At first glance, the sentence “Love Me, Love Me Not” reminds us of a concept based on romance or the famous game that entails plucking the petals of a flower to determine in a rather naïve and playful fashion whether the object of our affection loves us or not... Yet upon dissection, several levels of interpretation emerge from this expression involving ideas of layers, duality, dynamics of recurrence and more importantly: aspects of complexity based on vacillating relationships.

Located at a crossroads between three major historical empires, the evolution of Azerbaijan is intricate, at times confusing, yet fascinating. A hybrid of all the various influences that have surrounded it over time it represents a nexus between its neighbours, as well as an indication of how time and the reading of recent history may have affected the perception of an entire region.

Featuring recent work by 17 artists from Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Georgia and the collective Slavs and Tatars, Love Me, Love Me Not will seek to remind viewers that there are multiple cultural links to be explored and will ultimately question how we each perceive history and geography.

In today’s society, where there is often a flow of information and yet often a lack of time to dig through what the real facts are, a true portrayal of a country has become like a puzzle to assemble. As such, the aim of this exhibition is to be somewhat different.

Each piece displayed has a role of giving the viewers at least one new perspective on the nations represented in this pavilion, with the mere intent to give a better understanding of the area that is being covered. Art enables dialogue and the Venice Biennale has proven to be the best arena for cultural exchange. This is why I hope this exhibition could play some modest part in destabilising traditional ideas about a part of the world that is largely misunderstood and in the end‚ start new conversations.

Dina Nasser-Khadivi