Agil Abdullayev

First name: Agil {a: qeel}  Surname: Abdullayev {abdul: layev}

Born in 1992 | Baku, Azerbaijan
Instagram: @agilabdullayev

2018: BA Fine Art (first class honours) | Nottingham Trent University | UK
2015: Foundation of Art and Design | Nottingham Trent International College | UK

Agil Abdullayev is a cross-disciplinary artist, manifesting his works through video, conceptual essays, community-based projects, and critical discussions in Baku.

The semi-biographical practice of Agil, examines queer identity and how socio-political domination has shaped it in Azerbaijan and other south caucasian countries. He manifests through paintings, video, performance, and digital tools such as AR and VR. Main components of his practice, are understanding queer history through nonhuman subjectivities and reading the queer body as an archive. As in his films, he refers to escapism and utopia with futuristic aesthetics, works aim to address queer anxieties. He regards his childhood experiences as an archive of personal history, transhistorical memory, and space of hyper-possibility where representations of queer narratives can be disrupted, re-articulated, and reinvented. The course of Abdullayev’s works merge through examination of Azerbaijani queer identity representations and its relationship to the history, culture, queer thoughts, and radical South Caucasian traditions, often interwoven in explorations into his alter-egos and post-modern narratives. He frequently references and incorporates theoretical models in interdisciplinary research-based practice concerning imposed gender roles and embedded social class inequalities. 

In 2020, Agil founded a critical discussion and writing platform,"Çağdaşçılar" (eng: contemporaries) as a response to institutional censorship, lack of contemporary art media and art criticism and to support emerging and marginalized artists and cultural workers. Also co-founded ARTAZ ( a database of artists from Azerbaijan created in order to support the promotion of the Azerbaijani contemporary art scene in the international arena. ARTAZ developed an online database for local artists, regardless of their gender, sex, race, and cultural-social-political views, now it brings together more than 125 artists and cultural workers including but not limited to painters, sculptors, video artists, curators, researchers, photographers, directors from contemporary and post-modern movements, is updated monthly.

Selected solo exhibitions:
2023: Changing room, The Why Not Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia
2018: Shy boy of the pink future, Artim Project Space, Baku, Azerbaijan | Curated by Anna Fech
2018: Watch in a bright room and at a safe distance from the TV!, The Trophy Room, Liverpool, UK | curated by Harry Meadley

Selected group exhibitions/screenings/performances:
2022: Rewriting childhood (with Farhad Farzali), Gazelli Art House, Baku, Azerbaijan
2022: Play and loop IV, Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong | curated by Nick Yu

2021: New Horizons, The Writers’ House, Tbilisi, Georgia
2021: Haft Paykar, Kapellhaus, Goethe Institut, Baku, Azerbaijan | curated by Alfons Hug
2021: Do not run! This is only a mirage you see, Artim Project Space, Baku, Azerbaijan | curated by Zahra Mammadova
2021: Art Dubai, Gazelli Art House’s booth, DIFC, Dubai, UAE
2021: After hope, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, US

2020: Two snaps of the post-modern society (solo screening), Salaam Cinema, Baku, Azerbaijan
2020: Off the velvet chest, Smena - contemporary art space, Kazan, Tatarstan | curated by Asli Samadova
2020: 4th edition of DokuBaku Film Festival, Baku, Azerbaijan

2019: Off the velvet chest, Triumph Gallery, Moscow, Russia | curated by Asli Samadova
2019: That’s why I don’t hang out with cool kids, Yarat Contemporary Art Space, Baku, Azerbaijan 
2019: F®ictions, DIY Space for London, UK
2019: Across the mountains: South Caucasus Photography, MOMA, Tbilisi, Georgia | curated by Anna Shpakova
2019: Ta(r)rdino6 at Art Spaces SectionContemporary Istanbul Fair, Turkey
2019: Forget what you know, see who I am, Artim Project Space, Baku, Azerbaijan | curated by Anna Fech
2019: Video Wortex: There will be different tomorrow, Spazju Kreattiv, Valletta, Malta
2019: To be woman, HIVE alternative Pavilion, Tbilisi Art Fair, Georgia
2019: For the time beingThe Photographers Gallery, London, UK | Curated by Rachel Chiodo, Sitara Chowfla, Hang Li, Esther Moerdler, Carlos Pinto

2019: On the tip of other tonguesArtim Project Space, Baku, Azerbaijan  | Curated by Anna Fech
2019: Becoming, Freehold Projects, Leeds, UK
2019: Hometown Weather, Salaam Cinema, Baku, Azerbaijan 

2018: New ContemporariesSouth London Gallery, London, UK
2018: Where are you at these interesting times?, AIR Gallery, Manchester, UK | Curated by Scaffold Collective
2018: Fluid Sense of Presence, One Thoresby Street, Nottingham, UK
2018: lgbt+f: planet 2028LUX, London, England, United Kingdom | Curated by Seema Mattu
2018: New Contemporaries, Liverpool Biennale, England, United Kingdom
2018: Capitalism stole my virginitySurface Gallery, Nottingham, UK | Curated by Agil Abdullayev and Katie Bishop

2017: The 15 CmdmentsThe Wrong - New Digital Art Biennale, Online  | Curated by Sid and Jim
2017: Repost_Modern, Omni Modern Gallery, Online | Curated by Tyler Robarge
2017: Me: Also Me:, Wuu2’s website, Online
2017: Is this real lyf??, B&D Studios, Newcastle, UK  | Curated by Stacey Davidson
2017: Boys don’t cry, Artim Project Space, Baku, Azerbaijan | Curated by Anna Fech
2017: Howz Sho, Alternative art location, Nottingham, UK
2017: Film free and easy: Spring Roll, Primary, Nottingham, UK

2016: Future Late Weekend, Tate Modern, London, UK | Curated by Tate Collectives
2016: Film free and easy: Fall Roll, Primary, Nottingham, UK

2015: Limit to transit, Kicik Qala Art Gallery, Baku, Azerbaijan

2014: ASTAR, MOMA, Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Russia | Curated by Nailya Allakhverdieva

Artist-in-residency/visiting programs:
2022: Meet Factory, Prague, Czech Republic
2021: New Horizons, artist-in-residence, Goethe Institute, Tbilisi, Georgia
2021: V-NYI - Critical Cultural Studies, an advanced study program in collaboration of Stony Brook University and The Herzen State Pedagogical University
2019: Cittadellarte - Pistoletto Foundation, Biella, Italy
2019: International Summer Academy of Fine Arts, Salzburg, Austria
2019: The Art Prospect Exchange Fellowship, CEC Artlinks, NYC, US
2019: Yarat Contemporary Art Space, Baku, Azerbaijan
2018: Group Residency, One Thoresby Street, Nottingham, UK
2018: Dostum January, Online Residency,
2017: WUU2 Mate?, Online Residence,
2017: A Lifeless Lifestyle, Online Residency, Cyberplynth

2022: Seed Award, Prince Claus Fund
2022: Artlink’s 100 artist winner, SudKultur Fund
2022: MicroProject, EVZ Youth Foundation
2019: Fellowship Program by Art Prospect, CEC Artlink. Russia/USA
2019: Short course grant by BKA Eastern Europe. Salzburg, Austria
2018: Studio bursary by One Thoresby Street. Nottingham, UK
2018: Artist of the month, TOMBOY LTD. LONDON, UK

Curatorial Projects:
2021: Presence; Nur Art House, Baku, Azerbaijan
Artists: Mehrin Ali, Elchin Mikailov, Bashga Rassam, Sujayat Ismayilova, Nermin Zey
2019: Women with moustaches and men without beards; Salaam Cinema, Baku, Azerbaijan
Artists: Rene Matic, Taus Makhacheva, Ilkin Huseynov, Equals Collective, AZAD LGBT
2018: My chain hits my chest (in collaboration with Heidi Chan and Katie Bishop); One Thoresby Street, Nottingham, UK
Artists: Annie-Marie Akussah, Wendy Asumadu, Sitara Ibrahimova, Rene Matic, Seema Mattu, Zarina Muhammad, Zandile Nyamande, Grace Payne
2018: Capitalism stole my virginity (in collaboration with Katie Bishop); Surface Gallery, Nottingham, UK
Artists: Pádraig Condron, Charlie Dean, Christos Gkenoudis, Demi Hill, Tiffany Hunt, Phoebe Neil, Jake Moore, Takudzwa Mukomberanwa, Aiden Slee, and Tiffany Slowick
2017: Me: also Me; Wuu2’s website, Online
Artists: Ami Cure, Ellen Moss, Craig D. Parr, Hollie Grace, Hollie Page, Agil Abdullayev)