MAY 15 – JUNE 15, 2012

The first exhibition to feature British and international artists exhibiting alongside Azerbaijani artistswill be shown at the Baku Museum of Modern Art from 15 May 2012. Realised by YARAT!, a noncommercialorganisation dedicated to promoting contemporary art in Azerbaijan, Merging Bridges willfeature acclaimed artists including the world-renowned Sarah Lucas, Keith Coventry, James Turrell,Idris Khan and Olympia Scarry. This extraordinary collection of work will be displayed alongside some of the finest contemporary artists based in Baku including Altai Sadikhzade, Aga Ousseinov,NiyazNajafov, RashadAlakbarov and FaridRasulov.

The exhibition is being co-curated by Aida Mahmudova, the founder and director of YARAT! and London-based curator Adam Waymouth. Together they will present a spectrum of work highlighting both established and emerging artists from flourishing artistic centres around the world. Throughouttheir careers, Mahmudova and Waymouth have endeavoured to provide platforms for contemporary, in particular emerging, artists.

Founded in October 2011 by Aida Mahmudova YARAT! has, through previous projects such as theirinaugural exhibition On Soz and the ongoing 012 Baku Public Art Festival, sparked an artistic discourse,which will be increased by an international exhibition. Merging Bridges will further underlineYARAT!’s main objective – to encourage dialogue between the global contemporary art communityand that of Azerbaijan. The exhibition will also coincide with Baku hosting the European Song Contest 2012, which is expected to draw countless visitors to the city, thus bringing the artworks to a wider, international audience.Having provided a platform for both established and emerging contemporary artists in Baku, YARAT!will further its nurturing of this artistic community by showcasing their work alongside celebratedinternational artists. Just like their counterparts, the participating Azeri artists have wide-rangingexperience; from the internationally acclaimed Altai Sadikzade, who designed and coordinated the construction of the Baku Museum of Modern Art to Faig Ahmed, who was chosen to representAzerbaijan during their first appearance at the Venice Biennale in 2007.

A specially commissioned installation by the internationallyrecognisedIdris Khan will also be exhibited at Merging Bridges.Khan is best known for his digitally manipulated prints whichexplore the history of music and text within both Western and Islamic traditions. For this exhibition however, the artist willpresent a sculpture formed by four panels of rusted steel which havebeen sandblasted with the score from Oliver Messiaen’s Quartet forthe End of Time (1941) which was composed whilst he was in a

German prison camp.Co-curator Aida Mahmudova comments: “This is a highly ambitious and fascinating project. Neverbefore have such prestigious international and Azeri artists come together under one roof. The caliber of artists combines with the unique backdrop, which Baku and the Museum of Modern Art willprovide, to make Merging Bridges an unmissable art event for 2012.”Adam Waymouth comments: “This is an incredibly exciting exhibition not only because of the caliber of artists that will be on show but because it also underlines Baku’s burgeoning relationship with the international art market. I am really thrilled to be part of this project and to be working alongside anorganisation like YARAT! which is playing such a pioneering role in creating dialogue betweenAzerbaijani artists and their contemporaries across the world.”

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