In this paper, I will provide an overview of contemporary Central Asian art in the ‘post-Venetian’ period (after the end of Central Asian pavilions at the Venice Biennale in 2013). The period is marked not only by a certain decline of popular interest in contemporary art and significant cuts in sponsorship, but also by consolidation of the core group of contemporary artists in the countries of the region and the emergence of new trends and figures among young artists.
I will provide a brief outlook of the key figures of the region’s artworld and will discuss common issues and approaches practised by these artists. These include, but are not confined to, the post-Soviet vs. post-colonial debate, gender issues, struggle for self-identification, cultural marginality, self-imposed Orientalism, power relations and so on.
In conclusion, I will discuss some topics which have not yet attracted the attention of the local artworld (e.g. neo-ecological thinking and object-oriented ontology) and will speculate about possible futures of contemporary art in the region.
Alexey Ulko, born in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) in 1969. Studied English at Samarkand University and obtained an MEd TTELT degree from the University of St Mark and St John (UK). Taught English and Literary Analysis at the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages and since 2003 has been working as a freelance consultant in English, Culture Studies and Art. Has been making experimental films since 2007 and is an active writer about Central Asian contemporary art. An author of over 40 articles about contemporary Central Asian art and culture and a book Uzbekistan Customs and Culture in the series Culture Smart! by Kuperard Publishers, UK (2016). Current artistic interests: experimental cinema, photography, visual poetry. Member of the European Society for Central Asian Studies, the Association of Art Historians (UK) and the Central Eurasian Studies Society (USA).