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ExibArt in Venice

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 PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:15 am    Post subject: ExibArt in Venice Reply with quote Back to top

ExibArt, Italy
Nov 6 2005


Sona Abgarian, Vahram Aghasyan, Diana Hakobian, Tigran Khachatrian
Commissario: Edward Balassanian.
Commissario Onorario: Jean Boghossian.
Curatore: David Kareyan.

Sede: Collegio Armeno Murad Rafaelian, Palazzo Zenobio, Dorsoduro


>From mid-nineties in almost all sectors of the society the enthusiasm
of revolution turned into overall state of crisis. It was pregnant
with apathy, subjective attitude towards social life, and mounting
nostalgia for the double-summit world, a world where poverty and
deprivation were compensated by illusive pride of citizenship of a
nuclear superpower. This inclination which had emerged in Armenia and
other post-soviet countries is the basic obstacle of creation of a
democratic society.

Today processes of globalization more than ever attach importance to
the civic attitude of every person, particularly that of the
individual artist. But this is not an automatic simple choice. This
is not a choice between the past and the future, between the east and
the west, the war and peace, or between `mine' and `yours'.

The choice which is made by the artist today, is rather an act of
resistance. As stated by Adorno `Affirmativeness resists the worst,
the development of barbarism; it not only suppresses nature, but also
preserves it because of this suppression. ... Life asserts itself by
means of culture, including the hope for better, dignified, true and
worthy human life. ... Affirmativeness doesn't wind the halo of
innocence around the existing; it vigorously resists death, the telos
of all power, all hegemony, while sympathizing everything that

Participating artists of `Resistance Through Art' have had very
active role in all of the activities which have taken place in
Armenia in the nineties, outside the sphere of institutions inherited
from the Soviet era.

The Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art (`NPAK' in
Armenian acronym) became the venue where artists gathered and freely
exhibited the hidden, unconformable, and oppressed layers of
socio-cultural and psychological conflicts. In particular exhibitions
entitled `Crisis', `Collapse of Illusions', `Civic Commotion',
`Anoush', and their culmination: `Politics Under 180 Degree' should
be noted, where the hysteric and crazed outbursts of `revolutionary
reconstruction' of farmer-breeder culture, and industrial
modernization were acutely displayed. These are conflicts which we
witness when the ideology tending towards the singular center
collides with reality.

Artists of this wave of resistance, using psychological and aesthetic
contradictions, display the `clash of the material and the spiritual'
as the reverberation of already non-existent world, whose acoustic
reverberations may endanger the existence of all of us. Is it
possible to live without violence? Which is the natural environment
of man? Why is it that culture, which is supposed to be the mechanism
of sublimation, is unable to manifest the boundaries within which we
would feel in our natural environment? Why is man trying to escape
from the world of his own creation? Why does he think that his
natural environment is the sea and the jungle?

Diana Hagopian in her `Logic of Power' triptych video, by displaying
the roles assigned to women together with statistics of opinion polls
is directly asking the question of whether it is possible to
reconcile with the violence prevalent in the world? Is it possible to
create a society, where self-admiration and authority do not appear
as `desirable play'?

The images which follow one another in a fast `Rock and Roll' pace
create a dynamic chain, which by its imagery reminds the positive
input of emancipating processes of the sixties and seventies towards
liberalization of social behavior. No matter how weak or
insignificant was the impact of early soviet liberalizations in
Soviet Armenia; it is not anymore possible to subordinate the idea of
gender equality to some other important goal. Liberation of sexual
orientation/life, gave many people the feeling of mastering their own
destiny. It has become possible to change residence, profession,
gender, color of skin, etc.

Diana Hagopian tries to awaken the viewer's memory by including him
in the emancipation process. A process of a long journey continuously
colliding with variety of expressions of neo-patriarchism justifying
`logic of power', its senseless exploitation and consumption.

Sona Abgarian's `Tomorrow at the Same Time' video-installation is
another example of inhibition of woman's identity and her ability of
free expression in society. It seems like the woman, by manipulating
a monster's mask is studying her past face, which she was wearing
during some unknown festivity. Lonely and abandoned by guests she
tries to show her today's face to her yesterday's mask. Moreover, she
tries to reanimate both, away from any socially imperative activity
and usefulness. The entire theatricality of movements and gestures
prove total bankruptcy of the stereotypes of the mass culture, where
the artificial hides its artificiality. The same act is repeated on
the second monitor with time-lapse; as if it wants to emphasize that
the signs of lust and `untamed pleasure' give birth only to fears and
emptiness. On the photographs mounted on the backdrop of the monitors
there are again the same images, scratched and frayed, as a desperate
attempt to flee from the trap of ever-multiplying models of the mass

By this persistent repetition Sona Abgarian presents the crisis of
individuality as, if anything, the absence of specific form of
communication for uniting with others and the world.

Tigran Khachatrian's video of `Todis' as the artist puts it belongs
to his `Corner of the Room Productions' or `Garage Films' series.
Beginning from 2000 Tigran Khachatrian has produced a series of
video-films: `Color of Eggplant', `Stalker', `Romeo', `J-L Godard',
etc. Under the name of `Corner of the Room Productions' the artist
adopts a unique method of re-mixes, whereby internationally famed,
basically `left' cinematographers' famous films are re-valued. As the
artist insists this reenactment returns the original humanity and
simplicity to the idolized films.

In `Todis' appear the shaving Santa Clause, the `MGM' lion with
hammer-and-cycle-printed underwear worn over and erotic scenes of
Pasolini's `The flower of One Thousand And One Night'. Here Paul
Elluard's `Freedom' poem is recited concurrent with image of a nude
personage of the `hippy' era with a guitar. All of this is nothing
but an attempt to liberate cinema from a production process which is
alien to the viewer, and has turned the movie theater into `Platonic

Tigran Khachatrian is convinced that periodic retrospection of art
has positive effect on self-recognition of society: This is a unique

Vahram Aghassian in his `Factories in the Sky' double screen
video-installation presents a dilapidated factory from the era of
`the glorious industrial achievement' of the one-time Soviet Armenia.
He tries to break free from the prejudiced stare of the viewer who in
post-soviet artists' works searches for documentary description of
financial cataclysms. In the passage between very closely placed
projection screens the artist spreads artificial `stage smoke' which
is the only tangible reality. More precisely it is the only reality
encompassing us. If the history was first written and later tried to
make what was written to happen, then the world has been turned into

These four representatives of Art of Resistance are convinced that
art has influence on our life, hence on how the world should be.
Beginning with the `Crisis' exhibition (1999) until today, the basic
characteristic of exhibitions organized at NPAK is in the fact that
artists reflect upon their real human and social experiences.

David Kareyan

51 Biennale. Padiglione armeno
Dorsoduro 2596 (30123)
0415228770 (info)
individua sulla mappa (exisat)

Sona Abgarian, Vahram Aghasyan, Diana Hakobian, Tigran Khachatrian
biglietti: ingresso libero
vernissage: 10 giugno 2005.
curatori: David Kareyan
autori: Sona Abgarian, Vahram Aghasyan, Diana Hakobian, Tigran
genere: arte contemporanea, collettiva
web: www.accea.info/venice/2005biennale.htm
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