Almagul Menlibayeva | Wrapping History 2010 | Duratrans print in lightbox | 91 x 122cm | Purchased 2010 with a special allocation from the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
Lives and works in Amsterdam, Berlin and Almaty
Almagul Menlibayeva's practice incorporates photography and video and reflects on history, memory and landscape. Employing an aesthetic she calls 'Romantic Punk Shamanism', Menlibayeva delineates an imagined pre-Soviet, pre-Islamic realm incorporating a shamanistic freedom of the human body. In her performance videos, the artist appears often with a group of other women in landscapes and architectures in a complex exploration of power, sexuality and ritual.
Menlibayeva’s photographic lightbox, Wrapping history 2010, dramatically stages the layered cultural history of textile trade and Islamic influence along the silk route; the powerful central figure of a woman wrapped in cloth embodies an abiding witness to tides of influence and transformation. Outlined against the facade of a mosque, the woman is looped in a length of Ikat weaving — a traditional textile style in Kazakhstan. Menlibayeva is one of a number of young artists who have turned to the past and to their overlapping heritages to re-examine individual and cultural histories.
Exhibitions (solo): Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp, Belgium, 2010. Exhibitions (group): Biennale of Sydney, 2006; the Oberhausen Film Festival, Germany 2009 and 2010; the 51st, 52nd and 53rd Venice Biennales (2005, 2007 and 2009).