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OIL FIELD PAINTINGS

crude oil sludge on can­vas, 85 x 120 cm each
2017

The works of the series “Oil Field Paint­ings” were cre­at­ed on one of the world’s old­est oil fields, in Bibi Hey­bat, Baku. In a kind of »Plein Air« action, iron­i­cal­ly engag­ing tra­di­tions of land­scape paint­ing – such as Impres­sion­ist as well as Abstract Expres­sion­ist tech­niques – crude oil is tak­en direct­ly from oil spills in the land­scape and car­ried onto white can­vas­es. Applied in coarse ges­tures, the paint­ings are record­ings of the dif­fer­ent mate­r­i­al char­ac­ter­is­tics and aes­thet­ic qual­i­ties of oil. Either liq­uid or dried, con­cen­trat­ed or mixed with rain water or soil, rang­ing in col­or from dark black to light brown, with dif­fer­ent tex­tures and hap­tic prop­er­ties, the works cap­ture crude oil’s dif­fer­ent mate­r­i­al states, depend­ing on which part of the oil pit the oil was tak­en from. Con­sid­er­ing this fas­ci­nat­ing­ly wide spec­trum of appear­ances, oil’s archa­ic mytho­log­i­cal impli­ca­tions become under­stand­able. It is not with­out rea­son that in ancient Greece oil was also known under the name »Oil of Medea«, which alludes to the fact that Medea is said to have used it for mag­i­cal rit­u­als. The per­for­mance-like “rit­u­al” of paint­ing the “Oil Field Paint­ings” was inter­rupt­ed by the secu­ri­ty force con­trol­ling the Biby Hey­bat oil fields, fore­ground­ing the ter­ri­to­r­i­al pow­er rela­tions, in which this valu­able resource is enmeshed.

„Oil Field Paint­ings“ on the Bibi Hey­bat oil fields, Baku, 2017

paint­ings per­for­mance on the Bibi Hey­bat oil fields, Baku, 2017

paint­ings per­for­mance on the Bibi Hey­bat oil fields, Baku, 2017

paint­ings per­for­mance on the Bibi Hey­bat oil fields, Baku, 2017

„Oil Field Paint­ings“, 2017

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