A photo exhibition by a French artist gives a unique picture of the regions of Kazakhstan

ASTANA – French multidisciplinary artist Adele Jelansky presented a photo exhibition, the result of her six-month creative photography residency in Kazakhstan, at the National Museum of Kazakhstan on December 7.

Photo exhibition “Men seni zhaksy koremin” or “Maintenant, je te vois” (I love/see you) opened at the National Museum. Photo: Aibarshyn Akhmetkali/The Astana Times.

The new exhibition at 45 photo collageswhich is on display until January 7, 2024, takes viewers on a journey with the photographer: from Almaty to the Altai region, from Mangistau to Turkestan, from Shymkent to Karaganda, all the way to Astana.

It chronicles of Jelanski artistic journey across Kazakhstan, exploring the deeper meaning buried in the lines of buildings, images of locals caught in the moment, and vast steppes and nature. For a careful eye, it can reveal some new truths about Kazakhstan.

“These photos interweave the regions she’s been in, showing some pretty unexpected pairings. In her technique, Adele overlays images on top of each other, exploring the essence of landscapes, whether natural, social or historical. This exhibition is a declaration of love for Kazakhstan, this vast and diverse country,” said French Ambassador to Kazakhstan Didier Canes.

Artist Adele Jelanski spent six months traveling around Kazakhstan. Photo: Aibarshyn Akhmetkali/The Astana Times.

For the artist, the exhibition is the product of a long, slow process of exploring a new way of creating. “This journey has been very fulfilling, both personally and creatively,” said Yelansky.

“When you travel or find yourself in non-standard situations, when you don’t know how to react, when you are constantly in a new environment and outside your comfort zone – this is what stimulates artistic creativity. And getting to know a new country is also a good opportunity to nurture, shape your views, change and understand the world and relationships better,” she added.

For the title of this exhibition, the artist chose Men Seni Zhaksy Koremin – both because of its general meaning from Kazakh “I love you”, a declaration of affection for Kazakhstan and its people, and literally “I see you well”. In Jelanski’s eyes, seeing is also love.

The Artist’s Process

Jelansky’s works look like digital collages, but a closer look reveals that they are individual photographs layered on top of each other to bring to the surface the most familiar or disturbing.

Jelansky uses a layering technique to create bold and colorful images. Photo: Aibarshyn Akhmetkali/The Astana Times.

After viewing the cities and places Jelanski begins his layering work by manipulating photographs, collecting all the individual images to assemble them into a work of art. She approaches the layering process in its own way.

“I can’t really explain it. I guess it’s more a matter of chance and intuition,” said the artist.

“Sometimes it can be visual intuition. I notice that this composition of this image may resonate with another. But sometimes I just want to talk about two ideas or three ideas in a different way, so I pick and choose what I need from different pictures. Other times it’s just a chance,” said Yelansky revealing the unique system behind its operation.

The exhibition of 45 photographic collages will be on display until January 7, 2024. Photo: Aibarshyn Akhmetkali/The Astana Times.

Layering adds richness to the colors. The result is a distinctive, instantly recognizable work of art which lies somewhere between a photograph and a painting.

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