Born in 1978, Alexander Ugay is a Kazakh-Korean photographer, video artist and creator of “cinema-objects” within experimental collective Bronepoezd, which means “armed train” in Kazakh, of which he is one of the founders alongside Roman Maskalev. One of the most active figures in the Kazakh art scene, he was educated at St. Petersburg University and Bishnek University in Kyrgyzstan. He comes from a Korean family deported to Central Asia during the 1930s. Through his work Ugay explores questions concerning memory and nostalgia, with a focus on examining the interaction of history with the present and the future through photography and more recently, installation. His simultaneous portrayal of the past and the present is reflected via his 8-16 mm film camera manufactured during the Soviet era combined with a modern digital recording device. Many of Ugay’s photo and video-based works are aimed at studying the relationship between collective and personal memory through time and space. His work concerning personal and collective memory is captured through his representations of the still and moving image as found in his video work “Bastion” about the Monument to the Third Tatlin International.
Ugay has shown his work at the Busan Biennial of Contemporary Art (2022), Art Sonje Center in Seoul (2020); Sapar Contemporary in New York (2019); Lunds Konsthall in Sweden (2018); Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow (2016); Strasbourg Museum of Contemporary Art (2014); Museum of Contemporary Art (2011); Venice Architectural Biennale (2010); Centre Pompidou in Paris (2010); in the New Museum, New York (2009); Central Asian Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007); as well as various other biennials and international projects around the world, including solo shows at Aspan Gallery, Almaty, and Galeria Labirynt, Lublin, Poland, among others.
His work is part of international private and public collections. The latter includes Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Galeria Labirynt, Lublin, Poland; National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Astana, and Lunds Konsthall, Lund, Sweden.