14th September – 29th September
Black Garden (Agdam City Number One)
Black Garden (Agdam City Number One) is a multi-channel video installation focusing on the memory and legacy of the Nagorno-Karabakh War, a relatively-unknown but brutal conflict which occurred between 1989 and 1995 in the historically cosmopolitan Karabakh region bordering Armenia and Azerbaijan. Filmed as an accompanying piece to McDougall’s ‘The Sokhumi Elegies’ during a year-long stay and informal residency program at the Centre of Contemporary Art in Tbilisi, Georgia, and made in collaboration with the Georgian artist Ketevani and poets Shalva Bakuradze and Nina Targan-Mouravi, the work takes as its central motif the extraordinary destruction during the war of the Azerbaijani city of Agdam, which today lies in total and astonishing ruin. Incorporating durational cinematography and environmental recordings of the ruined landscape, and complimented with archival footage, vernacular photography and text-based research, historic folk songs and poetry recitation in the local languages of Armenian, Azerbaijani, Russian and Georgian are featured to give context to the strange and terrible fate of the city. Bakuradze’s parallel memory of the conflict in his native Abkhazia and Targan-Mouravi’s Armenian family heritage in Karabakh are drawn upon towards the creation of an uncertain elegy, reflecting on nationalism, poly-cultural history, exile, trauma and transcendence.