Babi Badalov: Poetical Activism


On view:
November 13, 2015 - January 9, 2016

Mayakovsky 102, the open office of tranzit. hu, 1068 Budapest, Király utca 102.

November 13, 2015, 6 pm

Opening hours:
Thursday - Friday- Saturday: From 2 pm to 6 pm
or by appointment at

Artist and poet Babi Badalov was born in Lerik, Azerbaijan in 1959. From 1980, he lived in Leningrad, where he became a member of the “The New Artists” group formed by rebelling local artists as well as artists coming from distant places of the Soviet Union. The “New Artists,” gathering around Timur Novikov, engaged in conceptual painting, and presented their art works in unusual urban locations through illegal actions that were either tolerated or persecuted by the sate. Badalov participated with large-scale paintings and objects in the exhibition The New from Petersburg at Műcsarnok/Kunsthalle Budapest in 1990. After his Budapest visit, his 20-year long asylum seeking started during which he lived as an artist, gay rights and political activist. After the exhibition in Budapest, Badalov went to Germany then to the United States and in 1994, he returned to Saint Petersburg, and some years later, to Azerbaijan. He then moved to the United Kingdom where, after two years, he could not obtain the refugee status and was deported back to Azerbaijan. After spending three days in Azerbaijan and two months in Saint Petersburg, he went to several places within the Schengen Area, to Finland, Germany, Belgium, and then France where he sought asylum and was finally granted refugee status in 2011. He currently lives in Paris, and has participated in several international exhibitions, among others the Moscow Biennial currently on view.

Badalov’s art is a kind of perpetual diary writing and collection of materials around the everyday life of being an immigrant and a refugee, which he displays as drawings, collages, installations, and performances. Coming from a Muslim cultural background, his visuality is shaped by both Eastern and the Western cultures. The artist’s works speak to the brutality of a fast-changing world, where vulnerable groups, including refugees all around the worlds, face the limits of the states’ actions for problem solving. Practices developed in Western countries—that have decades-long experience in accommodating foreigners—are not always humane, and by no means provide long-term or comforting resolutions for people who are forced to leave their home countries.

As the title of the exhibition indicates, the artist believes in the power of words; his visual poetry can also be interpreted as poetical agitation. Badalov’s exhibition made for the spaces of Maykovsky 102, the open office of, comprises often pun-based poetical-political texts written in a calligraphic style typical of the artist, visual poetry painted on walls, as well as collages of drawings and found materials. In addition, display manikins in clothes with radical messages, evoking protesters and foreigners, will populate the spaces of

Special thanks to Álmos Jaschik Secondary School of Arts and Design

Image: Babi Badalov