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Astana, Kazakhstan • 08 December 2023

French Artist Exhibits 45 Captivating Photos After Six Months in Kazakhstan

The French art program unveiled a photography exhibition and a VR festival

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© Adèle Jelansky
© Adèle Jelansky

On December 7, the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan hosted a showcase of contemporary French art curated by the French Embassy. The event presented an immersive experience that spans photography, digital collages, and virtual reality, QazMonitor reports.

The event commenced with a congratulatory message from Vice-Minister of Culture and Information, Arman Zhudebayev, who highlighted the exhibition as a testament to the cultural cooperation between France and Kazakhstan. Following this, the Ambassador of France to Kazakhstan, Didier Canesse, expressed gratitude to the National Museum for their assistance in organizing the French art program, seamlessly blending creativity and cutting-edge technology.

Alina Maulenova for QazMonitor
Alina Maulenova for QazMonitor

The featured exhibition, "Now I See You – I Love You" by French multidisciplinary artist Adèle Jelansky, reveals the artist's profound exploration of Kazakhstan during her six-month residency. The exhibition displayed 45 captivating photographs and collages, mirroring Adèle's journey across Almaty, Astana, Altai, Mangystau, Turkistan, Shymkent, and Karaganda. Adèle's artworks weave connections between regions, unraveling layers of natural and cultural landscapes.

Another highlight of the event was the "Digital Autumn: Presence" VR festival, showcasing 11 immersive works by top French VR studios. Attendees had the opportunity to witness projects that have garnered awards at esteemed film festivals such as SXSW and the Venice International Film Festival.

During the event, QazMonitor talked to Adèle Jelansky about her exhibition and her experience in Kazakhstan.

Alina Maulenova for QazMonitor
Alina Maulenova for QazMonitor

Was it your first residency in another country? What was your overall impression of this residency?

Yes, it was my first residency ever. I think it is one of the biggest adventures of my life, it took 6 months and it was very rich. I think I discovered a lot about Kazakhstan and about myself as well. When you travel, you get new points of view, new ideas, and you meet other people who think differently, so it was very rich.

Can you share some of the highlights from your 6-month journey through different regions of Kazakhstan?

I think every city in Kazakhstan was special so it is very difficult to pick a few. It was wonderful to be able to travel to different parts of Kazakhstan and it allowed me to feel very different vibes according to each region I visited. So yeah, each one of those places was different.

Was there anything unexpected or surprising that you discovered while working on this project?

Well, the first part of my residency was in Almaty, so when I arrived in Kazakhstan and I did not know anything about it, the first thing that struck me was the vastness of everything. The streets were so huge, and the buildings were so gigantic, and I felt so lost among all of this. In Astana actually, I had quite a similar feeling—it is surprisingly modern, everything is ‘straight,’ so I would say the first surprising thing was the vastness of the country.

Alina Maulenova for QazMonitor
Alina Maulenova for QazMonitor

What do you hope for visitors to take away from experiencing this exhibition?

There is one thing I hope that [people take away from it]. I love to work with the beauty we can find in everyday stuff and the things we do not really look at. I think it is easy for me because I live in France, and when I came here I did not know anything about the landscapes so I noticed some “shinomotazh” [QM - small tire service centers] stuff, that maybe people who live there every day do not see anymore. I wish people can discover new things through this exhibition.

How do you see potential for future exchange between French and Kazakh artists?

I think the exchange is going to grow. I feel that the interest in Central Asia is growing, even if maybe it did not seem so interesting before. So, I wish that a lot of programs are made so that artists can travel from Kazakhstan and Central Asia to Europe and vice versa. I hope there will be a lot of exchange.

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