Monday, December 17, 2018

Celebrities in Ikat

I thought it would be rather fun to end the year with images of famous people wearing gorgeous ikat clothes.

Let's start with the incomparable Sophia Loren, photographed by Richard Avedon for Vogue, November 1966 issue.

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Sophia Loren in a spectacular ikat coat that she found in Moscow in 1965

On her first visit to Moscow in 1965,  Sophia Loren discovered Uzbek ikat quite by chance. She was so fascinated by the beauty of this textile, that she took some ikat pieces of clothing back to Italy.  She wore this coat for the Vogue photo shoot and Avedon's images created a sensation in the modern European fashion world.

Below is Rudolf Nureyev lounging in his apartment on Quai Voltaire, Paris. (Architectural Digest, 1985). Nureyev was famous for his collection of carpets and antique textiles.

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Rudolf Nureyev in his apartment on Quai Voltaire, Paris, 1985

Bjork performed in ikat with matching makeup!

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Bjork performed in ikat with matching makeup!

Kristen Stewart went to the MTV Spoilers in this *rocker chic* ikat look by DKNY.

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Kristen Stewart in *rocker chic* ikat

Emma Stone wore a Fendi ikat frock to a premier of Spiderman.

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Emma Stone in a Fendi ikat frock at a Spiderman premier

Cameron Diaz, on the set of the film The Other Woman in New York, wearing an Altuzarra crepe de chine ikat print dress.

In the Soviet period ikat crepe de chine was very popular in Uzbekistan. It is still possible to purchase vintage, unused yardage - let me show you when we are travelling together.

I wish all Uzbek Journeys clients, and readers of this website, a wonderful 2019 full of adventures. And I certainly hope there is a little piece of ikat in your New Year's Eve outfit.

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Cameron Diaz in an Altuzarra ikat print frock


Related posts:
Ikat: The "Thread That Connects Generations" Exhibition, Tashkent
The Story of Uzbek Silk Production: Step by Step
Uzbek Ikat as Interior Design Element
Feruza's Ikat Store, Bukhara
Human House - Tashkent's Coolest Design Space 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Birth of Suzani - Madina Kasimbaeva's Exhibition, Tashkent

Tashkent's best autumn exhibition - The Birth of Suzani - was held at the House of Photography late October.

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Madina Khasambaeva's huge suzani - 6 x 4 metres: it took 2 years to complete.

It was the final part of art historian Binafsha Nodir's exhibition projects dedicated to the revival and preservation of the traditions of the Tashkent school of embroidery.  

It featured the work of Madina Kasimbaeva, the sole needlewoman to successfully revive the unique tradition of the Tashkent school.

The exhibition, which detailed the creation of modern Tashkent palyak suzani from initial design sketch to the finished embroidered piece, immersed the viewer in the creative atmosphere accompanying the birth of this new incarnation of a tradition once lost.

The highlight was Kasambaeva's immense 6 x 4 metre suzani, superbly displayed in the "Secret Room", which took two years to complete.

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Madina Kasimbaeva and Binafsha Nodir

A stunning catalogue was also produced by sponsor, the Islam Karimov Foundation. It features essays and magnificent images from Kasimbaeva's 2016 exhibition Sacrament of Magic Yarn and the 2015 exhibition The Light of Faraway Stars.

As Nodir notes in her essay "As well as creating replicas of antique pieces, Kasimbaeava periodically gives herself over to pure inspiration, when new designs and compositions pour out of her, with each new pattern in perfect harmony with the basic structure of the classic traditional designs. The rich, inner world of this craftswoman, her inexhaustible imagination and unerring taste, as well as her excellent knowledge of national culture, find expression in her striking embroidery".

Kasimbaeva teaches embroidery techniques and shares her experience with her many students, who will one day become virtuoso needlewomen in their own right".
  
On an Uzbek Journeys tour we visit Madina's little store in Tashkent's old city. She is also a regular exhibitor at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, scheduled for mid-July 2019. You can contact her via her Facebook page.

Below are some gorgeous images from the catalogue and exhibition.

Related posts: Sacrament of Magic Yarn
Uzbek Suzanis: Like Flowers in the Sand
Symbols in Stitches: Uzbek Suzanis
Valentino Haute Couture Meets Suzani

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Detail of Madina Kasimbaeva's suzani

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Installation at the Birth of Suzani exhibition - conceived and installed by artist Bobur Ismoilov

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suzani uzbekistan embroidery, uzbekistan handwork embroidery suzani, uzbekistan art craft texture tours

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Catalogue cover of The Birth of Suzani -  layout and design by Inna Sandler

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Georgian painter Levan Lagidze's London exhbition: Bach Exercises

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Levan Lagidze's Autumn Gardens
If you are in London before 8 December, this is an unmissable exhibition.

Described as a ‘living legend’ by Dante magazine, Levan Lagidze is one of Georgia’s most prominent artists. His work is collected by national museums across the former USSR (including the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and the National Gallery in Tbilisi) and in the US and Europe.

This autumn The Georgian Museum of Fine Arts in Tbilisi opened a new building with a hall dedicated to the artist’s work.

Lagidze is known for his highly structured and layered abstract paintings, philosophical approach to art and his unwavering support for Georgian art and artists.

He is sought-after in the international art world, where his paintings have recently fetched high sums at auction in New York, but is notoriously reclusive and shy of wide exposure, preferring to exhibit exclusively in his own gallery in Tbilisi.

London's Katrine Levin Galleries Pall Mall is hosting Bach Exercises, the first major exhibition that the artist has agreed to outside Georgia for 20 years. It will run until  8 December 2018.

"The exhibition title reflects the 'cadence' of the paintings, where the myriad of tiny universes built up along a grid intermingle in a symphony of rich chromatic notes. Through this rhythm Lagidze seeks to know the universe through colour as Bach did through sound" said Katrine Levin, curator.

Levan Lagidze’s works are accessible and self-explanatory. Layers of colour and structure entice the viewer to look deeper into the paintings where they discover connections to universal narratives such as landscape and urbanisation.

Colour is at the heart of his work: "It is said that painting is the art of showing colour – but to me it is the art of hiding colour. Colour needs to be hidden in order to entice the viewer into searching deeper", commented the artist.

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Levan Lagidze's Village in the Mountains
Born in 1958 in Tbilisi, Georgia, Lagidze graduated from Tbilisi State Academy of Arts in 1981. He founded and led the Artists’ Studio in the Tbilisi Artists’ House in 1983 and served as Chairman of Georgia´s Young Artists' Union from 1986 to 1989.

Lagidze continued his support of young Georgian artists during the turbulent and violent decade following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In 2011 he founded the Lagidze Gallery that showcases his works and hosts exhibitions, presentations and talks in Georgia's capital.

There you will often find a mix of writers, composers, diplomats, and corporate leaders who have dropped in for an exchange of jokes or a philosophical discussion.

Bach Exercises presents 25 recent paintings created specifically for the London exhibition and is open to the public until 8 December at La Galleria Pall Mall, Pall Mall, London.

Listen to a 3-minute conversation below with the artist, with English subtitles. [If your device does not display the clip, go directly to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5kHLyIqVxA].

Related posts:
Central Asia in Art: From Soviet Orientalism to the New Republics  
Sotheby's London Exhibition: Contemporary Art from Central Asia & the Caucasus
Alexander Volkov: Of Sand and Silk, an Exhibition at Christie's, London