You currently live in Baku, is there a big art-scene there?

I can say that I work in Baku but live in different places all around the world. Baku left the USSR quite recently and it was a breath of fresh air for everybody. Sad to say, but long years of isolation has affected the art as well and it’s been stuck in the 1970s and 80s.

Baku is going through major changes and Yarat [Contemporary Art Space] is playing the greatest role in this process. Also there are people who started becoming art collectors and there is the first contemporary art gallery – YAY gallery. It’s the beginning of a long journey and that’s why it’s very difficult to define the contemporary art scene in Azerbaijan at the moment.

Conversation, 2012

How did you decide to start working with rugs and what was involved in this process?

I started researching ancient symbols and found a lot of analogues and similarities in different cultures all around the globe. We could call it anthropological research of cultures that have never been connected with each other, despite the symbols carrying similar meanings. I started finding these symbols in the carpets and each symbol has it’s own meaning so it’s basically a language. A carpet is a kind of book which you can read if you know the words. When I made up my mind to work with a carpet as an art object it was very difficult because you can’t make anything with a perfect and complete object like this. It was a complicated period of my life and I realised that I have to change myself to see these everyday objects differently. It has given the carpet either new life or a total death because the old meaning was destroyed completely but at the same time it’s got a whole new meaning.

Oiling, 2012

Oiling, 2012

Do you have a preferred medium?

I like working with ancient materials and objects that we see every day. Let’s say it’s an ordinary spoon, but sometimes it happens to be an ancient object with deep concept that has travelled along the history of humanity. These objects are magical and they already exist in out subconsciousness.

What do you do to stay inspired?

I’m always moving, analysing myself and everything that surrounds me. An artist can be inspired by himself more than anything else.

The rugs have received a lot of hype; do you have a favourite?

I don’t have a favourite carpet because I feel like they’re not mine.  I make them but I give them away immediately. I share them.

Invert, 2014

Invert, 2014

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

Yes, I’m working on four different projects which will be shown in different places during the year. The most interesting one will take place at the beginning of 2016 in Rome. I’ll be showing different artworks based on different objects of ancient cultures and beliefs. These objects can be found in all ancient civilisations which really unites them. We see these kind of magic and religious objects everyday, everywhere, but never think where they come from, what they are for and why we use them. These kind of ideas are passed from generation to generation subconsciously.

Any plans on any other exhibitions globally?

The next one will take place in New Delhi in October, it will be a personal show inspired by India and some of the works will be made by traditional Indian craftsmen. There also will be shows in Bahrain, Dubai, Doha and London.

What do you think the purpose of art is?

Art has no goal and that’s why this totally illogical activity survived throughout the ages of human society. An activity with no goal formulates different points of view. The most alternative way of thinking belongs to artists.

Why do you make art?

It is very personal. It’s like asking why a shaman does shamanism.

Instability, 2010

Instability, 2010

Do you think there is a difference between art for the masses and art for the educated? Who would you like your work to appeal to?

The masses need entertainment and art is an entertainment for the brain, but when it goes to the subconscious it becomes important for a particular human being. I think my artworks are made for these kind of people. I have to talk to millions of people to reach ten of them.

What’s been the most challenging part of your journey?

When I lost this eternal source where all my inspiration comes from. It’s like loosing faith and it was the hardest challenge. I felt like a wolf without prey or like grass without earth. The rest is a matter of time and money.

And the best part so far?

The art has changed me. Now I’m the person I want to be.

Rapture, 2010

Rapture, 2010

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