The Futures of Mountaineering

An excellent, witty installation by the Kazakh artist Yerbossin Meldibekov, from Almaty; I’ve bumped into this one almost accidently, being caught by another quite provocative installation, displaying possible futures, this time of Lenin, in the booth of Jozsa Gallery at the Art Brussels’10:

The installation with multiple Lenins is not bad (it’s called ‘maybe Chingizkhan, maybe Jakometti‘), but the first work is much deeper. It’s not too much to your face, and also plays with the subject I have deep emotional affinity. The three presented objects (sort of deformed basins for washing, turned upside down, and heavily beaten) are in fact one mountain, the highest mountain of the former Soviet Union, reaching 7495m.

When discovered in 1933, it was initially called the Stalin Peak; in 1962 it was renamed as the Communism Peak (this is how I always knew it, I started to climb in the 1980s, and for quite a while was not even aware of the first name, until I discovered in on the old map of the reagin). And until today I was sure that the peak is still called this way, to only reveal with some shock that it changed its name again in 1998, to Ismoil Somoni Peak, named after a legendary father of the Tajik nation.

The use of these beaten white basins to depict a mountain is simply superb; compare it with a view of the ‘real’ mountains (this IS in fact a signifier of the artwork, whatever it’s called).

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