Wedding: Girlish Dreams. Fakhriyya Mammadova at the Azerbaijan Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale.

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Fakhriyya Mammadova, born in Baku in 1974, is an artist, designer and photographer. She now works and lives in her hometown. She graduated from the Design Faculty of the Azer­baijan State Academy of Fine Arts in Baku in 2005. Since 2002 she has been a member of the Union of Artists of Azerbaijan and a member of the Union of Photographers of Azerbaijan since 2004.

She does restoration work on ceramics and sculpture and experiments with macro-photography. She showed her first photography installation work, using objects and ma­terials of differing textures, in the exhibition “Wings of Time” in Baku in 2000. Currently, Mammadova works with conceptual photography to capture the transitory moments of life.

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For “Ornamentation” at the 55th Venice Biennale, Mammadova has presented a photographic installation titled Wedding : Girlish Dreams, a wedding ceremony mixing tradition and modernity. The photographs, in kitsch golden circular wooden frames, are hung on opposite sides of the first floor main room at Palazzo Lezze, on fake white walls and spotlights shining down. Upon entering the space between the two walls, one can perceive the background sound of laughter, voices and music from the wedding portrayed in the photographs.

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The curator describes the images as showing “the fragments of a story of a young bride. The traditional Azeri wedding ceremony is observed from an exterior point of view, changing between a documentary and intimate perspective.” It is like experiencing a trip down memory lane, complete with sound, or standing inside a moment frozen in time, while the music and voices keep on moving forward. It’s between the personal and the anthropological. At times, one cannot help but identify with the people in the images, at times, it is the cold look of an observer that prevails. The sound most certainly does bring the scenes to life, although they are not moving images, making the installation something like a “still film.”

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Click here to read more on Ornamentation. The Azerbaijan Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale.

All Photographs: Fakhriyya Mammadova, ‘Wedding: Girlish Dreams’, 2013, 52 digital photographs, wooden frames, variable dimensions, sound. Azerbaijan Pavilion, 55th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. Photos by C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia.

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