Huseynov’s series of plexiglas artworks chart the unique experience of “Muslims in Space”. The terrain plotted in the series, like space itself, is a new frontier which remains largely unmapped. The Plexiglas compositions not only exhibit Muslim astronauts and Arabic script, but also shatter the pervasive image of an “astronaut” as a western construction. The piece presents a series of instances in which a selected tradition is placed into a new context. Thus, one is able to examine certain ideas from a new and interesting angle. The series essentially establishes a visual fulcrum around which various issues regarding religious practice can be seen in a different context – specifically, how to determine the direction and time of prayer if one is circling the globe.
Beyond recontextualizing selected traditions, the theme of identity, both secular and religious, is at issue within the series. In a “space” without boundaries, the homogenizing impulse that frequently places origin as a defining factor is shattered. What happens when geopolitical borders and wordly conficts are left behind? And, can an individual maintain their cultural and religious identity from afar? In a multicultural, global community immersed in a process of constant movement and migration, how does one address the rift between a human being and their native place? By location the “Muslims in Space”, the location farthest from a native land, Huseynov presents a selected tradition in a new and fairly uncharted context. Thus, the piece encourages one to actively consider the complicated and complex motivations and unique combinations that occur when selected traditions and cultures are reoriented and recontextualized.
Text: Monica Steinberg