large-scale intricately detailed photo-realistic paintings, architectural installations, 3D graphics, and sculpture, often reflecting observations and connections that are inspired by Azerbaijani heritage. While cultural motifs feature strongly in his work, the parallels that he draws between past and present through his use of materiality and technique gives the work a refreshingly contemporary edge. As a young artist, he was chosen to represent Azerbaijan at the 53rd Venice Biennale and participated again in 2013 with a room-sized installation covered in Azerbaijani carpet motifs themed as ‘Ornamentation’, a work that is both arresting in its presentation, but also humorous, asking us to confront our aesthetic expectations and the way in which tradition is ever-present, often in a not-so-subtle way. He has exhibited his work widely in Baku including a solo show at the Baku MOMA, and internationally in places such as Moscow, Paris, Dubai, London, Istanbul and New York. His iconic style has captured the global art world, including the award of the 2016 ArteLagunaPrize 10, where Farid was the winner of the sculptural and installation section.
Farid’s use of the traditional techniques of Azerbaijani craft has translated into his artwork in surprising ways. His work for the 2013 group exhibition Love Me, Love Me Not, which was presented at the Venice Biennale, melded Azerbaijani shebeke glass and wood motifs with panels of grey concrete, creating a tension between traditional decoration techniques and materials of the contemporary world. The work, entitled ‘Architectural Dichotomy’ (2013), juxtaposes these styles of architecture in a tentative coexistence, either placed side by side, or with shebeke panels emerging from concrete, but never permeating it – modernity is equal to tradition, as opposed to have replaced it. In his 2015 series of wood sculptures ‘Fragile 1 & 2,’ he carved delicate geometric patterns into the exterior of crates used to ship artwork and wooden pallettes, inviting us to examine how we look at and experience art. In 2017 and 2018 his work was exhibited prominently in the USA, including work from his residency at ARTOMI in upstate New York and a large solo exhibition at the Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center and Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, Missouri. In the exhibition 1,001 Skewers, Farid used over 1,000 steel meat skewers to create a massive installation of imagery inspired by Azerbaijani folklore. In the sculpture park, his large mixed media work ‘Bird #1’ (2018) was inspired by traditional carpet motifs, a return to his appreciation for the visual culture of Azerbaijan.
Back in Baku, Farid also collaborates with Azerbaijani artist Aida Mahmudova through the design company Chelebi, where furniture and decorative elements are a playful manifestation of Farid’s love of combining. tradition with modernity. At his studio with Yarat, he continues to create artworks that challenge our perspectives and invite us to see the world in unexpected ways.