Rule of Three


Self Portrait

by Uman
Mixed media, painting

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The thick and unpolished frame that contains Uman’s Self Portrait draws attention to the physicality of work, the faded staining pulling the eye to the wooden border’s knots and fractures. Inside this timber, boundaries between materials are blurred, oil paint blending into smooth collage and contrasting against rough, stippled patches. Tones of deep red imbue the canvas with intensity, echoed in the energetic brushstrokes. The combined effect is rawness of expression, verging on violence in its torn, flesh-like quality. As we search for the figurative, Uman denies us the comfort of clarity.

Words by Katherine Fieldgate

Heydar Aliyev Center

designed by Zaha Hadid

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Undulating across the Baku skyline is a dazzling white work of contemporary architecture. The curvature of the Heydar Aliyev Center belies its complex construction, the rippling canopy enveloping the large space inside. Its clean lines mesmerise, flowing seamlessly into a crest, then gently ebbing away into the surrounding metropolis. Zaha Hadid’s design joins apparent oppositions in a precisely calculated harmony. The graceful fluency seen in Azerbaijani calligraphy is echoed in the modern composition, forming a suitably summative site to act as the capital’s intellectual hub.

Words by Katherine Fieldgate


developed by Curve Studios
Video game

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The protagonist of Hydroventure is an aqueous mass, a body of water that sloshes across the screen in a splish-splashing wash of blue. Tilting our controller, we tip the liquid this way and that, navigating pipes, caves, and cable cars. We top up our reservoir as we go, picking up passengers, from goldfish to rubber duckies. The world that we explore is a book called the Aquaticus, its panelled pages damming our course until we complete the tasks set. Along the way, we must avoid pollutants, change state to ice or steam, and observe the rules of gravity. As droplets drip into cracks and crannies, we see our time trickle away before us.

Words by John Wadsworth

More to discover

Self Portrait: Read an article about Uman by Priscilla Frank for The Huffington Post.

Heydar Aliyev Center: Visit Zaha Hadid Architects' website here. Articles about the Heydar Aliyev Center available online include those by Peter Cook for The Architectural Review and Oliver Wainwright for The Guardian.

Hydroventure: Watch trailer gameplay for Hydroventure here.

Today's connection

The design of the Heydar Aliyev Center is often noted for its fluid nature. Uman is a genderfluid artist. Hydroventure was released as Fluidity in North America.

Question of the day

Which artworks connected to the word 'Fluidity' would you recommend? Let us know which other works you think share the word on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

'Brains', a song by Lower Dens. Jana Hunter, the vocalist of Lower Dens, identifies as genderfluid. (→)

– John Wadsworth, Silent Frame's Editor-in-Chief (via Patreon →)

Read more: Architecture