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Yarat. Mir Nadir Zeynalov: A Mysterious Spirit’s Life

YARAT Contemporary Art Space presents “A Mysterious Spirit’s Life” – a retrospective exhibition of the works by the People’s Artist of Azerbaijan Mir Nadir Zeynalov in the Museum of Azerbaijani Painting of the XX-XXI Centuries. The exhibition, which includes more than 60 artworks from the collections of Azerbaijan State Art Gallery, Azerbaijan National Museum of Art, Mir Nadir Zeynalov’s Gallery, and also Ilal Ahmadov's and Sayavush Alizade’s private collections. Exhiibition is dedicated to the artist's 80th birthday, who went to an eternal rest a few months ago.

The curator of the exhibition is Shirin Melikova, who holds a PhD in Art History.
According to the curator Shirin Melikova, the exhibition's core idea is to immerse the audience in Mir Nadir Zeynalov's creative process and to convey a sense of the artist's creative rhythm of life, resulting in a balance of imagery and abstraction. This is done to vividly translate the artist's mystical immortality of spirit, and thus to achieve the effect of dialogue between the artist and the audience.

Separate halls make up the exhibition area, each presenting distinct aspects of the artist's diverse art practice in close-up. Mir Nadir’s command of color is shown in its totality in the hall of abstract painting. The hall of collages is the obvious continuation of the exposition: the artist enjoyed combining classic canvas art with a range of materials in a massive, monumental format. The hall of figurative art exhibits works that have a private, as well as a family-like, quality in their subject matter: visitors may see portraits of the artist's relatives, as well as his self-portraits from various years.

The hall of landscapes might also be viewed as an ode to Mir Nadir Zeynalov's minor homeland of Absheron, a patch of land on the Earth that fed his creativity not only in the fine arts but also in poetry. “The Journey of Life” hall reveals the mystical energy that has taken hold of the artist, radiating in a rainbow of colors.

The hall of graphics houses a one-of-a-kind collection of Mir Nadir Zeynalov's graphic works. Given the artist's aversion to this aspect of his practice, practically these monochrome, minimalistic works have not been publicly displayed in any of the numerous exhibitions organised during his lifetime. Nonetheless, the artist was able to create an atmosphere in these works with only one or two strokes, demonstrating exceptional skill.

Excerpts from Mir Nadir Zeynalov’s poetry are also displayed in the exhibition halls, enhancing and contributing in the comprehension of his works.
The exhibition hall features a screening room where visitors can watch a video devoted to Mir Nadir Zeynalov, which was filmed just a few months before the artist's demise. The film monologue, directed by Mubariz Naghiyev, is in the format “a day in the life of an artist” and was initiated by Shirin Melikova with the support of “Baki Abadlig Khidmeti” Ltd.

The materials about the artist are complemented by archival images and archives of personal poems recited by the artist. The audience can listen to them by picking up the vintage phone installed in the exhibition hall. The show also features Mir Nadir Zeynalov's personal collection of musical instruments, which he not only collected but also played and composed music on.

The exhibition is organized in the frame of the 10th anniversary of YARAT Contemporary Art Space.