Darya Temirkhan’s first solo show “Tynys bitti" is a way for the young artist to express her feelings and unresolved questions concerning January events of 2022 in Kazakhstan through creative pursuits. The show consists of collage series “Dem alu” (from kazakh “to breath”) and video installation “Tûman seïildi, biraq ökpede qalğan küldi qalaï tazartsam bolady?…” (from kazakh “The fog has cleared, but how can I clear the lungs from the ashes?”). Both pieces are a documentation of grief and sorrow that Dariya experienced and the process of self-care she went through on the way to overcome it.
Dariya Temirkhan moved to Almaty in 2016 from Oral city in Western Kazakhstan after being accepted to Oral Tansykbayev college of applied arts. She graduated in 2020, majoring in "Painting" department. Her current collage works has obvious influence of academic painting composition and color solutions, especially of her master, Nurbol Nurakhmet. Dariya's apprenticeship is based on the creation of complex and detailed compositions and the preference for a cold colour palette, which she inherited from her teacher. A signature of both artists is to unfold works full of complex themes and symbolism through often densely concentrated compositions. Same in the "Dem alu" series, Dariya first of all digitally created images and shapes on a tablet, then physically processed them several times and brought them to the final result.
The artist, like other residents of Almaty, lives with an anxious vibe, while getting used to the rhythm of noisy city life. The Bloody January incident in 2022 deepened this feeling. The emerging waves of restlessness found their place directly in Dariya's work. In order to avoid anxiety during the year, the artist draw abstract, brightly colored, anthropomorphic images drowning in the noise of color. Some of them are similar to real human faces and bodies, some similar to sun or a cloudy sky, but surely they depict a restless and erratic hands. Later, the images are printed and then the artist cuts out various geometric shapes from them and pastes them on a paper. The richly colored illustrations seem out of place in depicting the human breath and breathing rhythms, so she chooses a white paper as the main background. In order to make the figures on it closer to the white paper surface, therefore closer to transparent, invisible breath, the artist tears off the pasted colored paper and re-pastes it with the back side. The collage surfaces also become light, approaching the watery illusion of the watercolor technique. Thus the color harmony is found. The compositions in it refer to the rhythm of breathing when the human body is full of fear and anxiety.
Although the breath is invisible to us, it is wrong to consider it insignificant and weightless as matter. That is why Dariya's chosen geometric shapes are polygonal, pointed, long or extremely short. As much as the air inhaled on a cold day feels unpleasant and like a sharp needle, the breath in the moment of fear and/or panic has its own weight. That is why the surface of the collages is full of human handprints, glue, torn paper textures. When creating works, the artist does not try to make them two-dimensional, flat, on the contrary, Dariya is not afraid to show the images full of humane imperfections and sloppiness, which she saw in herself and others. All these qualities come forward.
Each of the paired works in the "Dem alu" series tells the story of the breath at a different moment. Collages like a spark after a gun fire, ray traces after an explosion, or a compressed gas like white void depict the inverted, infinite power that our breath has on us. However, the last three works of the series evolve into a very rhythmic, light form. No matter how difficult it is, as Darya herself said, it is important not to forget to "breathe in and breathe out".
The “Tûman seïildi, biraq ökpede qalğan küldi qalaï tazartsam bolady?…” video-installation was originally an audio work about air pollution in Almaty. Dariya wanted to make her breath audible recording it on the banks of Vesnovka river. The 10-minute audio ends with Daryia gasping for breath. However, after the events of Bloody January, the artist turns the work into a full video piece. The audio in it, like the collages, undergo some processing and become more complex. The footage in the video shows a vaguely collaged figure disappearing and reappearing in the middle of a field full of poppies. In the course of research work she came across many legends about poppy. According to some legends, the place where poppy grows is the place of past war, a human bloodshed. As if a visual memory of land of once spilt blood. It seems very appropriate that the opium drug, which helps to forget such trauma, is extracted from the poppy flower.
Dariya, like many other Kazakhstani people, feels as if her breathing has been artificially blocked and she cannot wake up from a nightmare. The isolated figure in the video looks like a piece of technical equipment or a human body wrapped in a many fabrics. Even though the video is repetitive, as the audio approaches its climax, it's clear that the breath is getting heavier and heavier. This tonal change affects the image and makes the figure clearer. The composition of the video is singled to the point of this giant blue body, and we, the viewer, feel that now we are isolated due to pressure of this body. Its effect increases. His power over us also increases. Our breathing slows down, and anxiousness completely dominates our bodies. What do we know as anxiety? How do we understand its consequences? Is the feeling first felt by the human body, or is it caused by the human mind? These questions keep multiplying while watching the video on an infinite loop, and the answers are still not to be found.
Dariya uses the principles of collage technique in all her creations, be it on paper, video, or audio, and creates multifaceted works. In this quest, Dariya relies on words and language as a medium as well. During the year, the artist talks with various poets and writers, and finally starts working with the young poet Aizharyk Sultankozha. The artist and poet discussed ways to psychological, political and spiritual reflection through language. Although the stylistic methods of both of them are different (Aizharyk writes abstract poetry, Dariya is closer to prose), they were able to reveal each other's sensibilities. Through the exchange of opinions, they influenced each other's creativity and brought to life the final works of poetry. In addition, Darya's poem became the title of her video installation.