Improvisions of Reality…
By Professor Ziyadxan Aliyev, Honored Art Worker of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Doctor of Philosophy in Art History
There are such creators in the fine arts of modern Azerbaijan that even their names generate a good mood for those who hear about them. One of them is Teymur Rzayev, the honored artist of Azerbaijan.
From the onset of Azerbaijan’s independence, his activities in fraternal Turkey have actually been conducive to his considerable recognition as an artist in both countries.
The fact that he has been able to spread the fame of Azerbaijan’s fine arts in the friendly country over the past years can be considered the greatest achievement of his performance. Today, being the coordinator of many Azerbaijani artists and sculptors living and working in Turkey, Teymur Rzayev has also been instrumental in expanding the Turkish-Azerbaijani cultural ties…
Teymur Rzayev received his specialized education at the famous Azim Azimzada School (1975-1979), then at the Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts (1982-1988).
Lessons of the renowned artist Mikayil Abdullayev at the university have left deep traces on his life by determining his future creative path and aesthetic capacity of his outlook on life.
Mikayil Abdullayev, who defined his creative approach to national spiritual sources in his works, managed to demonstrate the infinity of the artistic-aesthetic and artistic-technical possibilities of real art, can always be an example for those who take new steps in art.
In this sense, Teymur Rzayev still remembers his teacher’s master classes. Each time, he completes his contact with the canvas in front of him, he is convinced of the truth of the advice and counsel of his master about the real art.
Indeed, it is possible to witness the artistic improvisations that we emphasize in each of Teymur Rzayev’s works, which make up the richness of the genre. Creative artistic reality is not, as many think, the transfer of nature to the canvas as an exact photo.
There were those who approached what they saw in the history of art. Perhaps, in time, it brought them material prosperity as a human being, but it was not conducive to the eternity and humanity of their professions. Because, in their attitude to the object, “painting” was more than a creative approach to what they saw…
It is good that Teymur Rzayev’s reality, like that of his teacher, is purely creative. In his works of different genres, in the distance between the object and the canvas, there is a “point of view” that allows the author to show his creative “selfness” to what he sees.
The main reason for this is that what appears in the image is an expression of the moral and aesthetic value of the artist’s inner world. Portraits, created by Teymur Rzayev over different years, are especially noteworthy for their convincing and memorable artistic content.
Portraits of great Azerbaijani poet Mahammadhuseyn Shahriyar; the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kamal Ataturk; famous film directors Tofiq Ismayilov and Cahangir Zeynalov; philosopher and playwright Mirza Fatali Axundzada; famous Turkish militaries and other personalities are considered to be the spiritual and psychological carriers of the time.
If the dark and neutral background he chose for Shahriyar’s portrait serves to exaggerate the attractiveness of the radiant face of the image, the addition of numerous film shots to that of director Tofiq Ismayilov’s similarly colorful background is also seen as a sign of Tofiq Ismayilov’s profession.
Ataturk’s watercolor portrait displays a different artistic approach from that of oil paintings of the artist mentioned above. The transparency in the artistic solution of the portrait, which is prominent here, is the persuasiveness of the facial features and the purposeful imperfection in its form.
The attractiveness and memorableness created by this junction of artistic merits is quite touching. In Portrait of Rasul, dedicated to Teymur Rzayev’s son, the artist replaced the previous set of lines to a slightly softer style with a geometric expression.
Actually, the artist has demonstrated his ability to express a different view of the world with this kind of conditional expression, which seems unexpected for many.
In Teymur Rzayev’s still lifes, too, with a realistic-real life view, he prefers geometric shapes. No matter how much conventionality is felt in still lifes, depicting various flowers and fruits, such a purposeful deformation is attractive and memorable because of bright and fresh shades of colors.
In the painting Reflection, which displays a kamancha and a pomegranate, the artist, who took the image from the perspective of an ordinary still life, added a mirror that reflects what is seen here, managed to attach a philosophical shade to the painting.
There are enough moments in his Chess and Pomegranate painting, where chessboard and сhesspieces are paired with a pomegranate to engage spectators in dialogue.
The interpretation of the theme in the artist’s Karabakh painting is considered a symbol of the struggle between Good and Evil and the hope for the future. At the root of the reality that dominates his Wrestlers painting is to show the intensity of the struggle of two people for victory.
Teymur Rzayev’s life and work in Turkey today does not end with a passion for color. The artist, who came to Istanbul at the invitation of Badraddin Dalan, the founder and president of the Istek Foundation, currently works as a professor at Yeditepe University.
The Art Studio, created at his initiative and with his close participation in the university, is an unparalleled workplace in the international arena. The fact that Teymur Rzayev holds a degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in History of Art can also be considered an expression of his interest in the study of sources of our national art.
The artist’s extensive public activity in Turkey, along with his creative work, is an expression of his talent for self-expression. In this sense, Teymur Rzayev’s contribution to the development of the Turkish-Azerbaijani and the Turkish-Russian relations should be especially noted.
Throughout the years of independence, he has played the role of a coordinator of Azerbaijani artists, who traveled from Baku to Turkey and work at universities of different cities of the fraternal country, is first of all, a result of his sympathy with these numerous creators.
His involvement in this process, as well as other artists working in Turkey, led to the creation of a “national cultural diaspora” that could properly promote Azerbaijan. Teymur Rzayev, who, from time to time, has been closely involved in the organization of most public events related to Azerbaijan in Turkey, has been able to do memorable work in the field of visual promotion of Azerbaijani culture and art.
Teymur Rzayev was awarded the Ivan Shuvalov Medal of the Russian Academy of Arts in 2013, and a special medal of this higher scientific and creative center in 2015 for his services in expanding the Russian-Turkish cultural ties.
In 2015, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev awarded Teymur Rzayev the third degree of For Service to the Fatherland order. He was named an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts in 2017 for his creative achievements.
At the initiative of Teymur Rzayev, Ali Bay Huseynzada’s artistic heritage and personal belongings, collected in Turkey by his daughter Feyzavar Alpsar, were brought to Azerbaijan in 2017 and handed over to the Museum of Independence of Azerbaijan. Teymur Rzayev, who attended this ceremony, was asked to present our tricolor national flag to Feyzavar Alpsar as the recognition of his many years of service.
The celebration of Teymur Rzayev’s 60th anniversary at the International Mugam Center in Baku two years later should also be taken as an official assessment of his numerous services to the promotion of Azerbaijan worldwide.
At his initiative, a sale campaign of works of artists and sculptors of the two brotherly countries was held in Turkey in 2021, and the collected funds were transferred to the YASHAT Foundation to be given to the families of our servicemen, who were killed and wounded, in the Second Karabakh War.
Teymur Rzayev was instrumental in the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the prominent Azerbaijani artist Mikayil Abdullayev in Istanbul this year. As a reliable and talented student of the teacher, he carried out extensive preparatory work and created an interesting exhibition, bringing together more than a hundred works of the artist preserved in private collections in Turkey.