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The Azerbaijani artist turning fleeting moments into poetic paintings

26 January 2023

This is an advertising feature in association with Cesar Mammadov.

Fishermen take a moment of repose, sitting upon a concrete dock, discussing the news or perhaps their weekend plans, passing time before returning to work. A man strolls leisurely through town, pausing to explore a bookshop with his dog at his heels. Elsewhere, merchants haul in small boats with packaged goods to be sold at the market and in the ancient quarters of a contemporary city, groups of people bask in the sun on the terrace of a cafe.

These are all examples of scenes depicted by the Azerbaijani artist Cesar Mammadov whose paintings revel in the beauty of everyday life. His compositions are based on observations from his travels around the world and within his home city of Baku. He is interested in capturing fleeting moments, in telling stories that might otherwise go untold.

Painting of fisherman at a port

Bodrum Fisherman (2011), Cesar Mammadov. Courtesy the artist.

Mammadov was raised in an artistic family – his father, Sakit Mammadov, was a renowned painter in his own right and his style owes much to his influence as well as to Azerbaijani culture. After graduating from Azim Azimzade Art School and the Academy of Arts of Azerbaijan, Mammadov made a name for himself in the national art scene, gaining a reputation for his ability to combine the specificity of a place with universal meaning. He has since exhibited works at some of the most prestigious venues in his home country as well as abroad in Turkey, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

Paris (2019), Cesar Mammadov. Courtesy the artist.

What is immediately impressive when looking at Mammadov’s work is his technique. He displays a control of line, light and perspective in order to recreate landscapes that are faithful to their inspiration. Over the course of his career, he has painted numerous cities around the globe, often taking a slightly flattened aerial view that offers a wider field of vision and invites new perspectives. In his depictions of Parisian rooftops, he captures the city’s complex Haussmannian architecture while his renderings of the rustic red roofs of Venice offer an unfamiliar viewpoint in which the characteristic canals are barely visible. Bilbao’s colourful facades have also been interpreted by the artist, who uses bright pastels to reproduce the Spanish city’s eclectic yet unpretentious spirit. The grandeur of these cityscapes is escalated, with each detailed window hinting at the vast and unique moments of life occurring in a single instant.

Colourful rooftops of Bilbao

Bilbao (2019), Cesar Mammadov. Courtesy the artist.

Water is a recurring motif in the artist’s oeuvre. Canals, ports, beaches and cliff-sides reveal Mammadov’s reverence for the natural world and draw on the symbolism of water as a life source while his paintings of rainfall take a more abstract approach. Here, the canvas becomes a window onto which raindrops cascade, obscuring the view beneath. Though these works are darker in tone, they are intended to evoke tranquillity rather than melancholy, offering the viewer a moment of quiet contemplation.

Mammadov’s paintings are characterised by their optimistic outlook, their bold brushstrokes and saturated colours. He aims to convey a sense of harmony through his work and to celebrate humanity in all its variety. By highlighting everyday moments, the artist reminds us that poetry can be found anywhere.

Painting of rainy city scene

Rainy Evening (2019), Cesar Mammadov. Courtesy the artist.

‘Cesar Mammadov: Breath’ is at the CICA Museum in Gimpo-si, South Korea from 21 June to 9 July, 2023. For more information, visit: cesarmammadov.com; instagram.com/cesar_mammadov

This is an advertising feature in association with Cesar Mammadov.