Kaikhan Chakhal-Salakhov is an American and Azerbaijani artist, writer, musician, architect, curator and actor whose work explores the hazy boundaries between the material and the spiritual world. Though born in New York in 1993 into a family of Azerbaijani and Russian artists, he moved to Russia with his family in 1993. His mother Aidan Salakhova is the daughter of renowned painter Tahir Salakhov, to whom Kaikhan Salakhov dedicated an exhibition in 2021. For the exhibition, which presents Tahir Salakhov’s life as a science fiction story, Kaikhan Salakhov serves both as a curator and artist, presenting his grandfather’s and mother’s work in juxtaposition to his own. In 2002, he held his first exhibition in a theatrical circle, followed by two exhibitions at ‘No. 5 DEZ’ in 2006 and 2007. He collaborated with ‘No. 5 DEZ’ again in 2012, this time as a curator on a show titled ‘Unsubstantial’. In 2011, after serving in a Buddhist monastery in Singapore, Salakhov entered the Moscow Architectural Institute. In 2014, he moved to Vienna to pursue his studies in architecture at the Vienna Polytechnic University and published ‘New Life’, a science-fiction novel inspired by his time spent in the Buddhist monastery. Currently, Kaikhan is working on a project entitled ‘Astral SpaceX’, through which he explores “the endless expanses of the inner worlds”. The AI robot T.A.H.I.R.A - 108, named after his grandfather, is a part of the artist’s investigation of nonmaterial dimensions. According to Kaikan Chakhal-Salakhov, “A human being, as any other sentient life form, is a citizen of the Cosmos, not just some specific universe, galaxy, solar system, planet, country, village or tribe. It is this which is Cosmic consciousness. It is this which is the essence of being.”
The drop by Azerbaijani American artist Kaikhan Salakhov continues TAEX’s series exploring the possibilities of crypto-architecture and space in digital art. The drop centres around an architectural studio where robot T.A.H.I.R.A - 108 works on models of spaceships in the spirit of deconstructivist architecture. Like many digital artists, Salakhov explores the relationship between human creativity and the artistic potential of artificial intelligence, but his approach is fundamentally different. Each of the eight video works is a game interface created by Salakhov, in which the android T.A.H.I.R.A acts as a creator. In the multi-level universe of Salakhov, artificial intelligence is not the Other, but someone close, a kin. The artist’s visual language refers to the glorious past of sci-fi and reminds of Isaac Asimov and the Strugatskys. T.A.H.I.R.A herself, depicted as the creator, is named after Kaihan’s grandfather, outstanding Soviet artist Tahir Salakhov, while her creations are similar to Salakhov’s life-long inspiration, Zaha Hadid.