ORKHAN MAMMADOV

New media artist & designer, working with a focus on the representation of middle eastern culture through innovative art-making methods.

a Artist Statement

New media artist & designer, working with a focus on the representation of eastern culture through innovative art-making methods. Orkhan immersed himself in new media flows in global trends and became fascinated by local youth subcultures to investigate redemption of history and culture. He examines the new conditions of cultural heritage perception with technically advantaged realities. As a primary core of his practice, Mammadov is focused on how the cultural and historical codes integrate a new forward-looking medium, virtual reality, into contemporary views of our everyday life. His multilayered practice blurs a range of ornaments and digital works, as well as working interactive methods through the artistic production of the conceptual moving image, heavy new media installations, and technical forensics applications. His spatial juxtaposition, a kind of thought experiment emerges for the audience, raising questions about the intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic implications of artificial visual worlds.

Born and raised in Azerbaijan’s culturally rich Ganja city which gifted to the world poets such as Mahsati and Nizami Ganjavi, Orkhan was immersed by his deeply personal interest in regenerating history, society, and national identity through making AI-art relatable to the new generation of youth. By strong research-based practice, Orkhan’s works unquestionably display the significance of the traditions and history, to understanding and caring for the legacy of tangible and intangible heritage assets from Azerbaijan as well as from the Middle East. Nationally he is recognized by his striking visuals and interactive installation, such as in the recent series of AI-generated work Repetition (2018-present), which explored the alienation and escapism felt by a disaffected and displaced culture that cast itself as a fictional but physical element. The interplay between virtual and real worlds, utopia and dystopia, and the body and technology would remain major themes for Mammadov, as his cultural commentary became increasingly pointed.

Orkhan’s practice spans from exploring complicated relations between cultural heritage + society + science + human interaction and positioning himself as a conversation starter of such narratives. Orkhan has consistently focused on the complicated Middle Eastern patterns and kilim motifs, rather than popularized common leitmotifs, he emerges on the many official and unofficial emblems that represent the diversity of the culture from historically the near east countries. Orkhan creates his works in a form of series to explore his interest area in a broader sense, as well as blurring the similarities and disproportion in between subjects such as nature + human interaction, science + social studies, that allows the audience to get a clear understanding of the symbolization.

What began as experimentation to play and have fun became a part of his workflow. Orkhan is also interested in illustrating and animating culture and heritage, in the exploration of the NFT (non-fungible token) artworks on BLOCKCHAIN technology, where he is given a broader perspective to investigate the global trend and a cognitive orientation in popular culture. Sociological pressures emerging from the complexity of patterns, technological development, Mammadov fluidly shifting between re-documenting contemporary visual anthropology and becoming utopianist.

d Biography

Orkhan Mammadov (b. 1990, Ganja) is pioneering and one of the few innovative media artists from Azerbaijan + since exhibition with YARAT in 2013, who have also emerged on the international scene since representing his home country in the Venice Biennial in 2019. Currently based in New York, meanwhile traveling around the world in search of new expressiveness in the post-pandemic world. He mixes eastern heritage representation, popular aesthetics, references to surrealism, and documentary conventions in his AI (artificial intelligence) & ML (machine learning) based installations. His works reflect on the rapid and chaotic changes that are occurring in technology in the global context with rethinking Middle Eastern cultural heritage.

Orkhan’s works have been exhibited at a number of international biennales and triennials, including Art Dubai in Dubai, UAE (2022), Art Basel in Miami, USA (2021), Moscow International Contemporary Art Biennale in Moscow, Russia (2019), Venice Biennale de Arte in Venice, Italy (2019), Nasimi Festival in Baku, Azerbaijan (2018), Gamma Festival in ST. Petersburg, Russia (2018), IF Istanbul International Film Festival in Istanbul, Turkey (2017), ACCU Festival in Prague, Czech Republic (2017), Dave Festival in Dresden, Germany (2017).

d Exhibitions & Shows

Art Dubai 2022

Miami Art Basel 2021

Future of Textile 2021

Contemporary Istanbul 2021

Venice Biennale 2019

Moscow International Contemporary Art Biennale 2019

Lunchmeat Festival 2019

Gamma Festival 2018

Dave Festival 2018

Lunchmeat Festival 2017

Intervals Festival 2017

YARAT Freestyle: 2 Point Perspective 2016

YARAT FreeStyle: VOID Project 2015

Yarat! Public Art Festival 2013