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Nordic Nomads. Videos by Julia Tikhonova and Rustam Halfin
II.31 - III.9
Rustam Nurmuchamedovich Khalfin
Born in 1949 in Tashkent. Graduated from Moscow Architectural Institute (1967-1972)
Julia Nikolajevna Tikhonova
Born in 1978 in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan. Graduated from Academy of Architecture and Construction in Alma-Ata (1996-2001).
In 1998 both artists started to work together in the Look gallery in Alma-Ata and to create artistic projects. They both participate actively in artistic projects in Alma-Ata, Moscow, Petersburg, Berlin and Ontario.
The artists present the video project "Nordic Nomads" at Vilnius Contemporary Art Centre. The project consists of two parts: A Groom and a Bride and Love Ride.
The uniqueness of the situation in the modern Kazakh art is determined by two major conditions: traditions of a nomadic lifestyle and new technologies brought into the fast-developing art.
Video works by these artists are explorations with a subjective camera as if operating in the participants‘ eyes. Such filming method enables man to look through the lens with scrutiny as though it were his own eyes and explore the close-up.

'Nordic Nomads', Part 1
A Groom and a Bride, video, duration 13 min.
This project is based on the old nomadic custom, explained in the notes of an English traveller, who visited Central Asia in the 18th century. When depicting various nomadic customs and traditional relationships the traveller himself did not pay special attention to the marriage customs. The artist, though, having read these notes after 200 years, used them as unique material in the project.
According to an old Kazakh custom the groom has to pay a ransom for the bride to her parents, the size of which is agreed on in advance. The groom can not take the bride from her parents‘ house and to arrange wedding until he pays the whole sum of money. After the agreement, though, the two have an opportunity to spend three nights together. The bride sleeps on a carpet in the yurt while the groom- outside. They are separated by bars (kerege) that have a felt curtain. The felt can be easily turned up and then there is only kerege - a strange wall. Maybe it will let them see and touch each other, or even more?
A video is not an exact representation of the ancient custom, since the ancient nomadic kerege dividing a carpet (bed of a groom and bride) was the line that strictly marked a marriage that is still to come. Nobody knows, though, what used to happen when the bride in the yurt and the groom behind the felt wall remained by themselves at night in a vast steppe.
The intrigue raises various interpretations and meanings. The artist expresses his own understanding through the video film. And the audience finds itself in active space where desire gets transformed into outspreading and dominating energy.


'Nordic Nomads', Part 2
Love Ride, video, duration 7 min.
There are two series of watercolours of the 18th - 19th centuries in the book Chinese Eros. They were painted in North China and show love scenes on horses. Their common name is 'Nordic Nomads'. The Chinese people called wanderers by this name and the Great Wall of China separated them.
This film is the reconstruction of an ancient way of love.
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