Figure of the underground art of Saint Petersburg in the 1990s, Babi Badalov (Lerik, AZ 1959) moved to Paris where he obtained political asylum in 2011 after several years spent between Russia, United Kingdom and Azerbaijan. A nomad, Babi Badalov knows seven languages: Tallish, Farsi, Azeri, Russian, Turkish, English and French. A poet and an insatiable traveler, he examines the limits of language and how it can isolate us from individuals of different languages and cultures. His artistic practice is always engaged in an economy of means, recycling fabrics and newspaper clippings. His painted poems entangling linguistic paradoxes, etymologies, automatic writing, alphabets, signifiers and signified in an ornamental style, are united to acquire a new sense open to a multitude of interpretation and to mutate towards a very personal and political poetry that he defines as “visual poetry”. Letter, word, sentence, images, everything is deconstructed, freed from the constraint of the norm and agreed logic, and spread over multiple media: notebooks, fabrics, walls, clothes, shoes, cardboard, founded objects. Declaimed in the many languages that pass through his own experience, his visual poems sometimes appear as political or advertising slogans combined with manipulated images, sometimes as installations, performances or language games, testifying of his misunderstandings about current polarizations (North—South, West—East) and the geopolitical turbulence of a contemporary world in crisis.
Badalov’s works are present in many public and private collections, including FRAC Ile-de-France (F), FRAC Midi-Pyrénées les Abattoirs de Toulouse (F), St. Petersburg Russian Museum (RU), MuHKA Museum Contemporary Art d’Anvers (B), Azerbaijan State Museum of Art de Baku (AZ), Kunstmuseum Emden (DE), Martigny Art Museum (CH), Zimmerli Art Museum (US), Collection Oetcker Bielefeld (DE), Collection Arina Kowner Zurich (CH).