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Big wings hanged over me

Shamil Shaaev July 10, 2024 - August 21, 2024 pop/off/art, Winzavod

About project

Pop/off/art gallery presents the exhibition of contemporary artist Shamil Shaaev “Big wings hung over me.” The project will be the author’s first personal exhibition in pop/off/art, continuing a number of strong personal projects successfully implemented on other platforms. In works prepared specifically for this exhibition, Shamil will continue to explore the theme of physicality, which has become part of his recognizable artistic language - this is not the first time Shaaev has addressed this issue. Thus, in the winter of 2023, MMOMA on Gogolevsky, with the support of pop/off/art, hosted the author’s exhibition “The Irreplaceable Modality of the Visible,” which focused on the phenomenon of the gaze from the point of view of the history and mythology of antiquity.

Shamil's upcoming project, Big Wings Hovered Over Me, will be an artistic exploration of ballet through a political perspective. The central issue of the exhibition is the control of the imperial state as a structure over the body and its movements, which corresponds to the repressive nature of ballet practices. The project was based on the autobiography of Rudolf Nureyev (1938-1993), an iconic ballet dancer and choreographer, as well as work with archives. The name of the project is also connected with the dancer’s personality. “Big wings hung over me” is a quote from Nureyev’s memoirs, his thought that slipped before the plane at the fatal airfield in the French city of Bourges, not far from Paris, where he decided to stay in 1961, becoming one of the first “defectors” among Soviet artists.

The exhibition will include paintings, drawings and artistic objects created in Strasbourg, as part of his studies at the Rhine High School of Art. In painting, Shamil Shaaev will present silent theatrical interiors, including the backstage and boxes of the Leningrad Opera and Ballet Theater named after Kirov (now the Mariinsky Theater), from which Rudolf Nureyev came. This artistic decision was made in order to emphasize the boundaries, limits and restrictions that disappear behind the elegant and decorative facades. A series of graphics made with thin pencil lines will ask the question of rhythm as opposed to the plots of Shamil’s paintings frozen in time. The rhythm on the theatrical stage, formed through the movements and dances of a troupe or an individual artist, also represents elegance and illusory freedom with a hidden repression and rigidity of performance. The series of objects “Flowers Bloom Forever” directly addresses the figure of Nureyev. It is based on images of the artist’s stage costumes, representing an elegant shell of hardships and torments, both professional and human.

In the future, Shamil Shaaev will continue to study the theme of ballet and the fate of Rudolf Nureyev as part of the residency of the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts in Salzburg in August 2024.

Shamil Shaaev (b. 1988, Ivanovo region) is a contemporary artist. He graduated from the Faculty of Philology of the Bashkir State University (2005-2010, Ufa), and studied in graduate school at the same faculty (2010-2014). Graduated from the Free Workshops of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2019-2020). In 2023 he entered the Haute école des arts du Rhin Mulhouse (Strasbourg). In 2020, he was shortlisted for the “Turbulence” competition, which was held by the Cultural Creative Agency and the Republic of Qatar as part of the Cosmoscow contemporary art fair. In 2023, Shamil Shaaev’s personal exhibition “The Irreplaceable Modality of the Visible” took place at MMOMA. Participant in a number of large group exhibitions in Russia and abroad. Since 2022, resident of pop/off/art lab. Lives and works in Strasbourg, France.

Exposition photos

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