Faig Ahmed

Born in 1982 | Sumgayit, Azerbaijan

Contact: mail@faigahmed.com 


2004: Sculpture Faculty, Azerbaijan State Academy of Fine Art

Faig Ahmed is a multimedia artist mostly known due to his conceptual works playing with traditional (mostly Azerbaijani) carpets through deconstruction and rearrangement of the well-accepted motives, and structures bearing historical importance to give them a contemporary soul and sculptural forms. Besides, the artist uses art forms other than sculpture such as video, installation, and drawings. His works are well-known and well-accepted in the international art scene. In 2007, he represented Azerbaijan at the nation’s inaugural pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Faig Ahmed creates a new visual language by using age-old traditional structures that are remarkably consistent as a base of his works and reimagining new ways, motives, and structures for the ancient art of carpet weaving. He adds technical glitches, swirls, frays, oozes, and other 3-dimensional elements to the rugs he reconstructs and brings them into contemporary art context by doing so. By some, Ahmed’s works are interpreted as a way of fighting with traditions, challenging or destroying the long-accepted stereotypes, and creating a space where both past and present coexist. However, the artist says that “I am not interested in merging the past and present. I am interested in the past because it’s the most stable conception of our lives…”, “…by these deformations, I don’t mean to revolt against tradition”.

Artist’s work is not merely for the aesthetic or enhancing and changing visual languages. Faig Ahmed approaches the world in a philosophical, spiritual, and scientific context and his view of life is a guide to understanding his craft. He says that the carpets, firmly connected with ordinary people’s lives, are a huge metaphor representing everything, social structures and people’s way of living included. Additionally, Ahmed says rugs were a new material that very few artists used to apply in their art, at that time when he started working with them. In the process of making, the artist uses his linguistic knowledge to better understand and decode the ancient carpets. He also travels and engages with the cultures he uses in his art during the making process.

From the quantum physics perspective, Faig Ahmed considers humans small particles in a vast universe; similarly, each knot in a carpet resembles a single pixel among the whole composition.

Ahmed has exhibited his works worldwide including group and solo exhibitions in New York, Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, Venice, Dubai, Washington D.C., Hong Kong, Mumbai, Moscow, Azerbaijan, Sweden, Norway, Honolulu, Melbourne, and Sydney.

Ahmed’s works have been exhibited in several museums including the Museum of Fine Art Boston, Los Angeles County Museum, Bellevue Art Museum, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, MOCA Cleveland, Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania, Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, NYU Abu Dhabi, the Textile Museum of Sweden, the Projective Eye Gallery at UNC Charlotte, and many others. The artist was nominated for the Jameel Prize 3 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Ahmed’s upcoming museum exhibitions include shows at The Aga Khan Museum, the New Tretyakov Gallery, and Istanbul Modern.

Ahmed’s works can be seen in public collections globally, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum, Palm Springs Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, RISD Museum of Art, Chrysler Museum of Art, George Washington University, Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN; Currier Museum of Art, NH;  Bargoin Museum, France; MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art, Krakow, Poland; The National Gallery of Victoria, Australia; Arsenal art Contemporain Montréal, Canada; The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Norway, Istanbul Modern.

His work has also been placed in private and institutional collections such as the West Collection, Philadelphia; the Microsoft Art Collection, Wake Forest University, the collection of Beth Rudin DeWoody, New York; Galila’ Collection, Brussels; Ranza collection, Rome; Jameel Foundation, Espacio SOLO, Puerta de Alcalá, Madrid; London and H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, UAE.

Solo exhibitions:
2020: "Faig Ahmed: Dissolving Order" Aga Khan Museum. Toronto, Canada
2019: ”Faig Ahmed” Honolulu Museum of Art. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
2019: “Faig Ahmed” Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
2018: Faig Ahmed: Nonvisual Language” The George Washington University Museum.
2018: The Textile Museum. Washington, USA
2017: “Faig Ahmed” Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, Lancaster, USA
2017: “Equation “Textile Museum of Sweden, Borås, Sweden
2017: “10−35” Kapellhaus Baku, Azerbaijan
2016: “ Source Code ” Sapar Contemporary, New York, USA
2016: “Ne var, odur ” YARAT Contemporary Art Space, Baku, Azerbaijan
2016: “Black Sheep ” NYU Abu Dhabi, New York, USA
2016: “ Points of Perception ” MACRO Testaccio, Rome, Italy
2015: ” Omnia Mutantur, Nihil Interit ” Montoro12 Contemporary Art. Rome, Italy
2014: “ Fluid forms ”, Cuadro Gallery. Dubai, UAE
2013: “ East in Twist ”, Leila Heller Gallery, New York, USA
2012: “ Actual Tradition ”, Kicik Qalart Gallery, Baku, Azerbaijan

