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Eluding Capture: Three Artists From Central Asia


  • Exhibition

  • On view now
  • B4.3

Eluding Capture features the work of Saodat Ismailova, Alexander Ugay, and Gulnur Mukazhanova, three artists who explore the conditions of belonging in Central Asia through photography, textile, film, and video. Typically defined as modern-day Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, Central Asia has been ruled by Indigenous Khanates, the Russian Empire, and the Soviet Union at different points in time. The region’s rich philosophical, literary, and artistic traditions provide the basis for contemporary interventions that attend to its history and speculate on its future.

Together, the artists in this exhibition interrogate what it means to dwell in and on the region. Their works seek pictorial, material, and metaphysical agency from colonial legacies, a search for self-definition that acknowledges the incoherency of the past. Refusing narrative and didactic closure, the artists in Eluding Capture unsettle distinctions between past and present to propose a similarly fluid poetics of belonging across the region.

Download a PDF of the gallery guide.

About the Artists:

Kazakh-Korean artist Alexander Ugay (b. 1978, Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan) explores the impact of technological developments on our ability to process and conjure visual information. He weaves together photographs and historical research, most recently in conjunction with the history of the Koryo Saram diaspora, to interrogate notions of labor, longing, and landscape. Ugay’s work has been exhibited at the Busan Biennale, South Korea; Konsthall Lund, Sweden; and the Kyiv Biennale, Ukraine.

Gulnur Mukazhanova (b. 1984, Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan) is a Berlin-based artist who investigates the production, transformation, and circulation of textiles, particularly felted textiles from her native Kazakhstan. Mukazhanova’s work has been shown widely in group and solo exhibitions, including at the Center for Heritage Arts and Textile, Hong Kong; the Central Asian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale; Kulturforum Ansbach, Germany; and Kunstquartier Bethanien, Germany.

In her installations and films, Saodat Ismailova (b. 1981, Tashkent, Uzbekistan) crafts intimate narratives that reflect Central Asian modes of survival against the reverberations of political and cultural change. In 2022, Ismailova participated in the 59th Venice Biennale and documenta 15, and her works have been collected by many institutions, including the Centre Pompidou, France; the Almaty Museum of Modern Art, Kazakhstan; and the Stedelijk Museum, the Netherlands.

Alexander Ugay
Obscuraton #10 (2022)
Installation with photographs and camera obscura (gelatin silver prints, plywood, inkjet prints)