Voyage En Fleurs | A Solo Show of Sculptures by Fidan Bagirova
The Untitled Space
45 Lispenard St Unit 1W, NYC 10013
November 7 – 20 | 10am – 6pm
(Sundays by appointment)
Fidan Bagirova is bringing positivity and unity to our dangerously divisive world. Her latest series of sculptures, Voyage En Fleurs will debut at The Untitled Space, marking the artist’s first ever solo show. Curated by Stacy Engman, the exhibition sees Fidan using flowers, a motif familiar to cultures all around the globe, to symbolize togetherness and human perseverance. Voyage En Fleurs not only references abstract expressionism but also immigration issues and “the dreams of a new life epitomized by the free movement of peoples.”
At first glance the art pieces in Voyage En Fleurs appear to be strong and shiny structures but upon closer review the floral forms reveal battered surfaces and fragile composition similar in delicateness to the flowers they reference which in turn speaks to the human condition. Of her latest work, the artist states:
“Each individual struggles to present the most beautiful version of themselves in spite of trials and tribulations endured to reach this point. As such the abstract flowers of Voyage En Fleurs have their own life, albeit one born of imagination. The imagination is always a double-edged sword, encompassing both hope and the potential for broken dreams, but it is the endless potential of the imagination that remains alluring…Faced by a society that seems to strive for beauty and perfection it is possible that core human values such as warmth and soul might easily be lost. But it is the fragile balance between the two, the appeal of this beautiful elusive potential, that this work is intended to provoke. -Fidan Bagirova
Although this is the artist’s debut show, Voyage En Fleurs is already generating significant buzz and has attracted interest and pre-sales from two time Best Film Oscar winner Paul Haggis, the world’s leading novelist Sir Salman Rushdie, Vogue Uomo and Italia contributing editor Rushka Bergman, actor and philanthropist Adrian Grenier, and former critically acclaimed Fugees band singer and now producer Pras Michel. Don’t miss Voyage En Fleurs at The Untitled Space and read below for a conversation between Fidan and curator, Stacy Engman.
Stacy Engman: The first thing that struck me about your work is that your materials of smashed metal are reminiscent of heroic modernist male artists such as John Chamberlain, yet you are working as an international female artist.
Fidan Bagirova: I admit I never knew I would be crafting flowers at a metal factory in New York. I followed my imagination and feelings and had a desire to express my visions of unity. Living in New York, there are many concrete buildings and I missed colorful energy. My abstract flowers are bright yet smashed, hence imperfect. Behind all that vibrancy there has also been a lot of struggle and that too is beautiful.
SE: Describe your fabrication approach and the process of working with recycled aluminum sheets with your own hands. Why is this intimacy with materials so important to you?
FB: The process of forming aluminum sheets into abstract sculptures is a very spontaneous, interactive and instinctual procedure. I believe in doing everything myself and feel my energy in my pieces. I would rather have smaller sculptures that have been handmade by myself, it’s more emotional.
SE: What are the aims of your series and how does fashion inspire your work?
FB: I am interested in engaging with issues of religious reconciliation, peace, and harmony by invoking the traditional symbolism as a means of communication on both human and cultural level. I believe fashion and art are one, both are a tool to express our emotional state. Fashion inspires me by its textures, vibrant colors, and proportions as much as art does. I pick the colors I feel drawn to and let the crafting excite and surprise me in process. Finally, I stop once I feel satisfied with how it looks.
SE: You mentioned that your experience growing up in an international community at boarding school in Geneva served as a creative incubator for your work. How did this inspire you?
FB: I was in boarding school from a very young age and it was wonderful experience because I grew up being surrounded by people from all over the world – from Australia, China to Africa. I truly believe this was a blessing and made me feel like a true citizen of the world. It definitely contributed to my creative visions and my voice as an artist, we must realize and accept each other and focus on what we have in common and not on our differences.
SE: Abstracted floral motifs are the focus of this show, how does this theme resonate for you as an artist?
FB: I believe in unity of our world. Using floral themes that every culture, religion, country, and gender can relate to inspires a positive feeling. Flowers are like a reaching hand of friendship, love, affection, and positive emotions. They are a reminder of those positive human emotions we all share no matter our differences (those emotions are the main factors that make us human and not robots). Kindness is what I value the most in the human race and flowers represent this kind and warm hearted human gesture.
Fidan Bagirova (Swiss, born 1988) is a contemporary artist. Her work focuses on exploring the dynamics of evoking and expressing positive emotions through multimedia projects. Reminiscent of abstract expressionism, she employs industrial materials with a discordant combination of techniques, styles, and colors that unravel in new forms. Fidan is interested in societal issues of immigration, engaging with religious reconciliation, multiculturalism, peace and harmony. Her work challenges, “What it is to be a person living in the world? What do identity, dreams and beauty mean and why people are compelled to transform theirs?” Bagirova is a graduate of University of Geneva, received a masters from London City University and additionally attended New York Film Academy and Inchbald School of Design in London, UK.
About the curator Stacy Engman:
Stacy Engman is a fine-art curator based in New York City. Her past exhibitions and projects have been presented at international art museums and esteemed institutions including the Andy Warhol Museum, the Salvador Dali Museum, the Museum of Modern Art / PS1, the National Arts Club, amongst others. Referred to as the “New School’s Head of Class” by V Magazine, her exhibitions are regularly featured in the Top Ten art show to see, including Terence Koh’s performance “Art History” in The New York Times and New York Magazine, the best show of the summer by The Huffington Post for “Contemporary Magic” at the Virginia MoCA, as well as placement in the top art / fashion crossover shows of the year by Italian Vogue for ART CAPSUL at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. She is known for bridging fine art and other art forms, including music and film, and for championing fashion as part of her practice – where she has seamlessly presented fashion designers, such as Karl Lagerfeld and Marc Jacobs I her exhibitions alongside visual arts. Stacy Engman obtained her Master’s Degree in Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, and is know as a New York City style icon and taste-maker.