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(Lerik, Azerbaijan, 1959)

In 1980, Badi Badalov moved to Leningrad in the Soviet Union where he lived until 1990. He was active in the city’s unofficial art scene and became a member of the independent artist group TEII, the Society of Experimental Visual Art. Now he lives in England.
Badalov’s work straddles the boundary between visual art and poetry. Indeed he sometimes presents his work as ‘visual poetry’ and works with painting, installation and performance as well as with experimental and improvisational literary formats. The mixing of different languages and orthographic systems and the combination of words and images is a signature of his work in all genres.
Badalov is dedicated to exploring the limits of language and the limitations it imposes upon its users. People leading nomadic lives – artists, but also economic migrants or political refugees – will experience the struggles and rewards of cultural adaptation, but can also find themselves prisoners of language. Badalov plays with such situations to hint at broader geopolitical issues.
M HKA acquired Badalov’s installation VOAIZOVA (War is Over) (2010) in connection with the exhibition series Europe at Large. The work consists of plastic fragments from glasses and ballpoint pens arranged in two areas on the floor, a colourful visual poem based on a sequence of capital letters (VOAIZOVA) and a voice rendering of the same sequence that (almost) sounds like the English phrase “war is over”. There is also a sketchbook, displayed on a podium, with additional visual poems, many of them based on a refined doodle aesthetic.

Anders Kreuger, Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp