Thursday, November 14, 2019

Suzanis in Art

Recently I posted an article about Ikat Textiles in Art. It was hugely popular, so I thought I would follow it up with this piece on suzanis depicted in artworks.

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Suzani Background, Robert Falk, 1943

The Robert Falk oil on canvas, above, is displayed in the Karakalpakstan State Museum of Art, Nukus, named after I.V. Savitsky.

During WWII Falk was evacuated to Bashkiriya with the Jewish Theatre. From there he moved to Samarkand, where he taught in the School of Fine Arts.

Igor Savitsky, a graduate of the Moscow Institute of Art was also evacuated to Samarkand in the same period. He was painting the same model as Falk.

The young model preferred the portrait by Falk as she thought it made her beautiful and subsequently Savitsky destroyed his painting.

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Bukhara Masters, P.I. Kotov, 1920s

P. I. Kotov travelled extensively in Central Asia in the 1920s. The painting above now hangs in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

The portrait below of Munzim Mirzo Abduvahid Burkhan Zade was painted in 1912 by Dimitriev - no other name details are known. It is hanging in Bukhara's Contemporary Art Museum. Very little is known of the artist. However, the artist has captured a face full of vigour with thoughtful eyes, his arm gently resting on a suzani.

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 Portrait of Munzim Mirzo Abduvahid Burkhan Zade,  1912 by Dimitriev

Pavel Benkov came to Bukhara in 1928 and then settled in Samarkand in 1930.  It was a richly creative period in the artist's life and many portraits were undertaken that were exhibited in Moscow in 1961.

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Emir Official, Pavel Benkov 1929

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Samarkand Suzani Embroidery, Samarkand painter Namoz Sultanov.

With the recent rise of travel in Central Asia and export of suzanis and ikat textiles around the world, suzanis appear in contemporary art pieces. A selection is below.


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Watermelon, Bananas, Suzani, Janet Fish 2009  

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Suzani, 2018 Carlo Russo

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Suzani Chair,  Linda Arthurs

Related posts:
Ikat Textiles in Art
The Birth of Suzani - Madina Kasimbaeva's Exhibition, Tashkent
Uzbek Suzanis: Like Flowers in the Sand 
Valentino Haute Couture Meets Suzani 


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Soviet Metro Stations

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Metro Station Uralmash, Yekaterinburg, Russia - cool, strong women.
And are they computers? Image: Christopher Herwig
Anyone interested in Soviet design will love this book. Christopher Herwig - who put together the splendid two-volume series "Soviet Bus Stops" - has  photographed the stations of each Metro network of the former USSR.

Tashkent's glorious subterranean system, the most opulent of all after Moscow and Leningrad, is a reminder that Tashkent was the fourth largest city in the USSR.

It was a hugely important metropolis and a deliberately conceived model for visitors from post-colonial countries, showing the benefits of Soviet-style socialism.

Rather than the straightforward systems of London, Paris or New York, Soviet networks were used as a propaganda artwork―a fusion of sculpture, architecture and art that combined Byzantine, medieval, baroque and constructivist ideas and infused them with the notion that communism would mean a “communal luxury” for all.

Today these astonishing spaces remain the closest realization of a Soviet utopia. 

As well as stunning photography, the book includes a comprehensive essay on the history and designs of Soviet metros by leading British writer Own Hatherley, who writes primarily on architecture, politics and culture.

Here is an extract from the press release : "From extreme marble and chandelier opulence to brutal futuristic minimalist glory, Soviet Metro Stations documents this wealth of diverse architecture. Along the way Herwig captures the elements that make up this singular Soviet experience: neon, concrete, escalators, signage, mosaics and relief sculptures all combine to build a vivid map of the Soviet Metro".

Published by innovative London-based design and publishing house, FUEL, this is a book to treasure. And to give to friends who dig Soviet style.

More images below.

Related posts:
Uzbekistan's Secret Underground
Soviet Asia: Soviet Modernist Architecture in Central Asia 
Almaty, Kazakhstan - Riding the New Metro
Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums 
Azerbaijan: Baku's Metro
Kyrgyzstan's Bus Stops
Back in the USSR: Soviet Roadside Architecture

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Entrance to Minsk metro station Kastryčnickaja, Belarussia. Image: Christopher Herwig
 
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Prospekt Bolshevikov Metro Station, St.Petersburg, Russia. Image: Christopher Herwig


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Shuliavska Metro, Kiev, Ukraine. Image: Christopher Herwig

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Olmazor metro, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Image: Christopher Herwig

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⁠Metro station Prospekt Kosmonavtov, Yekaterinburg, Russia. Image: Christopher Herwig

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Uzbek Architectural Details: "A Stitch in Tile" Exhibition, 12 - 18 October

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Tiles and tapestry at Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, Samarkand. Image: Natalie Fisher
Sydney-based needlepoint artist Natalie Fisher's latest exhibition, at Rozelle's Persian Rug Co, is a  wondrous display of needlepoint tapestries inspired by Islamic tiles and architecture.

Natalie hand stitches with pure wool to represent the intricate geometric patterns of centuries-old tiles in the Islamic world.

The two ancient techniques of hand stitching and tile-making date back centuries and are traditions still practised today.

Her works have been mostly inspired by her own travels and designed from her own photographs. She travelled to Uzbekistan in May 2019.

She says of her style: "I believe my work challenges widely-held traditional perceptions of tapestry as quaint, domestic and conservative, to portray artworks that  present the medium in a new, contemporary and bold light. 

I  perceive my style of tapestry stitching as part of an artistic movement, as my technique of applying wool to a needlepoint canvas has parallels to the way in which an artist applies paint to an art canvas".

Natalie graduated with a degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of New South Wales, which introduced her to the intricacies of flora, a subject explored in depth in her early work. She was invited to exhibit at London's Chelsea Flower Show.

As well as exhibiting at major museums and galleries in Australia, Natalie also exhibited at the Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival, UAE, in December 2017.

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Tile and tapestry inspired by Zangiata mosque Tashkent. Image: Natalie Fisher
Each of Natalie's pieces takes many weeks or months to produce. There are thousands of stitches in every tapestry. The time taken depends on the size, the complexity of the design, and the number of colours.

One of her most popular works 'Moroccan Mile' is 2.4m long, contains 346,636 stitches and took nine months to create.

She mixes different shades of colour in individual stitches to work in a modern realist style.

If you miss the Sydney exhibition, you can learn more about Natalie's stunning work on her website Art Weave Originals.

Her Instagram feed includes fabulous photos and there are videos on her Facebook page that overview her creative process. And several interesting images below reveal her techniques and pieces.
 

Related posts:
The Birth of Suzani - Madina Kasimbaeva's Exhibition, Tashkent
Robert Rauschenberg: Samarkand Stitches
In Search of Lost Paradise - Woodblock Exhibition, Tashkent
Sacrament of Magic Yarn - Madina Kasimbaeva's Exhibition, Tashkent

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Uzbek gentleman at Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, Samarkand, examining Natalie's work. Image: Natalie Fisher


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Contrast of tile and tapestry. Image: Natalie Fisher
 

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Contrast of tile and tapestry. Image: Natalie Fisher

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Selection of Natalie Fisher's work. Image: Natalie Fisher


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Natalie Fisher at the 2017 exhibition in UAE.