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at the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
Beyond the Line
Commissioner: Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Baku, Azerbaijan
Curators: de Pury de Pury, Emin Mammadov
Participants: Ashraf Murad, Javad Mirjavadov, Tofik Javadov, Rasim Babayev, Fazil Najafov, Huseyn Hagverdi, Shamil Najafzada
Preview Period: 6th – 8th May 2015 | 10:00 – 19:00
Official Opening: 6th May  | 18:00 
Running Period: 9th May 2015 – 22nd November  2015 | 10:00 – 18:00 (Closed on Mondays)
Venue: Palazzo Lezze, Campo S. Stefano, San Marco 2949
This year marks Azerbaijan’s second participation in the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, supported by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. For Biennale Arte 2015, Azerbaijan presents two exhibitions for international audiences that celebrate the voices of artists addressing social, political, and ecological questions of global relevance.
De Pury de Pury and Emin Mammadov curate the first exhibition, Beyond the Line, which spotlights the resilient spirit of artists whose lives and work were overshadowed by the repressive Soviet regime of the mid 20th century.
Susie Allen, Laura Culpan, and Dea Vanagan of Artwise curate the second exhibition, Vita Vitale, in which Azerbaijan brings together international contemporary artists whose work expresses concerns about our planet’s destiny. When viewed jointly, the two exhibitions reveal a country contemplating its past and its future, as well as the impact of 20th-century social and industrial transformations upon its own soil, and that of the world. Beyond the Line revisits a crucial moment within Azerbaijan’s history, and returns their voices to the nation’s mid-century artists, who were silenced or ignored under Soviet rule.
With Vita Vitale, Azerbaijan looks forward, and beyond its geographic borders, providing a platform for international artists and scientists who grapple with the ecological challenges we face globally today and tomorrow as a result of our technological advances, and the consequent rise in consumerism.
Both exhibitions showcase the gravity of the artist’s voice on the social and environmental issues that define not only the past, present, and future of Azerbaijan, but of the planet.
Beyond the Line             
Art can speak about environmental circumstances directly or allegorically. The Azerbaijani avant-garde artists of the mid-twentieth century, working in strictly controlled conditions, often resorted to the use of allegory. By the 1960s, artists who displayed ‘rebellious’ personal attitudes that deviated from Communist ideology were no longer arrested, executed, or banished. They were punished differently. Their works were ignored, they could not hold exhibitions, and they were not permitted to travel abroad. They were thus refused the guardianship of state structures regulating official art. Azerbaijan proudly presents their works in Beyond the Line, which showcases the Soviet period artwork of the non-conformist artists Javad Mirjavadov, Tofik Javadov, Ashraf Murad, Rasim Babayev, and sculptor Fazil Najafov. The exhibition also includes the film ‘Stepping over the Horizon’ directed by Shamil Najafzada as well as an installation by Huseyn Hagverdi, whose career suffered under Soviet rule, but whose creativity nevertheless blossomed. These displays by hitherto obscure artists represents the victory of their indestructible spirit. Today, they speak about their epoch from the heart, symbolizing ‘the ecology of the human soul.’Beyond the Line acts as a counterpoint to the international exhibition Vita Vitale (Vital Life), Azerbaijan’s second pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation is the largest non-governmental organization in Azerbaijan; it was established in 2004 and has since implemented large-scale programs and projects both in the country and abroad. The main goal of the Foundation is safeguarding national and spiritual values, the widespread promotion of Azerbaijani culture, the implementation of various programs and projects ensuring the development of science, education, healthcare and social sphere, as well as promoting the international image of the country worldwide. 
The Foundation has therefore engaged in prestigious international exhibitions in Baku, presenting Andy Warhol, Tony Cragg, Bernard Buffet, the promotion of contemporary Azerbaijani artists abroad in Fly to Baku. Contemporary art from Azerbaijan, which was exhibited in some of the most significant cultural areas around the world – the Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku, Azerbaijan; Kunsthistorisches museum - Neue Burg, Vienna, Austria; Spazio D - Maxxi building National Museum of XXI Century arts, Rome, Italy; Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia; me Collectors Room, Berlin, Germany; Hotel Salomon de Rothschild, Paris, France; Phillips de Pury & Company, London, UK. Moreover, the Foundation contributed generous funds for the restoration of Chiesa della Pietà in Venice.
International press contact
ARTPRESS – Barbara Green & Wayra Schübel
Danziger Str.2 | 10435 Berlin  | + 49 30 48496350
green.artpress@uteweingarten.de| schuebel.artpress@uteweingarten.de
www.artpress-uteweingarten.de | Please find press images here: http://www.artpress-uteweingarten.de/en/presselounge
Italian press contact
STUDIO ESSECI - Roberta Barbaro
Via San Mattia 16 |  35121Padova |  +39 049 663499
gestione3@studioesseci.net| www.studioesseci.net
Coordinator of both exhibitions
PDG Arte Communications
Ph. +39 0415264546