CARPETS THAT MELT OR A LOOK TO THE PAST, BY FAIG AHMED

When mastery, imagination and originality go hand in hand, we can only admire a masterpiece. This is the work of the artist Faig Ahmed, who fuses tradition with contemporaneity in his impressive braided carpets, pieces that force us to look carefully and to analyse the message that they transmit to us.

Faig Ahmed portrait with one of his pieces (image by Sarah Benet, on www.animationpagoda.com)

Faig Ahmed (Azerbaijan, 1982) is a tireless creator whose work rescues one of the main cultural signs of this region of the world, famous, like other surrounding countries, for its majestic carpets, a tradition that goes back several millennia ago as a sign of their collective identity to become a world reference. Their hypnotic drawings of symmetrical composition, which sometimes resemble elements seen through a kaleidoscope, unfold in layers woven of bright colours with enormous visual impact.

Faig Ahmed, artwork of the series "Liquid" (image from www.animationpagoda.com)

This practice synthesises the entire history of the Persian people until it becomes a cultural symbol that conveys a large knowledge accumulated over the centuries. This task has traditionally been attributed to women, who follow patterns of colour and composition to give the perfect finish we all know. The work of Faig Ahmed is a tribute to this meticulous and invisible work and offer a rereading that has bridges with the past.

The artist graduated in Fine Arts in Baku specialising in sculpture, and, although his production is very diverse, he has become famous for his work with carpets, a type of pieces with which he was presented in the Azerbaijan pavilion of the biennial of Venice in 2007. Today, he is part of important collections and museums around the world.

Faig Ahmed, “Secret Garden”, 2017, (image from voltashow.com)

As he explains, the goal is to channel conceptual art, with a strong base of colourist abstraction, through traditional techniques, far from what is usual in the field of visual arts. In his opinion, it is essential to look at the past to find that mystical and spiritual connection that deals with the passage of time and our location at the moment of history. His work raises an open question about what is true and what is not, what should be, what we really see, and how much we owe to our cultural heritage to be where we are today.

Faig Ahmed, "Set Your Life On Fire" (image from www.inverse.com)

The result is an eclectic work, which mixes disciplines and techniques, in large projects on which he previously works on a computer. A task of decomposition and deconstruction that he carries out with great inspiration to give rise to something completely new and fascinating.

 

Among the specialised professional profiles that we find in the cultural sector, and more specifically, in the field of visual arts, one of the most recent occupations is that of the curator. The ‘80s put attention on the role of the artist, with its innovative character and the enhancement of its figure as an essential articulator of creative proposals, while the end of the century moved the interest towards the exhibition centres themselves and their work as custodians of current production and as spaces to accommodate all proposals. The change of millennium strongly introduced in this panorama the role of the curator. Perhaps together with a social identity crisis, perhaps with the complexity that contemporary projects are currently acquiring, the need for building, articulating and delving into artistic discourses became evident.

Although the functions entrusted to this profession are not entirely new, since previously they belonged to conservatives, critics or experts according to the themes, the role has gained solidity because it combines all these purposes while allowing the specialisation of other professionals in their fields of competence. Now, as some curators themselves point out, the genuine spirit of this figure, who was born to facilitate the understanding of the discourse, create narratives within a sometimes chaotic and scattered context, mediate between the works and the spectator and create bridges between contemporary art and society.

The art of our day raises a multitude of unknowns for the visitor who must face proposals many times away from the aesthetic standards, which gives way to uncertainty and confusion; but, in turn, these works employ a closer language, materials and even compositions detached from the sophistication and the technical display of yesteryear, something that, far from favouring proximity to the message, generates some distancing. What we have just described is part of the very essence of current art. The questioning of the formalist guidelines and the recourse to tangible elements that are more utilitarian than embellishing are the new criteria of creation, where, above all, the message to be conveyed stands out.

Likewise, another inherent characteristic of the work of our time is the artists' concern for more immediate themes, for social, political and economic issues that seek to create a narrative and conceptual revulsion, leaving behind the aesthetic priority or, rather, making of the message its own aesthetic. In this context, strange as it may seem, contemporary creation encounters a linguistic barrier hindering the viewer's understanding. And to this circumstance, the abundant current production is added, covering a wide range of themes that are nothing more than a transcript of our diverse and globalised society.

The curator helps to facilitate this understanding by articulating a coherent discourse that allows the grouping of related ideas to set up the message. This requires to have an in-depth knowledge of the current state of the art, the lines of work of the creators, the most recent aesthetic proposals and the real demands of society to bridge the dialogue and allow the approach to art. If art deals with the same issues that concern us all, how can we not share its postulates? Cultural mediation requires the work of the curators to open a small window for reflection and to enable a space for exchange and idea generation. We share the thought that José Guirao expressed in a recent interview: "The curator is someone who reveals something new, and it would be a mistake for curators to become managers."

Understood this way curator’s role, many institutions have joined the trend of creating specific calls for new professionals to give light to their proposals. Let us remember, as an example, the call "Unpublished" of La Casa Encendida, or "Curator wanted", of the Community of Madrid or the call of Curating of La Caixa.