Discover the pioneers of Soviet-Azeri avant-garde art with this virtual exhibition

Discover the pioneers of Soviet-Azeri avant-garde art with this virtual exhibition

2 April 2020
Top image: From the series 'Meeting', 1983- 2000, by Farhad Khalilov. Courtesy of Deniz Guzel.

The Gazelli Art House gallery has launched an online exhibition spotlighting the pioneering work of two iconic Soviet-Azeri avant-garde artists.

The London-based art gallery, which also has a branch in Baku, initially launched The New Verge at the end of February. As museums were forced to close their doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Gazelli Art House decided to ride the new wave of online alternatives and developed a virtual reality version of the exhibition.

Using their laptop, tablet, or mobile, visitors can roam the virtual gallery and admire the art of Ashraf Murad and Farhad Khalilov, two of Azerbaijan’s most important representatives of the 20th century avant-garde. Although different in style, both Murad and Khalilov used their work as a form of resistance to Soviet rule, and, as a consequence, only recently gained widespread recognition in Azerbaijan.

Although Murad and Khalilov were contemporaries, this is the pair’s first joint exhibition. With The New Verge, curator Farah Piriye aims at establishing a dialogue between the two artists — the kind which was long disrupted by censorship.

“At first glance, it might appear that Ashraf Murad and Farhad Khalilov are strikingly different. Indeed, both artists had their own separate paths, but [the exhibition] is not merely a juxtaposition of two masters,” says Piriye. “These two outstanding Azeri artists are kindred spirits; one matches the other in power, depth, and relationship to the canvas itself. United by a political epoch, these artists managed to remain freethinkers.”

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