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Can't Capture The Light

February 2 — March 12, 2017

Deweer Gallery

Otegem, Belgium


About the project

Aida Mahmudova does not work from an ideological framework, a preconceived philosophy or any conceptual theorization whatsoever. The only underlying idea is that of the creation itself. In all its honesty and authenticity. Mahmudova practices an intuitive, unrestricted form of painting in which she unleashes her boundless creativity, freedom, wildness, playfulness and expression. Her work is spontaneous without adhering to any teaching on spontaneity, talented without following academic rules. Her paintings are dissected by abstract, exciting shapes, dynamic lines and a free use of light and color. These appear in an organic manner during the creation process.


Her paintings can be situated in the long Azerbaijani tradition of oil painting. The original approach of the artist is indeed fully in line with it, through the use of a nontraditional, bright color palette, the use of enlargements and distortions as expressive means, a partaking in the freedom of expressionism and the courage to experiment with an abundance of paint. The painterly tradition of Azerbaijan readily embraces the awareness that paint can also be sculptural. Yet the artist also departs from that tradition, for example by abandoning the narrative that is present in the works of her predecessors. In addition, she also differentiates herself by applying objects onto the canvas. Mahmudova has an unabashed curiosity for interesting materials. She experiments with, among other things, large patches of resin, interspersed with rough blocks of charcoal, plaster and papier-mâché. This makes her works malleable, and through the build-up of materials, it extends into the third dimension. The work of the artist can as such also be read as a love play between painting and sculpture.


Looking at the work of Mahmudova does not lead to any particular understanding of the deeper structures of the world. Fact is that her creation process is always preceded by a period of travel and revitalization. After this, she feels a creative urge and starts to produce in an intense flow of several weeks. Through a physical, aggressive connection with the canvas she creates paintings that consist of fragments of the real and erroneous traces of memory. Striking is her interest in (sea) landscapes, but it does not do her work justice to limit her scope to this one theme. Both her monumental paintings and smaller works bristle with energy, tension and power. The various formats enter into a dialog with each other, through which reflections are made observable. A particularly poetic and lovely work is made up of more than thirty different flowerpots that are scattered throughout the space. These sculptures seem to form a kind of counterweight to the physically demanding canvases. On the inside, the artist applied various mysterious materials that seem to bring the flowerpots to life. We can read these works as thought models of landscapes. A suggestion of tiny marshes, collapsed volcanoes or other cosmic elements, created by Mahmudova.

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