Fondazione In Between Art Film has organized an exhibition of film works at Complesso dell'Ospedaletto in Venice. Titled Nebula, and coinciding with the 60th Venice Biennale, this show represents a thematic continuation of the Fondazione's previous exhibition Penumbra, which was a resounding success in Venice. Among the artists who have been invited to show their work in Nebula is the standout Uzbek film artist Saodat Ismailova.

Ismailova has created Melted Into the Sun, a film installation which records the story of Al-Muqanna (The Veiled One), an 8th-century mystic and revolutionary from Khorasan who fought against the Abbasids in the far-flung reaches of their empire. His 'proto-socialist' ideas and purported usage of magical practices in his struggle against the Abbasids have reverberated throughout the history of Central Asia. Ismailova also explores the role that the religions of Zoroastrianism and Mazdakism, Islam and Buddhism played in Al-Muqanna's political movement, while touching upon how Soviet propaganda appropriated his figure in the dissemination of socialist ideology in Central Asia.

Taking inspiration from the Latin meaning of “nebula” (namely, fog), the installations which are on view in Complesso dell'Ospedaletto, a 16th-century church/hospital complex, seek to break the rigid constraints of film art. Fondazione In Between Art Film asked of each of the artists in the show to create installations which could seamlessly integrate into the architectural milieu of the venue, while simultaneously blurring the distinctions that pervade socio-political, psychological, technological and historical realms.

Ismailova expresses a special interest for the history of her home region of Central Asia, with special attention being focused on women's history and cultural practices. The oneiric quality of her cinema is emphasized by its slow pace and the rhythmic cadence of her editing. Ismailova has been the subject of much attention in recent years. In 2022 she won the Eye Art & Film Prize, organised by Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, and also had her work shown in documenta fifteen in Kassel and in the central exhibition at the Venice Biennial. In September 2024 she will have a comprehensive survey at Pirelli HangarBicocca in Milan.

Ismailova has initiated several educational programs and projects including CCA Lab and Tashkent Film Encounters, and has also founded the research group DAVRA. More information can be found on her Instagram profile.

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