Fig. 1: Elena and Viktor Vorobyev’s studio in Almaty. The backlit photographic print is from the duo’s light box installation Ruler of the Stars. © Robbie Schweiger Fig. 2: An abandoned building known as ‘the snail’ in Bishkek, a broken-down sign for the cigarette brand ‘West’ hanging from its central column. The sign’s missing letters are only visible in reverse from its undamaged side, the resulting semi-inverted word appearing to symbolize the complex relationship with the West.. The building itself reminds of Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International, a symbol of the utopian aspirations of Soviet Modernism/Universalism. © Robbie Schweiger Fig. 3: Traditional Uzbek handwoven silk fabric with palm motifs. There are no palm trees in Central Asia, but their image appears on all sorts of things as a symbol of sophistication. © Robbie Schweiger Fig. 4: One of Vyacheslav Akhunov’s works coming to the Stedelijk: Zhivi tikho / Dyshi tikho (Live quietly / Breathe quietly), 1975. © Robbie Schweiger Fig. 5: Installation view of the exhibition In honour of L.B. at Asoan Gallery, 2019. In front, Rustam Khalfin’s installation from 1996 that gave name to the exhibiton. In the background Lidiya Blinova’s Finger Ornaments, 1995. Both works are now part of the Stedelijk collection. Courtesy of Aspan Gallery.
 The donation consists of works by Vyacheslav Akhunov, Bakhyt Bubikanova, Lidiya Blinova, Saodat
Ismailova, Dilyara Kaipova, Rustam Khalfin, Yerbossyn Meldibekov, Almagul Menlibayeva, Alexander Ugay, Gulana Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev, and Yelena and Viktor Vorobyev.
 The region labelled Central Asia, a term coined by Alexander von Humboldt in 1843, is seen as stretching from the Caspian Sea to Central China, and from Southern Russia to the north of Pakistan. Based on the origin of the artists represented by the gallery, these diverse territories can be narrowed down to three countries: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
 This approach was inspired by Klara Kemp-Welch’s book Networking the Bloc: Experimental Art in Eastern Europe 1965-1981 (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2019).