Beginning in the Middle: Conversations on the Post-Soviet edited by Elsbeth Dekker & Robbie Schweiger

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Beginning in the Middle. Conversations on the Post-Soviet, edited and compiled by Elsbeth Dekker and Robbie Schweiger, explores the works, lives and travels of artists coming from a (post-) Soviet context. The conversations delve deeper into questions of art and (de)colonisation in countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia, most of which recently celebrated their 30th anniversary of independence.

Departing from Dutch collections and exhibitions, the conversations try to grapple with questions on the meaning and relationships that these artworks and artists are enabling. Touching upon various notions of time, space and perception, it wonders how to include other stories and voices into Dutch collections and Western stories of art. Three travelogues by Furqat Palvan-Zade take these conversations to another time and place – all the way across Eurasia and back to the Netherlands.

Including interviews with Umida Akhmedova, Babi Badalov, Saodat Ismailova, Gulnara Kasmalieva & Muratbek Djumaliev, Taus Makhacheva, Yerbossyn Meldibekov, Almagul Menlibayeva, Maria Mkrtycheva, Furqat Palvan-Zade, Alexander Ugay.

'The artists showed us that their post-Soviet reality is never an either/
or situation, it is not a monolith, but something fluid and subject to change. Adapting to circumstances; transcending territorial boundaries; exploring the archetypes, spaces in-between, ‘underwater’ processes, shapes of disrupted figures and pathways, and different passings of time without clear origins or futures.’ 
- Elsbeth Dekker, Robbie Schweiger