Saodat Ismailova. QO’RG’ON CHIROQ

  • Location Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  • Client CCA - Center For Contemporary Arts Tashkent
  • Year 2019
  • Status Completed
  • Program Cultural
  • Artist Saodat Ismailova
  • Curator Andrea Lissoni
  • Team Ekaterina Golovatyuk
    Giacomo Cantoni
    Ivano Viceconte
    Marianna Katenko
    Gaia Fusé
    Arslan Arkallayev
    Tatiana Levitskaya
  • Surface 1.350 sqm

The exhibition “Qo’rg’on Chiroq” by Saodat Ismailova is the central event of the pre-opening of the Centre for Contemporary Arts of Tashkent. The event announces the Centre’s future agenda and introduces Ismailova’s work, while exposing a precious and forgotten fragment of the city fabric – the former Diesel station of Tashkent – in its found condition.

Built in 1912 according to the project of the architect Wilhelm Heinzelmann to provide the electricity for Tashkent’s first tramline, the Diesel station is considered the place where the electrification of Uzbekistan started. In 2018, the building was acquired by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which initiated its adaptation to the needs of a contemporary cultural institution.

The 1,300 sqm site consists of two main levels: a majestic industrial hall at the ground floor, in which the original details of windows, doors, stairs are preserved, and a mysterious basement with a dark and intricate corridor around an inaccessible central space, entirely filled with concrete in the post-WWII period.

Tashkent Centre for Contemporary Arts will be a first large-scale project in Uzbekistan responding to the requirements of the contemporary cultural education space. The ambition of the Centre is to engage in an interdisciplinary multicultural dialogue on a worldwide scale, while integrating the visual culture of Uzbekistan within the international context.

The exhibition “Qo’rg’on Chiroq”, curated by Andrea Lissoni and designed by GRACE, includes video installations and works on different media created by Saodat in the last 5 years. “Kurgon” is a hill, imagined by the author as mythical place for cultural stratification and layering. “Chiroq” is a light, a ritual candle used for the blessing of the immortal. These two notions synthesize Saodat’s work, which operates on the collective memory of the region to then re-elaborate it and project it through images.

The space of the main hall is organized by large (6,00 m by 3,35 m) floating screens. The works “Zukhra”, the “Stains of Oxus” and “Two Horizons”, each projected on one, three and two screens, respectively, scan the hall, guide the visitor through the slow and dreamy environment, inviting them to rest in contemplation on large benches covered with typical Uzbek “kurpacha” mats.
Shadows and sun rays, leaking through the windows, enter in a dialogue with the moving images, suggesting a strange sense of continuous movement, circulation, delicate transformation and levitation of space, reminding of the floating of the protagonist in Saodat’s “Two Horizons” video.

The site-specific installation “Immortal Letters” modulates light and sound. Occupying dark niches and hidden tunnels along the visitor path in the basement, 10 three dimensional neon letters and 5 monitors projecting Saodat’s voice, spatially re-enact an ancient letter written in a forgotten language of the region.