Almagul Menlibayeva *Kazakhstan
1969 // Born in Kazakhstan. 1992 / Graduated from the National Academy of Arts and Theatre, Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Lives and works in Almaty, Amsterdam and Berlin. Menlibayeva graduated from the Theatre and Fine Arts Institute in Almaty in 1992. Her educational background is in the Soviet Russian avant-garde school of Futurism, which is combined with a nomadic aesthetic of post-Soviet, contemporary Kazakhstan. Working across a range of media including painting, graphics, performance, video and installation, Menlibayeva employs a syncretic and surrealist neo-shamanism to expose the spirit, history and horror of the locations she chooses. “In my video performances I employ the language of so-called Romantic Punk Shamanism to express my vision and understanding of the surrounding world. This is a bearer of an animistic philosophy born in the depth of the heart of my culture that wants to impart its legacy to the technological society of globalisation. Our archaic atavism is not just internalised, but also externalised. It is as if it has been awakened by the post-Soviet experience of the indigenous Kazakh people, who are becoming their own after 80 years of Soviet domination and cultural genocide. …I have chosen the medium of video and photography and like to work with the notion of memory and reality. My archaic atavism is interested in my video explorations in the Steppes and in post-Soviet Asia. By editing raw data and combining documentary and staged footage, I become its voice, enabling a cultural dus out of long oblivion. My work raises metaphysical questions such as ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Where shall I go?’; this psychic experience and perspective marks my artistic language”.