I Sacrifice Myself

20 April 2021 - 27 June 2021

ARTIST Farid Rasulov

SANATORIUM presents Farid Rasulov’s first solo show in Turkey entitled ‘‘I Sacrifice Myself’’ between April 16 – May 23, 2021. In ‘‘I Sacrifice Myself’’, Rasulov explores the sacrificial holiday “Eid al-Adha”. Questioning the greed and excess that the festival has inadvertently come to symbolise, the artist employs a twist of absurdism, satire, and the grotesque to prompt the reconsideration of ancient practice in our constantly evolving modern age.

Rasulov takes “Eid al-Adha” as the departure point for his show – a major Islamic holiday that entails the slaughter of an animal in a ‘festival of sacrifice’. Symbolic of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God, the slaughtered animal was traditionally shared between relatives, the home, and those in need. However, in recent times this offering has developed into an indicator of status and wealth. In his new film Yuxularin Yuxusu (Dream of Dreams), Rasulov creates a dramatic, comedic narrative set within a hospital room. Two doctors can be seen talking whilst dissecting a clothed sheep for the festival, in which they intermingle an abundance of jewelry with its entrails; at once darkly humorous and ironic, the scene highlights the absurd materiality that has come to be associated with the event. 

Rasulov further expands upon this film in the form of an installation. He presents a grotesque narrative with various props, such as clothing, gold trinkets, and medical equipment. The artist dissects typical customs from a subversive, witty viewpoint; for example, taking a style of kebab-skewer that is common in Baku, Rasulov transforms them into a geometric installation. In repurposing common objects and narratives, the artist encourages the re-evaluation of tradition in light of contemporary realities.

Completing the exhibition, Rasulov presents a selection of new, large-scale paintings. Taking an illustrative approach, the works depict a carnivalesque “Eid al-Adha”. A crowd can be seen gathered around the sacrificial sheep during the traditional ceremony, as suited figures behead the animal; satirizing the scene by caricaturising each person, the artist highlights the surrealist elements of this sacred festival. 

This exhibition was first shown at YARAT Contemporary Art Space with the title ‘‘Qurban Olum’’ curated by Suad Garayeva-Maleki.

About the Artist 

Farid Rasulov (b. 1985, Shusha, Azerbaijan) lives and works in Baku. A doctor by training, he studied at the Azerbaijan State Medical University (2006). Rasulov changed fields to pursue an artistic career, subsequently representing Azerbaijan in the 53rd and 55th Venice Biennales. He has been the subject of solo exhibitions internationally and across the region, including: 1001 Skewers, St.Louis, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Missouri, USA (2018); #ONLYONECHANCE, MoMA, Baku (2015); and Dogs in the Living Room, Rabouan Moussion Gallery, Paris, France (2014). His work has been included in the Moscow Young Biennale of Contemporary Art (2016); Teesside World Exposition of Art and Technology, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (2016), and Sharjah Islamic Art Festival (2013). In 2016 he was awarded the ArteLagunaPrize 10 for the Sculptural and Installation Section.