About me

Sabina Shikhlinskaya was born in 1962 in Baku, Azerbaijan, and from 1977 to 1981 studied painting at the Azimzadeh State College of Fine Arts in Baku. After graduating, she enrolled in the Mukhina Institute of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg where she continued her studies of monumental (large format) painting. However, Shikhlinskaya abandoned her diploma work in 1983 due to her disagreement with the normative and propagandistic Soviet style, returning to Baku to study easel painting at the Azerbaijan State University of Arts (currently the Academy of Fine Arts). In 1988, Sabina's diploma work on the theme of the pagan holiday "Novruz Bayram" (holiday of spring) - with nude symbolic figures - was never shown as it blatantly challenged Soviet ideology. However, Sabina continued to paint on the theme of Novruz and subsequently two of these were purchased by the Tretyakovskaya gallery in Moscow as part of their modern art collection from Azerbaijan.

In the early 1990s, with the parting of the iron curtain, Shikhlinskaya was exhibited at the L'Orangeraie gallery in St. Paul de Vence, France, which purchased her work on the theme of Chaushewsky's death. Later in the 1990s, Sabina switched from painting to drawing, where she wove literary texts into graphic forms and images. In parallel, she began to experiment with land art, installation and video. After her first attempt in 1996, where Sabina Shikhlinskaya and a group of Azerbaijani artists installed a labyrinth in the gallery space, she fully transitioned from traditional painting to contemporary art.

In 1999 Sabina curated and participated in a project on the theme of "Paradise Lost", in which participating artists collected found objects on the Absheron peninsula and created installations focused on the Baku's environmental decay. In 2000, as part of another land art project about fire worship, Sabina made seven doors from fire, emulating an ancient Zoroastrian temple. In Sabina's last land art project, "Oil", she used petrol as her painting medium. 

From 2006 Sabina has extensively explored video art. Her first video installation "Hamam", illustrating an old traditional Sufi ritual of bathing and cleansing, was exhibited worldwide. In 2007, Shikhlinskaya made her second video project " Ship Bolshevik Narimam Narimanov" - filming an abandoned Soviet shipwreck and combining the visual image with interviews of artists on the subject of post-Soviet change and stagnation. "Dangerous Red", one from her latest works, is a commentary on violence and its presence in everyday life. As installation it was exhibited  in Poland, Norway, Georgia and in Azerbaijan in 2009 -2010.

Shikhlinskaya's works are in the collections : Tretyakovskaya State Gallery, Russia; Ministry of Culture of Russia; Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan; Museum of Modern Art of Azerbaijan; Giz Galasi Gallery, Baku, Azerbaijan; Yeni Gallery, Baku, Azerbaijan; BP headquarters in Baku, Azerbaijan; Istanbul, Turkey; London, UK; International Bank of Azerbaijan; East European Foundation / Meda Mladek /, Prague, Check Republic;
Private: Azerbaijan, Turkey, Israel, UK, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Norway, France, Italy, USA, Canada, Japan, Australia


1977 - 1981     A.Azimzadeh State College of Fine Arts, Baku, Azerbaijan
1981 - 1983      V.Mukhina Institute of Arts, St.Petersburg, Russia
1983 - 1988      Azerbaijan State University of Arts and Culture, Baku, Azerbaijan


since 1988       Member of the Union of the Azerbaijan Artists
since 1989       Member of Baku Art Center
since 1996       Initiator of  Labyrinth Art Group
since 2006       Title of "Honored Artist" of the Republic of Azerbaijan
since 2009       Member of CIMAM / International Commiittee of ICOM for Museums and
                        Collections of Modern Art


