We can find various references in the title of the exhibition (Meeting Point), where five artists from Baku are showing their works in Cuadro Gallery, Dubai. Most obviously, a group exhibition is always a meeting point and an inspiring experimental “melting pot” to bring together artworks made through different approaches and styles. Then of course, it is the meeting of two (commercial) galleries too, that of the hosting Cuadro in Dubai and of Yay Gallery in Baku where the artists belong to, and which already showed a nice example of collaboration when for example Cuadro Gallery exhibited Faig Ahmed’s widely admired altered carpets last year, a group of works much sought-after among collectors. However, the exhibition is also a particular way of making the two cities meet: both Dubai and Baku are considered as new hubs for contemporary art, where the rapid recent development in the last two decades brought a significant hunger for art that is satisfied both by the production of local or locally based foreign artists, as well as by hosted events. Last, but not least Baku itself, where the now exhibiting artists live and where most of them studied is a meeting point of nations, cultures, religions, old and new layers of art and architecture that one can experience on a daily basis, e.g. next to the 12th century mediaeval and UNESCO-heritage sites the visitor can find elegant houses from the beginning of the 20th century, not far from Soviet block-buildings and recent architectural miracles by Zaha Hadid or HOK Architects.
This sensibility towards the meeting of cultures, towards the examination of diverse temporal perspectives and towards the synthesis of traditional forms and contemporary artistic expression we can trace at the exhibiting artists’ work. Rashad Alakbarov is inspired by old patterns, poetry and calligraphy when creating “partly invisible” sculptures, i.e. metal constructions that – lit from a certain point – cast shadows and motives on the wall. Orkhan Huseynov exhibited a series of double plexiglass works where one features verses from the Quran, while the other is the bas-relief of a modern shirt. Aida Mahmudova’s large landscape examines the role of memory and nostalgia in our time by depicting her own relationship to her homeland. Farid Rasulov transforms everyday objects into art pieces by covering them with intricate Islamic patterns carved with the qualities of the best classical craftsmanship. Nazrin Mammadova creates abstract and geometrical collages with materials that we normally associate with construction, such as glass, marble, concrete or stainless steel, thus investigating the artistic qualities of the materials of the often uniformed contemporary architecture and its connection with fine arts. Hence the exhibition lets the visitors meet with the new generation of talents in Baku and with their multilayered references to past traditions and present expressions through their work.