Europe

Taus Makhacheva
Let Me Be Part of a Narrative

For Taus Makhacheva, the wild, untamed side of human nature is often the foundation of many of her formal investigations. A leading voice of the younger generation based in Moscow, Makhacheva works with sculpture and installation while her preferred medium remains video. Her Dagestani (Northern Caucasian) roots draw her to this rugged land as her site of choice for many of her works. She digs into the cultural shifts and changes that overwhelmed this land during a state of post-soviet disorientation. While turning to a lost past, the sense of nostalgia in her work is often overcome by an urgency to invent new traditions and rituals. Tackling head on issues of assimilation, morphing customs and gender politics, her performances and video installations reveal a strong sense of human dignity and pride.

A seminal work in her long line of investigations of the Dagestani identity, the three-channel video installation Let me be part of a narrative looks at the all-male dog fighting championship set up alongside a Soviet documentary of Ali Aliev, the five-time world wrestling champion from Dagestan. Seemingly disparate at first, both games expose a need to diffuse aggression, revealing a strict code of play and conduct such as ‘not showing teeth’ or ‘not hiding the tail’. The training of the Caucasian sheep dogs based on raising them to stand up to wolves, a strong force of nature they must face within themselves. For the dog breeders, the fight becomes a form of self-validation and assertion within the group. A girl breeder expands the narrative with her own search for respect, arguing that the winning characteristics are carried through the maternal line.

Born 1983 in Moscow, Russia 
Lives and works between Makhachkala, Dagestan and Moscow, Russia