Between Heaven and Earth

14 September - 13 November 2011

Curated by David Elliott

Vyacheslav Akhunov, Shaarbek Amankul, Said Atabekov, Baasanjav Choijiljavin, Ulan Djaparov, Natalya Dyu, Mariam Ghani, Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev, Rustam Khalfin, Galim Madanov and Zauresh Terekbay, Erbossyn Meldibekov, Almagul Menlibayeva, Timur Mirzakhmedov, Saken Narynov, Aleksander Nikolaev, Ekaterina Nikonorova, Rashid Nurekeyev, Aleksei Rumyantsev, Oksana Shatalova, Aleksei Shindin, Aleksander Ugay, Uuriintuya, Viktor Vorobyev and Elena Vorobyeva


Between Heaven and Earth is a ground-breaking and timely exhibition which will bring to UK audiences a strong sense of the overlooked, yet exceptionally vibrant contemporary art that is being made in the former Soviet Republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as in Afghanistan and Mongolia.

The persistent mythology of the Silk Road, as well as the ‘Great Game‘ played out between the British and Russian Empires in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, has dominated the Western view of these mysterious lands. More recently, however, these rich cultural and physical landscapes have been dismissed in the West as the ‘Stans’ and downgraded to theatres of environmental degradation, religious conflict and war. The result of such a reductive approach, is a perception radically different from the truth: one that is devoid of nuance and processed into inhuman clichés of a “Borat” style, post-Soviet wasteland.

The exhibition depicts a radically different ‘landscape‘. Featuring over twenty artists and artist groups, many of whom have not been seen in the UK before, the exhibition examines the recent emergence of a vital, critical, self confident contemporary art throughout Central Asia, challenging ingrown prejudices and stereotypes.

Between Heaven and Earth is curated by Berlin-based curator and writer David Elliott, former Director of the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, Moderna Museet (the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Stockholm), the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Istanbul Modern, and the Biennale of Sydney. He has worked and published extensively on Russian, East European and Asian art as well as on many other aspects of modern and contemporary art.