Almagul Menlibayeva studied at the Academy of Art and Theatre in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Her work has been the subject of numerous international solo and group exhibitions, such as the Sydney Biennial of Contemporary Art and the Venice Biennale. In her work, Menlibayeva combines an interest in regional traditions with a critique of official identity politics. She bases this criticism on the idea of nomadic pastoralism, the traditional way of life that distinguishes the history and culture of the Central Asian peoples. Most of her works are built on encounters and shifts of images that refer to an array of ethnic, historical and cultural layers of meaning, where the single-dimensional and rational meets the festive, orgiastic and poetic. Her narrative videos and accompanying photographs thus offer a romantic and melancholic reflection on the non-synchronicity of her home country’s development. “In my video performances I employ the language of so-called Romantic Punk Shamanism to express my vision and understanding of the surrounding world. Romantic Punk Shamanism is a bearer of an animistic philosophy born in the depth of my culture’s heart that wants to impart its legacy to the globalized technological society.
Credits (c)photo: Almagul Menlybaeva
Almagul Menlibayeva was present in the central pavilion with an image of the factual centre of Eurasia, which is in Kazakhstan.
(4K, sound by G. Popov)
Almagul Menlibayeva presented a series of her video’s, one being a world premiere, 'Green, Yellow, Red and Green Again'. The title of this video refers to a film by the South Korean film director Kim Ki-duk, 'Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring Again'.
In the video there are groups of people in different cities and countries standing at a crossroads to cross the roads. Watching and waiting for the traffic light. Their combination brings together all the traffic lights in all the cities all over Eurasia in a rhythm with one single language; green, yellow, red. A group of people from Almaty are looking at the traffic light / edit jump in / at a pedestrian crossing in Brussels or Berlin. It is red. The Almaty people are waiting, looking at / edit jump in / the Brussels or Berlin traffic light. It turns green / edit jump in / for the people on the crossroads in Almaty or Astana.
Or, on the contrary, people at a crossroads in Brussels or Berlin are looking at the traffic light / edit jump in / for the traffic in Almaty or Astana. The traffic light turns green / edit jump in / we see the face of a man from Brussels or Berlin, who understands that he has to cross the road. The video was filmed in different cities, which I visited to meet friends. How to live together? The viewer is as familiar as any observer.
In Menlibayeva's film, groups of people in different cities and countries are waiting at crossroads, guided by the traffic lights. The combination of those becomes a rhythm that combines all of Eurasia into one language of colours, linking Almaty with Brussels or Berlin.