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'The rain of chrysanthemums rotted into hay' by Timur Aloev at Holešovická Šachta, Prague

In a round dance they are spinning, teaching orphaned soul how to fly.
*Twirl Twirl Twirl*
With tornado of summer laughter.
Decaying body becomes Flower bed.
Truly…
There is no Death.
The work of Timur Aloev (*1990), a Russian-Czech illustrator, draughtsman, painter and ceramist, is based on a combination of elements of Romanticism, Renaissance landscapes, Art Nouveau decor, Japanese anime, Slavic folklore, naivety and kitsch. We are drawn into the mythical setting of the biblical Garden of Eden, a paradise where wild beasts and creatures symbolizing innocence, vulnerability and sacrifice live side by side in peace. However, the main characters of the paintings are not Adam and Eve, as we might expect, but the animals or fictional creatures who become, under the blue sky, in a brightly blooming landscape, witnesses or actors in events that find their antecedents in religious mythology, heroic legends and stories inspired by Eastern European illustrated fairy tales, American Disney films and Japanese anime. They repeatedly indulge in the ancient folk dance chorovod, which occupies a prominent place in Timur Aloev's work. It is a collective dance in a circle symbolically reflecting the shape and movement of the sun and natural elements. A ritual of unification, integrity of the family, unity with nature and erasing personal boundaries.
An important moment of the exhibited paintings and objects is the narrative line. It is a natural consequence of the artist's original interest in book illustration and comics, to which he devoted his previous studies at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ostrava. The paintings are more or less illustrative depictions of broader stories that branch out and intertwine with each other in an unobtrusive storyline - for example, a dancing figure from one work appears in another after death, and in another we meet her spirit. However, the narrative line is also complemented by a lyrical and poetic line, as the title of the exhibition suggests. Aloev often titles the works with original poems or verses that are both emotional parallels and clues to the plot depicted.
Although the main actors of the paintings are not people, their presence is not fully eliminated. For example, in the painting Last Look at Eden, the sight of a group of creatures in the landscape is Adam and Eve's last look back to the Eden from which they have just been expelled. They are not depicted, their presence is projected into the view of the viewer, who sees the same thing as if he himself were the one who must leave Eden.
Timur Aloev's works are strongly influenced by his interest in plant ornament. The flora is imbued with Art Nouveau shapes, playing with line and the spiral ending of the leaves. The bodies of plants thus become a distinctive organic decor, also visible in the spatial creation. His interest in plant growth, influenced by the Swiss botanist and sculptor from the turn of the 19th and 20th century Hermann Obrist, is evident in his work with ceramics and the shaping of objects. By adding more and more layers of decoration, the originally used objects, cups, bowls and vases, become works that eventually lose their useful function.
By linking seemingly incompatible motifs, Aloev's own mythology emerges, the basis of which is a certain clarification of meanings. In the multitude of symbols and the unfinished narrative line, it is by its very nature impossible to fully orient oneself and to trace all the content embedded in the works. However, this distortion is deliberate and serves the benefit of the viewer, who is thus given the space to find the narrative and at the same time to create it.

7.10.21 — 7.11.21

Curated by Ján Gajdušek & Tereza Havlovicová

Photo by Jakub Hájek & František Hanousek

Holešovická šachta

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