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Faig Ahmed. Between tradition and new techniques

The young artist Faig Ahmed, born and educated in Azerbaijan, created some pieces for the exhibition space MACRO in Rome. His first solo exhibition in MACRO is an interesting mix of site-specific, interactive- and body-art. The “heart” of the exhibition is -in fact- a huge installation which uses the big hall of the museum to present the spectator a serie of green carpets, which cover the entire ground and which gradually go up, creating a kind of wave that seems to symbolize the pray of the muslims, whose direction is heaven, house of God.

Faig Ahmed transforms through his works the symbolic and the imaginary to something physical, and invites the beholder to reflect upon it; his invitation is clear and explicit: the visitor is in fact spurred to walk on the carpets (after having removed the shoes!) and interact directly with the work of art. While walking on the carpets, the spectator finds itself in the middle of this monumental work of art, which goes against the gravity law, and he feels itself both overwhelmed and amazed.

In the exhibition we also find the famous “carpet works”, that are the focus of Ahmed's art at the moment. What the artist does, is to re-adapt the traditional central asian carpets to the contemporary design techniques. What is surprising about these carpets is the perfect balance between tradition and innovation; Ahmed ideates digital patterns, that will be later transferred to the traditional carpets by real artisans from Azerbaijan, using traditional looms. The fact that Ahmed starts with the digital, in order to create a final traditional work, is particularly interesting, as nowadays the process is normally the other way round. By preferring the traditional to the digital, his “carpet works” do not lose their religious dimension and -in the same time- they acquire a new modern dimension, which (again) let the eye of the spectator get lost in the unique and bizarre fabric waves, pixels, drops and abstract structures.

The carpet represent the garden, and therefore the paradise in the islamic tradition, and it is an object with a tight connection to the sacre and the act of praying, an “ancient and stable” object under “the process of such an easy transformation” states the artist in his official page, and later he says “fabrics are objects that humanity is using from the beginning of times, till nowadays “. The artist decided to use this object (full of symbolic strength) in order to create a relation between modernity and ancient traditions and in order to explore the boundaries of mysticism and reality and to go beyond the senses. Art is a way of creation which knows no limits and which can use infinite languages and Ahmed chose the one of textile, the artist affirms that he is fascinated by textile and fabrics, and that these represent for him “words and phrases that can be read and translated to a language we understand”.

If Oleg Grabar compared the ancient decoration in islamic art to the symphony of an orchestra, then we may compare Ahmed carpets' weaving to a free jazz song. This is the amazing feature in Ahmed's art: the tradition becomes future.

Fotos © Carmen Frigerio

MACRO Museo D´Arte Contemporanea Roma

10/02 - 29/03/2016

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