Personal Exhibition of Yerbossyn Meldibekov to Opened in Almaty

On February 01, the exhibition “Buran – Baikonur, Between the Silk Road and the Milky Way” of Yerbossyn Meldibekov has been opened in the Marble Hall of the Army House. It includes 12 works where the author invites the audience to reflect together on space and time in different forms, planes and formats.

Ye.Meldibekov’s exhibition has become a truly long-awaited cultural event not only for the country. A well-known artist in Kazakhstan and beyond, working in the genres of sculpture, installation, performance, video and photography, in his characteristic manner of irony and sarcasm, identifies and captures the political processes in Central Asia, exploring historical documents, images, statues, landscapes, heroes and rethinks them using elements of humor and absurdity.
“The artist here talks about how he understands time, space, and current events. The exhibition can make the viewer feel uncomfortable, but in my opinion, this is the task of the artist - to talk about problems, about what you don’t want to talk about and don’t even want to think about sometimes,” Dastan Kozhakhmetov, the curator of the exhibition says.
All 12 of the author’s works have become the embodiment of a metaphor that Yerbossyn Meldibekov formulated for himself a few years ago. In his opinion, Central Asia appeared to be a Buran spacecraft that took off from the Baikonur cosmodrome and got lost in space. The exhibition “Buran – Baikonur, Between the Silk Road and the Milky Way” is a detailed visual development of the artist’s ideas. Installations made in bronze and wood, using digital solutions, in a variety of forms, behind which the author and his view of the event or person are always visible.
"A lot of people think it's hype, but no - there's only art here. When a sculpture falls, it takes a couple of seconds. And I make a 'storyboard' of the fall, I turn a second phenomenon into a whole world. Each individual figure falls, time stretches," Yerbossyn Meldibekov shared his idea.
Ye. Meldibekov, through his works, not only comprehends events and facts, but also, being a professional sculptor by training, constantly rethinks classical sculpture in an ironic deconstructivist manner characteristic of the artist. References to classical sculpture can also be traced in the artist’s video works – the composition of frames with the “man in a skullcap” is built like a chest self-portrait, and, in fact, the series itself is animated sculptural busts. The GIF animation series “I Want to be Genghis Khan” further emphasizes the connection with classical sculpture – the same chest self-portraits, this time in the robes of a medieval conqueror, are constantly scrolling, convincingly identifying themselves with the round sculpture, allowing the viewer to capture images from different angles.

In the series “Self – portraits with my Idols” there are wooden busts in which Yerbossyn Meldibekov depicted himself in the images of ideological heroes of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. The artist was inspired to create this work by memories: in childhood and adolescence, he dreamed of being like Batyr Bala Bolatbek and Gani Muratbayev, Saken Seifullin, Mukhtar Auezov and Sabit Mukanov. These dreams were embodied by him in eight busts, which are exhibited in age order, from the youngest – Batyr Bala Bolatbek and Gani Muratbayev, to those representatives of the Kazakh Stalinist intelligentsia who managed to live to old age – Dzhambul Dzhabayev and Sabit Mukanov. The elm tree from Southern Kazakhstan was used as the material from which the busts were made of.
In 2021, Meldibekov created the prophetic installation “The Fall of the Author”. A full-size sculptural self-portrait in the nude with allusions to a heroic ancient Greek sculpture toppled from its pedestal. In January 2022, monuments to the president were also destroyed in Kazakhstan during mass protests against the authorities.

In the series of works “Buran – Baikonur”, the artist emphasizes the absence of the effect of gravity on some images, as if they were in a damaged Buran spacecraft, which took off from the Baikonur cosmodrome, and hovering in outer space. He sees the countries of Central Asia soaring in the same way. Scattered in space, somewhere between the Silk Road and the Milky Way, deconstructed fragments of mutated modernist and avant-garde ideas embodied in the twin of the American Space Shuttle, the Soviet Buran, have become objects of research in Meldibekov’s space archaeology.
“I have known Yerbossyn Meldibekov for several years and have been following his work. This exhibition allows us to think very seriously about tomorrow, the space that we call Central Asia. Here are reflections on consequences of our mental problems, which we, probably, being inside the system, may not see. I invite everyone to see the exhibition. We have plans for other projects in the field of culture, in addition to this exhibition, we are already preparing a land art project in Katon-Karagay, where international masters of land art and our Kazakhstani artists will participate,” Serik Tolukpayev, the founder of AITAS Holding and philanthropist said.
The exhibition runs from February 1 to March 1 from 10:00 to 18:00 in the Marble Hall of the Army House. In addition, a series of excursions is planned within the framework of the exhibition, as well as an artist talk with the author on February 11 at 16:00.

The exhibition was organized with the support of Serik Tolukpayev and Aitas Foundation Corporate Fund in partnership with Tselinny Center for Contemporary Culture.