The exhibition project Qo'rg'on Chiroq

Art and Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan presents a personal exhibition “Qo'rg'on Chiroq” (“Light on the Hill”) by Uzbek director and video artist Saodat Ismailova, which will be held from April 12 to June 1, 2019 in the framework of the pre-opening of the Center for Contemporary Art in Tashkent. In addition, in the Center will be a screening of films by Ali Khamraev and will be held master – classes for children.


The exhibition project Qo'rg'on Chiroq unites the created by Saodat Ismailova during the last five years of video work. The video poem “Zukhra” was for the first time exhibited in the pavilion of Central Asia at the 55th Venice Biennale, double – channel video of the “Two Horizons” artist filmed near Baikonur on the tomb of the legendary Turkic poet and musician Korkyt (IX century), who believed that to achieve immortality can be due to levitation. Dedicated to the extinct in the second half of XX century Turanian tigers video farewell “Bewitched” Ismailova created in the commonwealth with composer Camille Norma, who writes music for a unique instrument i.e. glass harmonics. The three – channel video installation “Whisper Ox” tells the story of the Amu Darya river (Ox), the waters of which connect the Pamirs with the Aral Sea, and the people who tell the ancient waters their dreams. The project will also be hosted the premiere of the new “Immortal letters” dedicated to the Sogdian language by Saodat Ismailova. Sogdian language today is considered dead (its last written monuments pertain to XI century), but the artist is sure that the language cannot die, continuing to live in the subconscious and collective memory. On the exhibition Qo'rg'on Chiroq Saodat Ismailova worked in collaboration with the senior curator of the London gallery Tate Modern Andrea Lissoni and the architects, co – founders of the Milan architectural bureau GRACE Ekaterina Golovatiuk and Giacomo Cantoni.

Saodat Ismailova, artist: “The name of my exhibition in Uzbek language sounds like “Kurgan chirok”. Kurgan is a word that does not need to be translated into Russian and is often associated with antiquity and mysteries of our ancestors. “Chirok” is translated as “light”, but at the same time it is the name of the ritual, which came to us from Zoroastrianism. Performing the ritual “chirok”, we light candles and lamps, symbolizing the relationship with the ancestors, with the forefathers and foremothers who live in the collective memory of our people. In addition, this image of light as a connection to me is very close, because, on the one hand, I work with the theme of collective memory, on the other hand, I am a video artist and at the heart of my art lies the same light”.

Andrea Lissoni, senior curator of the gallery Tate Modern: “Being for the first time in Uzbekistan about ten years ago, I immediately realized how unique and even precious the place is. The roots of this country go deep into the past: ancient traditions intertwined here with elements of Russian culture and traditional customs of nations, which for millennia inhabited boundless deserts and steppes. Saodat Ismailova has become a wonderful cultural envoy of this world. Working in Europe, she not only preserves her national identity, but also helps the development of the region. I remember how I met her at the beginning of the noughties. One of the rooms in her apartment in Treviso was framed as a yurt. It really touched me. I saw an original artist who deeply feels the history, music, writing and other forms of cultural memory, an artist who is constantly in search of new stories and ideas. Saodat uses the transforming power of art to tell wonderful stories about the amazing region in which she was born and grew up”.

Furthermore, on April 13 in Center for Contemporary Art will be held an open meeting with the author Saodat Ismailova and curator of the exhibition Andrea Lissoni, senior curator of the International Art Department of the Gallery of Contemporary Art Tate (London). At the meeting all participants will be able to ask questions, communicate with the author and curator, listen to their story about the history, concepts, complexities with which they encountered in the process of work on the exhibition and how they addressed them.

A pleasant addition to the concept of the exhibition will be film screenings of films by Ali Khamraev, a well-known Uzbek director, who was selected by the Saodat herself. In the cinema hall of the Center will be presented such tapes A. Khamraev as: “Triptych”, “Seventh bullet”, “Without fear” and “Man goes after birds”. The films of Ali Khamraev are dynamic both in the story development and in the color frame construction. His films, according to Saodat, subtly reflect the national way of life, keeping the modernity of our days.

In continuation of the dialogue with visitors, on April 18 Saodat Ismailova will hold a series of interactive master-classes for children from 5 to 7 years and their parents. After the excursion and conversation all participants will begin creative work. Master-classes will be aimed at joint family work.      

Saodat Ismailova (born on 1981) is an Uzbek director and video artist, a graduate of the faculty of directing of the State Institute of Arts of Uzbekistan and a scholarship holder of the Fabrica Research Center (Treviso, Italy). Among the works of Ismailova it is necessary to highlight the video poem “Zukhra” presented in the pavilion of Central Asia at the 55th Venice Biennale of contemporary art, the full – length film “40 Days of Silence”, the premiere of which took place at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival, and the documentary film “Aral. Fishing in The Invisible Sea” (together with Spanish director Carlos Casas, 2004). The works of Ismailova were exhibited in the New Gallery of Museums and art collections of Augsburg (Germany), in the Claude Levi – Strauss Theatre at the Museum on the quay Branly (Paris), in the Tromso Center for Contemporary Art (Norway). The International premiere of the theatrical performance “Kirk kiz” was held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in March 2018.

On exhibition

Dates of performance: April 13 – June 1, 2019

Opening: April 12, 2019

Venue: Center for Contemporary Art, 6, Block B, Amir Timur Street, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Curator: Andrea Lissoni

Co-Curator: Gayane Umerova

Artist: Saodat Ismailova

Organizer: Art and Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Exhibition opening hours: daily from 10:00 to 20:00


Admission to public lectures and  master classes for children is free of charge, by prior registration on the website of the Center for Contemporary Art (from March 25, 2019) and at: