Faig Ahmed: Collision, on check out now via Might 15 at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, throws a digital wrench into the traditional looms on which Azerbaijan weaves its environment-well-known carpets. Inscribed by UNESCO in 2010 on the Consultant Listing of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the classic artwork of Azerbaijani carpet-weaving embeds numerous strands of gender and racial id into a seasonal observe which is elementary to the country’s social system. Adult men shear the sheep in spring, ladies spin and dye the wool in summer and autumn, and lastly, women of all ages and ladies conduct the weaving in the very long, cold winters. Every carpet carries a precise indicating in its structure, generally commemorating milestones these kinds of as the start of a youngster, a marriage, or a funeral.
Ahmed, centered in Baku, has remodeled these symbolic objects as a result of digital know-how, manufacturing radical rugs that drip, unravel, and pool in amazing, psychedelic methods. In “Gautama,” standard rug styles on the left and right sides of a horizontal carpet collapse and stream downward in the heart to variety a a few-petaled swirling pool on the floor. Via this attention-grabbing disruption of what is ordinarily a static and highly organized rectangular layout, Ahmed introduces aspects of time and motion into the eternity of Azerbaijan custom.
In other recent pieces, this sort of as “Nizami Ganjavi,” the vertical progression of the standard carpet design dissolves as it descends, getting rid of colour and sample until eventually it results in being a cascade of white woolen froth. “Doubt” reprises the digital swerve of “Gautama” in a vertical orientation, and an previously piece, “Door of Doors” from 2016, reveals the artist on the verge of discovering this strikingly primary creative passageway.
Without a a lot more personal expertise of Azerbaijan society, it is challenging to know what these carpets mean in that context. 1 thing, though, is absolutely sure — the show’s title, “Collision,” succeeds in capturing the ability of its visual influence. See sloma.org.