Taus Makhacheva is part of the Avars, the largest ethnic group in Dagestan. She uses objects, movies and performances to re-position herself in a national narrative within a context where ‘nation’ does not exist. Makhacheva’s oeuvre questions the classical forms of history, governing cultural conventions and gender issues. With an attitude that is both humorous and critical towards contemporary society, Makhacheva tries to reconcile the present-day with nostalgia, local with global, and tradition with progress. She scrutinises the Caucasian society and the relationship between its history, collective memory and daily reality. With a sense of humour, Makhacheva explores the limits of identification within a cultural or physical landscape.
Makhacheva asks important questions about the functioning of art, museums and art history. How are collections kept, how are collections assembled, to what extent is a museum a reflection of past and present values, what can be seen as useful art? In addition, she also looks at who is leading the dialogue and seeks a more active role for objects in local museums. She also questions her own practice: how will you be remembered as an artist, what’s your legacy and how do you handle criticism and the opinion of others?