Muraqqa: Interplay of Reality and Interpretation at the Venice Biennale 2019




La Biennale di Venezia


Azerbaijan Pavilion


Venice, Italy


The artist has reproduced original miniature paintings and represented them as a linear digital story. The authentic traditional Muraqqa becomes a source for the construction of an alternative virtual replica. The artist has added his stories to the original content and created a video installation. He sets the characters of the Muraqqa in motion to play with plot development, and animated effects demonstrate its artificiality.


Deep within the corridors of history, Azerbaijan's art has left an indelible mark, a tapestry of stories waiting to be unfurled. "Muraqqa" invites viewers on an evocative journey through this landscape, encapsulating myriad miniature styles spanning diverse epochs. The term 'Muraqqa', in Arabic, refers to a carefully curated album of these intricate miniatures. At a cursory glance, these images resonate with conventional realism, their structure seemingly rooted in stillness. Yet, delve deeper, and one discerns a whirlwind of inner dynamics, each frozen frame bursting with the promise of stories untold and actions uncharted.

The artist's endeavor is not just a homage to the past but also a bridge to the present and future. Taking these cherished fragments of history, the artist embarks on a meticulous journey of reinvention. The original miniatures are not just replicated but reshaped into a captivating linear digital tale. This transformation transcends mere digital reproduction – it manifests as a virtual reimagination of the traditional Muraqqa, an alternative reality where the old meets the new.

Layering personal stories onto the foundational content, the artist crafts a multi-dimensional video installation. The once-static characters from the Muraqqa burst into vibrant motion, weaving intricate plotlines that oscillate between the realms of reality and animation. This dynamic interplay brings to the fore the underlying artificiality of the endeavor, blurring the lines between what is real and what is imagined.

For the viewer, the experience is nothing short of a transcendental voyage. Immersed in this world, one is prompted to question the authenticity of the stories that the miniatures convey. Were they, right from their inception, products of the artist's flights of fancy? As the animation oscillates between tales as whimsical as fairytales and as grounded as historical facts, the viewer navigates a complex terrain, challenging the very nature of interpretation. This journey into the heart of the art lays bare the malleability of content, showcasing the multifaceted ways it can be molded, adapted, and presented.

Echoing the themes of the Azerbaijan Biennale Arte 2019, which spotlighted the challenges of fake news in our era, "Muraqqa" serves as a poignant reminder of the vast expanse of interpretations available to us. A single image, a solitary fact, can birth a myriad of narratives. Through "Muraqqa," the artist not only challenges the viewers to confront their preconceived notions but also encourages them to weave their own tales, to find new connections, and to contextualize images in an age where discerning the truth becomes ever more challenging. Here, in the interplay of past and present, of fact and fiction, "Muraqqa" beckons one to explore, reimagine, and redefine narratives.

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Video Documentary
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