The Theft of Fire: From Prometheus to Petroleum

01.06 – 08.07.2019

Kapellhaus, Baku, Azerbaijan

Curators: Alfons Hug, Asli Samadova

Monira Al Qadiri | Orkhan Huseynov | Andréas Lang | Marco Montiel-Soto | Samir Salahov | Tita Salina | Sadegh Souri | George Osodi | Sabina Shikhlinskaya and Chinara Majidova

It is no coincidence that the legend of Prometheus comes from the same mountaineous area where crude oil was first extracted commercially. In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and brought it down to humanity, and as a consequence, Zeus punished him by chaining him to a rock in the Caucasus mountains. Azerbaijan, in fitting with this myth, is known as the Land of Fire, and her flames are maintained by Baku, her vestal virgin.

In Azerbaijan’s capital city, oil rigs are in the immediate vicinity of the Zoroastrian fire temple and Yanar Dag, the “burning mountain”, from which natural gas has been seeping since time immemorial. Inherent to the raw material here is an almost spiritual element with great aesthetic potential.