Menlibayeva, Almagul.

*1969 in Kazakhstan
lebt und arbeitet in Berlin, DE und Kazakhstan
Studium an der Academy of Art and Theatre, Almaty, KZ


Ausstellungen [Auswahl]:
2011 Transoxiana Dreams, Priska C. Juschka Fine Art, New York, NY (solo)
2011 Sharjah Biennial 10: Plot for a Biennial, Sharjah, UAE
2010 21st Century: Art in the First Decade, Queensland Art Gallery |

Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia
2010 Lonely at the Top, Europe at large #6 (Refrains from the Wasteland), Museum van
Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp, Belgium (solo)
2009 Unconditional Love, 53rd Venice Biennale, Arsenale Novissimo 89, Venice, Italy

Milk for Lambs

Date: 2010
Length: 11:35 min.
Format:  16:9
Specification: Colour, Sound


Zwischen Moderne und Tradition bewegen sich die Menschen der kasachischen Steppe, die Almagul Menlibayeva während der Feierlichkeiten zu Ehren des Himmelsgottes Tengri und seiner Frau Umai, der Göttin der fruchtbaren Erde, begleitet. In zwischen Schwarz-Weiß und Farbe, Vergangenheit und Gegenwart wechselnden Bildern erzählt Menlibayeva von den Ritualen des Festes, die den ewigen Kreislauf der Natur zwischen Geburt, Leben und Tod abbilden. Im Vordergrund stehen dabei die Frauen, die der Kargheit der Steppe mit ihren bunten Gewändern, reich gedeckten Tischen und ihrer weiblichen Körperlichkeit die Frucht-barkeit förmlich abzuringen scheinen, um so ihre Kinder und Männer zu ernähren.
Menlibayeva entdeckt als Vertreterin der post-sowjetischen zeitgenössischen Kunst Zentral-asiens die Bräuche und Traditionen ihrer Heimat in ihren Bildern und Performances neu. Die kasachischen Frauen und deren Identität, die in der zuletzt kommunistisch geprägten Histo-rie Zentralasiens durch das Ideal der starken und disziplinierten Arbeiterin immer wieder von der Politik instrumentalisiert wurden, stehen dabei im Mittelpunkt ihrer Arbeiten. Seit dem Ende des Kommunismus muss, parallel zur übrigen Gesellschaft, auch das Frauenbild neu definiert werden. Menlibayeva zeichnet in ihren Bildern diese Suche nach einem eigenen Weg zwischen Tradition und Moderne nach.




► 1. Your video has been chosen among over 1700 festival entries to participate in
Videonale 13. How central is the video medium to your overall artistic production?
Is it complementary to other media you use or do you work exclusively with video?

Yes, overall, for me, video is my main medium. While I am filming, I make production
photographs on-site that complement the videos. When they are exhibited on their own,
then they tend to stand on their own. I thoroughly enjoy the entire process of video
making, from the editing process to the spontaneity of filming my surroundings, letting
life around me happen while I document it. I feel that it is extremely exciting to make a
film and then share it with the world.

► 2. Is there a particular theme, concept or problem your art addresses the most?

I mostly work with social and ecological themes in Central Asia. I film the local
people(s) from this area, and through my art, I show them within a world-wide spectrum.

In fact, Central Asia, especially Kazakhstan, is not a widely known area to the rest of the
world, so I create my own interpretation of this area by recreating local historical stories
and mythologies from this region, and I make them contemporary. Since I have started
working with video, I have started paying more attention to my surroundings, especially
when looking through the lens of my camera.

► 3. What artists do you relate to or find significant for your own art-making?

There are many artists whom I admire and find significant in my own art-making. These
artists include: Al Weiwei, Thomas Demand, Yang Fudong, William Kentridge, Mitra
Tabrizian, and Marina Abramović. From Kazakhstan I admire the artists Erbolsin
Meldibekov, Said Atabekov and Moldagul Narinbetov. And of course, I am inspired by
the Russian filmmakers Andrei Tarkovsky and Sergei Parajanov.

► 4. Do you think video medium can address social or political issues better than other
art media?

Yes, I strongly feel that video as a medium can address social and political issues better
than some of the other media in the visual arts. I think about why this is true, and it is
more than likely the mere fact that cameras are cheap and readily available these days.
This allows anyone, not only the artist, to document what is happening around them, and through the internet it can be distributed to a wide audience. I believe, for example,

painting as a medium may not always address these issues as accurate as video.

► 5. Art can be seen as a mirror that registers and reflects life or as a tool that
transforms it. Which of the two positions is close to your own art-making

For me, art is always in transformation, especially when it comes to my own art-making.
I transform myself through my work by sharing my experiences with others. In the end,
art is just another way of communication and expression.

► 6. How do you understand success in an art-making career?

To me, being successful, not only as an artist, is the satisfaction of sharing and
communicating my experiences and collaborations with others. I feel that when I have
achieved this, then I have done a good job.

► 7. What is the most difficult and the most rewarding thing about making art / being
an artist?

I would like to say that the most satisfying aspect of making art and being an artist is the fact that I can basically do what I want, as most artists can. Artists have the freedom to express themselves in most cases. For me, I do not always know where I am going with my creative process, because it is not always known, so I challenge myself to find my process.

► 8. What are your upcoming projects?

I have a few projects that I am thinking about which deal with post-Soviet influences on Central Asia, one addressing the post-Soviet architecture in the new capital of Astana,
and another that investigates former Soviet nuclear experiments in Kazakhstan.


► 9. What do you do when you don't do art?



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