YARAT Contemporary Art Space announces a solo exhibition from Colombian-born, Norway-based artist Pedro Gómez-Egaña, opening on 9 November 2018. Showcasing a major new artwork as part of his ongoing ‘Observatory’ series, Gómez-Egaña creates a multi-sensory, immersive experience, building a large-scale pavilion structure within YARAT’s gallery walls. Taking inspiration from the Caspian region, the exhibition coincides with YARAT’s M.A.P. festival - a multidisciplinary theatre and performance festival taking place across Baku.
Interested in ritualising audiences’ experience of space, the pavilion-like structure removes the viewer from their familiar surroundings. Built as a space within a space, mechanical components inside the observatory form independent pod-like segments where viewers experience a haunted, ever changing environment. Uniting characteristic elements of the artist’s wider practice - such as choreography and the manipulation of light - Gomez-Egaña modulates the viewers experience of time and narrative, whilst controlling navigation through his purpose-built spaces.
Titled The Caspian Observatory, the work takes inspiration from the Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl’s widely contested hypothesis The Search for Odin. Through Heyerdahl’s numerous visits to Azerbaijan, he observed that the artistic style of rock carvings there resembled those previously found in Norway. He concluded that Azerbaijan was a site of advanced civilisation, with Azeri people migrating north to Scandinavia; he therefore hypothesized that Vikings had their origins in the ancient Caspian region.
For his installation, Gómez-Egaña also incorporates a musical sound element, performed by singers who create a ghostly presence within the space. Combining traditional Norwegian music with Azeri folk music, the installation reflects upon Heyerdahl’s debunked theory. Interested in the historical, and geopolitical characteristics of Azerbaijan, Gómez-Egaña says his works ‘take a critical look at current and historical technologies and explore how they define our experience and understanding of time’.
Gómez-Egaña’s installation will be presented as part of YARAT’s M.A.P. festival which takes place from 6-11 November 2018.