The exhibition “Saodat Ismayilova. Double Horizon” is a first for this Uzbek artist in France

“Saodat Ismayilova” for the first time in France. Organized jointly by Le Fresnoy – Studio national des Arts Contemporains and Center Pompidou, “Double Horizon” is dedicated to the great Uzbek artist from February 10 to April 30, 2023 and at Le Fresnoy – Studio national des Arts Contemporains in Tourcoing presented.

Saodat Ismayilova has created a unique cinematographic work that encompasses history and myth with one gesture. It adopts the great tradition of observational cinema to create a new language that seeks to explain buried cultures and beliefs rendered invisible by the clean slate of the 20th century.e century Seodat Ismayilova. Double Horizon, the first exhibition dedicated to the Uzbek artist in France, brings together a rich network of artistic dialogues from Central Asia and elsewhere around his major works.


Saodat Ismayilova’s visual and sound studies penetrate into story fragments and hidden social realities. His work questions the divisive memory where ancestral beliefs and traces of Russian and Soviet rule overlap. The brutality of the female condition, the degradation of natural resources, the stubborn mysteries of life, the magical experience and the nostalgia of the Absolute unite the many strands of her dazzling cinematographic writing, pondered in the knowledge of the ancestors, often unseen and still passing through today. from one generation to another.


Six of the artist’s greatest works are displayed in the exhibition: Zukhra (2013), Letters (2014-2017), Reading spots (2016), Two Horizons (2017), The Haunted (2018) and Chillahona (2022), recently established for 59e The Venice Biennale is also a laboratory space where he can explore works in progress. From this set, the path diverges into various artistic encounters that accompany thoughtIsmailovabrings together key pieces from Chingiz Aydarov, Vyacheslav Akhunov, Andrius Arutiunyan, Maya Bajevic, Joseph Beuys, Mona Hatum, Babur Ismayilov, Gulnara Kasmaliyeva, Rustam Khalfin, Sergey Maslov, Henri Michaux, Deymantas Narkevichius, Sara Ouhaddou, Zineb Tanya, Fionab Sedira, and Viktor Vorobyev. Some are appearing for the first time in Europe.

About Saodat Ismayilova

Born in Takht in 1981, Saodat Ismayilova studied film and television at the National Art Institute in Tashkent, the ancestral cradle of Russian traditions from the Soviet era. Since making his first short films in the mid-2000s, exploring the diverse cultures that shape Central Asia has been central to his practice. He is particularly interested in the ritual practices of music and dance, as well as changes in the landscape. During the 20th century, this intensive mining and heavy industrye century Gradually incorporating physical objects, his work is the result of field research into vernacular traditions that survived Soviet rule.


In 2013, he represented Central Asia at the Venice Biennale with his video work Zukhra, based on the mythology surrounding the planet Venus. Here the artist finds the first knot of intimacy, intimate collective mythology and macrohistory. The work listens to the subconsciousness of a young sleeping girl, which is similar to a dream: it testifies to Ismayilova’s dream research collected from rural communities.


In 2018, the artist graduated from Le Fresnoy – Studio milli, where he created two installations with multiple projections: Reading spots (2016) describe the Amu Darya River, which flows from Central Asia through the Pamirs to the Aral Sea. Two Horizons (2017) link the Baikonur space station in Russia to the first shamans who once inhabited the same area. Photo series Letters (2014-2017) and film The Haunted (2018) delicately describes the idea that encrypted memory is in danger of disappearing between the constant rewriting of Central Asian languages ​​and the totemic image of the once-sacred Caspian tiger. species that do not withstand intensive land use.

In 2022, he participated in the Venice Biennale and Documenta in Kassel and was awarded the Eye Award for the Eye Film Museum in Amsterdam.


Saodat Semaïlova with Chingiz Aydarov, Vyacheslav Akhunov, Andrius Arutiunian, Maja Bajevic, Joseph Beuys, Muratbek Cumaliev and Gulnara Kasmalieva, Mona Hatoum, Rustam Khalfin, Sergey Maslov, Henri Michaux, Deimantas Narkevicius, Sarana Fiddau, Sarana Fiddou.

with exclusive credits from M HKA, Antwerp Museum of Modern Art for his works Rustam Khalfin and Sergey Maslov.

Police station

Marcella ListaChief Curator, New Media Collection, National Museum of Modern Art – Center Pompidou Paris and Pascale PronnierFresnoy – Responsible for artistic programming at the National Studio of Contemporary Art.

Practical information

Seodat Ismayilova. Dual Horizon » – Exhibition from February 10 to April 30, 2023
Le Fresnoy – National Contemporary Art Studio / 22 rue du Fresnoy 59200 Tourcoing /

Emma Lynx

Image credits:
1/ Saodat Ismayilova, Zukhra, 2013, Courtesy of the artist
2/ Saodat Ismayilova, Letters. Abdulaziz 1904, 2014-2019, Courtesy of the artist
3/ Saodat Ismayilova, Two Horizons, 2017, produced by Le Fresnoy – National Studio
4/ Maja Bajevic, Women at Work (Under Construction), 1999, ADAGP

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