School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies
Leeds LS2 9JT
Open 26 to 28 June, 10am to 5pm
Preview 26 June, 6 to 9pm
Free: all welcome.
Windows of Tolerance (2017) is an interim exhibition of Asel Kadyrkhanova’s practice-led research into cultural memory and trauma in post-Soviet Kazakhstan.
The exhibition showcases a new mixed media work that explores the phenomenon of barred window in former Soviet territories. Kadyrkhanova notices two distinctive features: abundance of barred windows and great diversity of window grill patterns. This reveals a symptomatic nature of this phenomenon, which she sees as a form of manifestation of trauma (memory of totalitarianism, political repression and ethnic deportations) in the lived space.
Such trivial form as window grill – the ubiquitous, ornamented man-made barrier – becomes an effective metaphor to address and try to deconstruct the dialectic of inside and outside, as well as the conflict between private and public, which is especially characteristic of post-Soviet states that in different times have gone through shocks of collectivization and privatization.
Borrowing Derridean analogy of text and textile, Asel Kadyrkhanova uses embroidery as a way of reading the window grill and simultaneously (re-)writing it. At the same time, the nature of the process of embroidery as repetitive piercing of fabric, enables her to use it as a method that mimics symptomology of trauma, which, in turn, reveals itself in repetitions. Embroidery becomes a gesture of mourning that helps to distance, to overcome the past.
Asel Kadyrkhanova (born 1983, Alma-Ata, Kazakh SSR) is a practice-led PhD candidate in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies. She completed an MA in Fine Art at Newcastle University (2011) and MA & BA in Painting at Kazakh National Academy of Art (2007). Kadyrkhanova is an awardee of a Leeds Anniversary Research Scholarship and alumna of Bolashak Presidential Scholarship programme of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Selected exhibitions include: Suns and Neons above Kazakhstan, Yarat Contemporary Art Centre, Baku (2017); Changes: Study of Time, Kazakh-British Technical University (2016); Protagonists: The Invisible Pavilion of Kazakhstan at 56 Venice Biennale (2015); The Eighth River, project commissioned by UNESCO Biosphere committee in Ile-Alatau National Park (2015); 1937 | Territory of Memory, Kazakh State Museum of Art, Almaty (2013).
Image: Asel Kadyrkhanova, Windows of Tolerance (2017)