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A Brick to the World

Site-specific installation

Wooden cubes, acrylic paint

le-Alatau National Park


asel kadyrkhanova a brick to the world

       The installation features three alphabets of the Kazakh language – Cyrillic, Latin and Arabic. The Kazakh language was typically written in the Arabic alphabet until the early 20th century, when it was replaced by Latin, and then the Cyrillic alphabet as part of the cultural policies of the Soviet Union. Today Cyrillic is the official alphabet in the country, however, Arabic and Latin scripts continue to be used by Kazakh diasporas in China, Afghanistan, Turkey, Germany and the USA.


In this installation, 21 letter-cube build up the phrase “You too are a brick to the World” from a poem by Abay Kunanbayuli, Kazakh philosopher of the XIX century. The cubes are arranged in such a way that the phrase can be read simultaneously in all three alphabets. It mixes different textual codes and, thus, hinders comprehension. Such fragmentation also refers to the fragmentation of modern Kazakh society, as well as the broken transit of cultural tradition, when different generations cannot communicate with each other because they use different letters.


On the other hand, not only a deconstruction of the phrase but a deconstruction of the form takes place, so that the simplest form becomes an empty shell for meaning, and a letter loses its significance becoming nothing more than an ornament for those unfamiliar with the code.

Asel Kadyrkhanova A Brick to the World_fragment_2015
Asel Kadyrkhanova_A Brick to the World_fragment_2015
Asel Kadyrkhanova A Brick to the world fragment_2015
Asel Kadyrkhanova A Brick to the World_installation in progress_2015
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