2012         - 30th Council of Europe Art Exhibition. “The Desire for  Freedom. 
                  Art in Europe since 1945", German Historical Museum, Berlin, Germany
                  - Documenta 13, Pavilion of Critical Art Ensemble, Kassel, Germany
                  - Global Village 2012  "Project 072", Alkmaar, Netherlands
2011          - "WMD" - Contemporary Art from Azerbaijan, Centre of 
                Contemporary  Art, Baku, Azerbaijan
                 - "PROXIMITY" joint exhibition of PROUN Gallery,Docks on 
                the Seine, Paris, France
                 - "Impossible Community", project “Portrait of 19 million”, State 
                Museum of Modern Art of the Russian Academy of Arts, Moscow, Russia
                  - "The Journey to the East", ART-KYIV contemporary 2011, the National Art,
                  Culture and Museum Complex "Mystetskiy Arsenal",Kyiv, Ukraine / catalogue /
                  "Impossible Community", project “Portrait of 19 million”, State Museum
                  of Modern Art of the Russian Academy of Arts, Moscow, Russia
                  - "Proximity" joint exhibition of PROUN Gallery, Docks on the Seine, Paris, France
                  - "The Journey to the East". Galeria Arsenal, Bialystok, Poland  / catalogue /
                  - “Harmony” International exhibition, Yeoksam Culture center, Seoul, Korea   / catalogue / 
2010          - "USSR-remix" group exhibition, Contemporary art of Azerbaijan, Tou Scene Art Centre,
                    Beer Halls,Stavanger, Norway / catalogue /
                  - 1st International Land Art Biennial, National Gallery, UlaanBaatar, Mongolia / catalogue /
2009          - Intern. group exh., Transkaukazia project, "Zamok Uyazdovski"Centre,
                  Warsaw, Poland / catalogue /
                  -  "Artisterium" 2nd Tbilisi International Contemporary Art Exhibition and Art 
                  Events /catalogue /
2008          - 3d International Forum of Contemporary Art, Cappadokia, Turkey
                  - "Steps of Time" Modern and contemporary Art from Az-n, Dresden Museum of Art,
                  Residentshlotz Palace, Germany /catalogue /
                  - Exhibition of Azeri artists "9+", Berlin – Baku Gallery, Berlin, Germany
                  - "Hamam" video installation, Festival "Sarajevo Winter", Bosnia-Herzegovina /catalogue /
2007           - "Hamam" video installation, 3d International Biennial of Contemporary Art
                   "Aluminium'', Shirvanshakhs Palace, Baku, Azerbaijan / catalogue /
                   - " Fair" Labyrinth Group project, 52nd Venice Biennale, Pavilion of Azerbaijan     
                     Republic /catalogue /
2006            - " Artists in Residency'' , "Station K", Sandnes, Norway
                    - "Hamam" video installation, Tou Scene Art Centre, Stavanger, Norway
                    - 4th International Painting Biennial of the Islamic World, Teheran, Iran
2005            - International Art Festival, Jerusalem, Israel
                    - Labyrinth Group exh., " Transformation" 2nd International Biennial of
                    Contemporary Art "Aluminium", Baku, Azerbaijan /catalogue/
2004            - "Artists from Azerbaijan", Porcia Palace, Vienna, Austria / catalogue/
                    - "Baku-Paris. 20 artists", Orangeri de Senat, Paris, France /catalogue /
                    - "Artists from Azerbaijan", IMF Gallery, Washington DC, USA/catalogue/
2003            - "Grands et jeunes d'aujourd'hui", Espace Auteuil, Paris, France /catalogue/
2000            - "Art Salon-2000" International Art Salon, Moscow, Russia
1998            - "Artists from Azerbaijan" World Bank, Washington DC, USA
1999 – 2005   - Labyrinth Group, Land Art projects- workshops, simposiums, exhibitions,
                          Baku/ Absheron/, Azerbaijan and regions /catalogues /             
1996               - Labyrinth Group installation, Sattar Bahlulzadeh Gallery, Baku, Azerbaijan


2006 Residency, Rogaland Art Center, Stavanger, Norway
2005 Workshop, “Land Art Oil”, Balakhani, Azerbaijan
2001 Workshop, “Land Art Fire”, Absheron Peninsula, Azerbaijan
1999 Workshop, “Land Art”, Gakh, Azerbaijan
1999 Workshop, “Land Art”, Absheron Peninsula, Azerbaijan
1996 Residency, Druckwerkstate, Bethanien, Berlin, Germany