What once-unimaginable possibilities emerge when we break down tradition and put the pieces back together to form something new?
Dissolving Order, a striking new display dedicated to the work of Baku-based artist Faig Ahmed, contemplates how age-old structures can be disrupted, overturned, or reorganized in an instant, inviting new possibilities into the world. Though the show was envisioned before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it evokes ideas and emotions that are all too relevant in our current moment of global upheaval.
The centrepiece of Dissolving Order is a deconstruction of one of the world’s most enduring, remarkably consistent art forms: the carpet. Like many of Ahmed’s sculptures, Gautama (2017), a hand-woven carpet itself, distorts familiar features of carpets, warping the past into something otherworldly and new.
Gautama appears to fray, swirl, and ooze right in front of the viewer — a helpful reminder that long-lasting traditions or established systems can shapeshift at any time. Everything seems in flux, and at the same time, we see new horizons and fresh expressive possibilities materialize right before our eyes.
The deconstruction of once-steady traditions has become a hallmark of Ahmed’s body of work. A graduate of the Azerbaijan State Academy of Fine Arts in Baku, he creates contemporary sculptures by breaking down the visual elements of traditional carpets as well as the conventions surrounding how they are used.
In 2013, he was shortlisted for the prestigious Jameel Prize, an international award celebrating contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic traditions.
Photos courtesy of Sapar Contemporary, Faig Ahmed, and Collection Majudia
Be inspired by the captivating Faig Ahmed: Dissolving Order exhibition and design your very own carpet! Experiment with the artist's techniques by creating your own carpet design on the gridded floorcloth. Click here for instructions.
Curator: Aga Khan Museum Assistant Curator Bita Pourvash