Internal piece in a moving exterior
Memory is the material of my work. Our sense of identity and personal development is stitched together from the events that we participate in and how we choose to reflect upon those experiences. I think that it is important for every person to contemplate his or her sense of self. Reflecting on and questioning one’s memories and how those memories form our identity is one life’s greatest challenges. It is often more comfortable to avoid questioning how one’s experiences inform their identity. However, this is something I do, always.
In order to understand myself I try to go back. But going back is never easy. Even the happiest memories often manifest with a sense of sadness, loss, and loneliness. This results in memories of a beautiful past, and an awareness of an unstable present and unknown future. Such reflections allow one to reveal, examine, and work through many questions regarding the ‘self’.
We are surrounded by our memories, both inside and outside. Some memories are blurry and their details remain veiled with a degree of uncertainty; yet, even those memories that are most clear maintain an ambiguous quality. Remembering is recreating the past. Sometimes our memories are a trick of our subconscious. These distorted recollections take an altered shape and call forth recollections of fictional or mysterious characters. Every time we look back we discover something different, presuming that we have simply remembered more. But it’s not more; it’s new. Our mind allows for intrusions in different shapes and forms to participate in our remembered past. Our memories change and our subconscious mind adapts them to our present situation, allowing us to better relate to and understand our present reality.
Once we acknowledge these re-surfaced fragments of memory, we intuitively apply them to our everyday life, which eventually becomes our past. Thus, a circle is created. Intuition leads us in a particular direction and guides us down a path that is informed by constructed memories. Intuition is a message from the subconscious—the heart of our identity.
My art is a constant and continued investigation of my memory, as it informs my identity. The touchstone of this search and the main source of my inspiration are the forgotten, un-touched, and un-developed locations in Azerbaijan. Our physical world is shifting at a pace so rapid that our memories are frequently blurred, and our ‘remembered’ past is often forgotten or altered by our subconscious. This confuses our identity. These un-modernized locales function as a ‘missing link’. They are a fulcrum that connects the actual past with the remembered past. They are the fabric of my identity—the fiction and the reality, the memory and the present moment, the subconscious and the conscious. Physically experiencing the concrete reality of these sites allows me to re-experience and re-visit the places of my past. These encounters help me to re-capture the past within the present moment. The tangible relics of Azerbaijan’s past are timeless and transient, universal and specific, and they are the fabric I use to give material form to the intangible memories that inform my present identity and my art.