Group exhibitions
2020: “A Collection in the Making. Art – Architecture – Design”. The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design. Oslo, Norway
2020: “Guests: Artists and Craftspeople ”. Istanbul Modern. Istanbul, Turkey
2020: “ The Russian Fairy Tale. From Vasnetsov to the Present “. New Tretyakov Gallery. Moscow Russia
2020: “ Still Human”. Colección SOLO. Madrid, Spain
2020: “Future Artifacts” Projective Eye Gallery at UNC Charlotte Center City. The University of North Carolina, Charlotte, USA
2019: “Off the Velvet Chest” Triumph gallery. Moscow, Russia
2019: “Le conseguenze dell’errore” TRA Treviso Ricerca Arte. Treviso, Italy
2019: “Tommy Cash and Rick Owens. The Pure and the Damned” Kumu Art Museum. Tallinn, Estonia
2019: "Hannah Ryggen Triennial 2019: New land" Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum (National Museum of Decorative Arts) Trondheim, Norway
2019: “Tradition Interrupted” Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts. Walnut Creek, California, USA
2019: “Derived from the Decorative: Works by Faig Ahmed, Beth Lipman and Bouke de Vries”
2019: Cheekwood Estate and Gardens. Nashville, Tennessee, USA
2018: “The Shapes of Birds: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa”. Newport Art Museum, Newport, Rhode Island, USA
2018: “Faig Ahmed” Church Fine Arts, Sheppard Contemporary. Reno, Nevada, USA
2018: “ The Phantom of Liberty: Contemporary Works in the RISD Museum Collection”. RISD Museum, Rhode Island, USA
2018: “ .OBJ ”, National Design & Craft Gallery. Castle Yard, Kilkenny, Ireland
2018: “ Nomadic Murals: Contemporary Tapestries and Carpets”. Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, USA
2018: “ Tissage Tressage quand la sculpture defile”. Villa Datris Foundation, Paris, France
2018: “ The Atlantic Triangle” , the 11th Mercosul Visual Arts Biennial. Porto Alegre, Brazil
2018: “ Long, Winding Journeys: Contemporary Art and The Islamic Tradition” Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, USA
2017: NGV Triennial, National Gallery of Victoria. Melbourne, Australia.
2017: 4th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art. Russia
2017: " Contemporary Art in Carpets and Flying Carpet" Azerbaijan Carpet Museum, Azerbaijan, Baku
2017: OSTRALE – Biennale. 11th International Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Dresden, Germany
2016: “ On the origin of art ” MONA - Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart Tasmania Australia
2016: “ Out of Hand ”, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo, Sydney, Australia 
2016: " Wall to Wall. Carpets by Artists ", Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, USA
2016: “ FITE 2016 – REBELS ” Musée Bargoin, Clermont-Ferrand, France
2016: “Atoms and Bytes: Reefining Craft in the Digital Age” Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA, USA
2016: “ Repetition- Reticulation ” Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, Milwaukee, USA
2016: “Islamic Art Now, Part 2. Contemporary Art of the Middle East” The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, USA
2015: "Crafted: Object in Flux" Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Boston, USA
2015: “Exploring Inward”. Louise Blouin Foundation. London, UK
2014: “Threads”, Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem. Holland, Arnhem At the Crossroads 2, Sotheby’s auction house’, London, UK
2013: Venice Biennale 2013, “Love me Love me Not”, Yarat Contemporary Art Space Pavilion, Venice, Italy
2013: “Jameel Prize” 3 shortlist nomination Victoria & Albert Museum. London, UK
2012: “Fly to Baku. Contemporary art from Azerbaijan”, Phillips de Pury & Company, London, UK
2011: “On Soz”, Yarat Contemporary art space, Baku
2011: “Fabulous Four”, Kicik Qalart Gallery, Baku
2008: “Steps of time”, Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau, Dresden, Germany
2007: “Aluminum 3”, International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Baku Azerbaijan
2007: 52nd Venice Biennale, Azerbaijan pavilion, Venice, Italy
2006: “Caucasus”, National Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia

Curatorial Projects
2013: Zavod, Baku Air Condition Plant building. Baku, Azerbaijan
2013: Exhibition "World is yours, World is mine". Baku, Azerbaijan


From “Embroidery Space” installation, 2015

Speech of Birds, 2016
Handmade wool and silk carpet
300 × 174.9 cm

Gautama, 2017
Arsenal Art contemporain, Montreal, Canada

Wave function, 2016
Rhode Island School of Design Museum, USA

Influence, 2007
Installation, mixed media
Exhibition section: Azerbaijan today