Author(s): Taus Makhacheva
In the midst of a meaningless and increasingly futureless world, between the devil of the state and the deep blue sea of the market, they invite us to continue stoically and modestly performing our duty—to preserve and cherish the cultural heritage that makes us who we are and keep it away from the abyss. Maybe that is why Tightrope and On the Benefits of Pyramids are ultimately uplifting and cathartic for both participants and audience. Is this not the true power of art? —Madina Tlostanova Published to document a project by the Dagestani artist Taus Makhacheva that consists of the film Tightrope and the series of performances On the Benefits of Pyramids in Cultural Education, Strengthening of National Consciousness, and the Formation of Moral and Ethical Guideposts, this book is built around a dialogue between Makhacheva and the protagonist of her film, the tightrope walker Rasul Abakarov. The publication offers insight into the artist’s practice and elaborates on the topics she tackles in her works. The interplay between the histories of art and the narratives that structure one’s identity are further examined in the contributions by curator Bart De Baere, decolonial theorist Madina Tlostanova, and archivist Sabih Ahmed. In addition to documentation of the film and performances, the volume also contains a selection of black-and-white photographs from the Abakarov family archive—a dynasty of Dagestani tightrope walkers—and color plates of sixty-one works from the collection of Dagestan Museum of Fine Arts Named after P. S. Gamzatova that are featured in Makhacheva’s film.