Gazelli Art House is pleased to present Aida Mahmudova’s new body of work in her debut solo show, Liminality, curated by Alistair Hicks. Commenting on her rapidly modernising country’s forgotten and marginal corners, Mahmudova uses art as an outlet to give a feeling of stability to co-exist in this unprecedented environment. Art gives no boundaries and opens to any communicational variations for the artist. The works on show are shrouded by an aura of metaphysical fog — adding a layer of surrealism and positioning each piece as a memory that is fading within time and space.

Aida Mahmudova @Gazelli Art House

The concept of space is closely investigated through the lens of the artist. As Mahmudova explains, “we exist within space, we co-exist in parallel, and space exists within us.” Space can be a place where one physically or spiritually exists, creating the concept of one’s reality and illusions. Marc Augé’s concept of ‘non-places’ explores the idea of transition or the liminal, as a crossroad of human relations to what humans perceive but only partially and incoherently. Mahmudova explores the dichotomy of private and public, places and non-places, spaces and non-spaces.

Aida Mahmudova, 41.0100155, 47.8809768, 2022, Mixed media on canvas, 150 x 140 cm

The mixed media paintings in Liminality are influenced by nature’s powerful force. Titled after their geolocations, 41.2026553, 48.2629696, reflect a turbulent river, meandering through rocks and bioforms — a representation of the volatility and beauty of the natural world. The sculptures on display take inspiration from constructivist manmade structures and architecture: echoing the lack of safety and stability in the built world and the transient nature of human life in comparison to natural landscapes and materials. An array of natural elements such as stones and corals are present across various works, symbolising the longevity of everlasting constructions created naturally.


Aida Mahmudova, 41.2026553, 48.2629696, 2022. Mixed media on canvas, 120 x 150 cm

By shedding light on liminality, or threshold crossing, Mahmudova explores spaces of transition. Liminality has both spatial and temporal dimensions and can be applied to various subjects: individuals, communities, societies, and entire civilisations. On the contrary, nature has a sense of stability, timeless and open space, which Mahmudova regularly returns to as a source of inspiration.

Aida Mahmudova, 40.4555557, 50.2624874, 2022. Mixed media on canvas, 100 x 100 cm

“It’s the artist and the medium. The never-ending relationship between me and the other resembles perpetual conversation. It takes full involvement from both sides. The act itself is the purest form of creation. This, in turn, gives you a unique opportunity to engage in authentic and unguarded communication with unfolding perspectives. It connects and unites us in the moment of now, giving versatile, unpredictable and beautiful outcomes.” – Aida Mahmudova

About the Curator:

Alistair Hicks, former Senior Curator at Deutsche Bank, is the author of the Global Art Compass (Thames and Hudson). He is the curator of Doublethink: Doublevision, an exhibition at the Pera Museum in Istanbul in 2017 that shows artists from around the world reassessing the way we think. Much of his work is aimed at trying to cut through the art politics and artspeak to show how rich and diverse our times are. While at Deutsche Bank his main job was selecting and presenting art to purchase committees. He created the Man Booker Library while he was art advisor to Man Group. Currently he is on the art advisory board of Cliveden Advisory, the Advisory Committee of Unseen Art Fair (Amsterdam) , on the Global Art Advisory Committee of Hana Bank Global HR Center Art Collection and is a contributor and advisor to Russian Art Focus. He advises private clients. Hicks has been an art critic for such diverse publications as The Spectator, The Times, The Financial Times, Apollo and Vogue.

Aida Mahmudova (B.1982; Baku, Azerbaijan)

Aida Mahmudova is an Azerbaijani artist and founder of YARAT Contemporary Art Space (Baku). She holds a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design (London). Her work has been exhibited internationally and uses a variety of techniques and media. Despite a varied practice, the artist’s main focus remains her exploration of material as a tool for experimenting with and navigating the world she inhabits. Early on in her work, Mahmudova developed a curiosity towards material, which manifested itself through experimentation with light, colour and matter in her landscapes and semiabstract canvases. As her paintings became increasingly more layered the artist expanded her practice into the three dimensional, applying the same approach to sculpture and creating environments both emotive and intense. The artist continually mixes layer upon layers of widely diverse material, such as paper, clay, paint, cement, stone, and, more recently, epoxy resin and untreated marble. These materials take on an almost human quality for the artist as she explores the ways in which they connect, interact and affect one another. Deeply intuitive, the artist uses these experiments as tools for her own material growth and emotional healing.

For Mahmudova the process is everything and her textured works act as tokens of memory, each layer exposing a particular moment on the artist’s personal time-space continuum. Harmonious with the physical nature of her chosen materials and her preferred earthly palette, Mahmudova’s oeuvre continues to invoke the full spectrum of universal human sentiments of love, loss, memory and desire.

In 2011, Aida Mahmudova founded YARAT Contemporary Art Space as a hub for supporting the work of young artists both locally and internationally. After many years of successful operation and international programming, YARAT now boasts three exhibition spaces in Baku with dynamic, commission-based programming by leading international, regional, and Azerbaijani artists, as well as an Artist Residency programme and an array of Public and Educational Programs and Events.