New facets of contemporary crafts in Uzbekistan

This year the exhibition of contemporary applied arts "POPolam" at CEH AA Uz has been a bright event in art life of Uzbekistan. Works of two young artists were exhibited in frameworks of annual Festival of Arts on holiday of "Navruz". They are ceramic master Anush Avakyan and jeweler Ulugbek Kholmuradov. The exhibition amazed with conceptual content, dominant of creativity and high professionalism. Nevertheless, the main thing was impulse to thinking over contemporary art of Uzbekistan, its new facets, problems and prospects.

Contemporary world art has accumulated capacious positive experience in development of applied arts and crafts. Today it has history, theory, aesthetics, directions and "iconography" that involves art of the greatest artists. This art born by the 20th century carries its dynamics, vectors of development, requirements and concepts. Its rise fell on the second half of the 20th century. In United States of America it is called "contemporary crafts movement" (1, p. 9). Moreover, American art critics consider evolution of contemporary arts and crafts as one of remarkable achievements of world culture at the end of the 20th century.

Last decade contemporary genres of arts and crafts in Uzbekistan occupied "minor" positions because of different objective and subjective reasons. However, the exhibition "POPolam" showed a new level of contemporary applied arts and crafts.
U. Kholmuradov and A. Avakyan are original artists open to new lines of world art. Though they acted at the exhibition in alliance, each of them has own world vision and approach to different artistic problems and tasks.

Anush grew in the family of sculptor R.Avakyan. Since the early childhood she has assimilated spirit of creativity, search and pleasure from the created. "Father gave me love to art, - said Anush, - he taught not just to look, but to see, he developed my feelings of composition and color". A. Avakyan studied at J. L. Frumgarts's Art Studio, finished faculty of ceramics of Republican Art College, worked a ceramic master at the Tashkent Experimental Factory of crafts, headed children's fine arts studio. St.-Petersburg Academy of Applied Arts and Design named after baron van Shtiglits (faculty of design) accomplished artistic becoming of Anush. Her teachers were B.I. Roenko and V.N. Kirpichev. In student's years Anush took part in International Conceptual Project of student works on architecture of London. Anush said she had learned much at her brother - designer D. Avakyan.

Artistic originality of Anush is determined by she combines art of ceramic making and design giving good feeling of space where dominates constructivism of forms and their synthesis with environment.

A. Avakyan's ceramic works are various: decorative compositions, vases, bowls, jugs, amphora, tea sets, etc. All of them show conventional forms, rich associative and metaphorical content. At the same time, they are laconic, simple, and monochromic. It seems that the artist plays up forms initially existing in the nature and cosmos. The majority of works show avant-garde solutions. At the same time they have functional purpose and are perfectly built in today's landscape and interior.

International symposiums on contemporary ceramics art analyze problems of creativity in the context of dynamical opposition of globalism and cultural isolationism. The artists - participants of these symposiums say that they do not lose their originality and represent definite art school (2, p. 88). In this respect, works of A. Avakyan show transnational artistic expression and bear elements of oriental culture.
Some works are made in style of postmodernism. Ceramic bowls by Anush bear some traces of antiquity and characteristic for postmodernism play with definite art tradition.

Ulugbek Kholmuradov studied at art studio of J. L. Frumgarts and Tashkent Architectural and Engineering Institute. His teachers were architects S.A. Shappo and Z.A. Arshavskaya. He learned much at classes of L. Avakyan who promoted Ulugbek to become a jeweler. Architectural faculty helped Ulugbek to develop design approach to jewelry, original three-dimensional thinking and search for new solutions. Jewelry of Ulugbek forms the entire world expressing his personality. Ulugbek is the artist thinking conceptually and philosophically.
The assortment of U. Kholmuradov is rich: earrings, rings, bracelets, necklace, etc. Ulugbek told that initially he tried to synthesize elements of national Uzbek traditional jewelry and architecture, their graphic forms and modern design. His works show arches, pendentives and geometrical combinations of traditional architecture. This tendency is revealed in art of many Uzbek jewelers, for example, Niyazali Kholmatov. National traditions and search for their synthesis with modern design remained dominant for the young artist though survived changes. This tendency became more laconic, simple and expressive externally, but more purposeful internally. For example, earrings where Ulugbek played up a motif of traditional kashgar-baldok but interpreted them in simpler and more stylized form. The artist often play up traditional forms having philosophically deep semantics - for example, earrings with symbols of Yan and Yin.

Last works of the artist show, first, synthesis of traditional oriental forms and contemporary design, and, second, abstract compositions playing up color and texture of metal causing rich associations. Feature of Ulugbek's works is monumentalism. Photo of his works taken at the exhibition as if expose some monumental architectural objects. This works deny relativity of "monumentalism" in art that means more than big size, but includes essence and content transmitted by means of structure, form and style.
Ulugbek is aesthete. Beauty, harmony and perfection are his determining criteria though they say it is not so obligatory for an artist to be an aesthete. Being in permanent creative search, he experiments trying to find something new and original. U. Kholmuradov has huge creative potential in synthesis of designing and functionality of contemporary jewelry art. He dreams to carry out projects in architecture.

Works by Anush Avakyan and Ulugbek Kholmuradov show refusal of trivial concepts, criteria of style forming and always try to find new solutions. Their creative searches bear elements of postmodernism. American architect R. Stern specified its three principles: contextualizing, allusions and ornamentalism (3, p. 21). Works of Anush and Ulugbek meet these principles. Their works proceed from midst and context of contemporary culture. Their compositions contain some allusions to existing historical traditions supposing freedom of creative interpretation. They bear elements of traditional cultures. The title of the exhibition "POPolam" causes postmodernist associations: "pop art" consists of two words and the exposition represents two artistic individualities.

The exhibition "POP olam" interested the public very much. Artists A. Avakyan and U. Kholmuradov are full of creative energy, new projects and original ideas. Their art is modern and timely as gives impulse to creative searches and new opportunities of artistic expression.

    Literature:
  1. Timothy Anglin Burgard. The art of craft. Contemporary works from the Saxe collection. Boston, New York, London. 1999.
  2. Глобализм по Шаповалову. Беседа гл.редактора журнала "Декоративное искусство" А. Сафаровой с художником В.Шаповаловым// ДИ, 2005, №5.
  3. Иконников А.В. Функция, образ, форма в архитектуре. М., 1986.

Kamola Nuritdinova


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