The collective crisis in artistic and political activity of the 2000s in Armenia preceded a long crisis of individuality and formed the backdrop for today's opaque and chaotic artistic process. Its former stages have been reflected on by artists and critics, while the uniqueness and fragility of the current moment demands a distinct articulation. They are yet to be clearly understood and captured with honesty and precision.
An artist's solitude, despite looking akin to apathy, disorientation and powerlessness, is an existence in a different universum where values that were previously fought for are no longer valid.
This active silence becomes the leading idea for practices and themes and thus sets an unhurried, thoughtful pace for work, bringing along self-care and self-acceptance in a particular moment of elusive history that we all are part of. Tigran Khachatryan invites us to join this slow walk in his new work “Greetings from me and America.”
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune...
In their fatigue, the artist lacks nostalgia or mourning for the past. This is a form of a new life and more complete professional fulfillment found in silence, between sleep and wakefulness, which provide space for new experiments with tradition, contemplation and immersion in the aesthetics – like in new works by Edgar Amroyan and Karen Ohanyan. Anush Ghukasyan keeps silent about hours of systematic work on the pages of Calendar filled with years of her inner monologue. Mher Azatyan invites liberation through his works, and transcendence beyond the borders of existing knowledge and to another dimension where there is a place for dreaming and a linear and a reverse perspective can meet and engage in dialogue.
Exhibited together, these works invite unexpected comparisons and reveal surprising connections that reach out beyond the local art process. They address a wider context put forward by artists who are not connected with the process of history's formation inside a single country.
Solitude may be the echo of a particular economic and political programme. A silent and peaceful landscape in a video by Aslan Gaisumov speaks of estrangement of the Chechen people who survived several deportations over the past century. It is also a reconstruction of personal experience of forced resettlement. Artists Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri deliberately attempt a new kind of austerity and asceticism in their experiment with the concept of 'place'.
Koken Ergun puts himself in a situation of isolation and silence - a daily ritual for many in Turkey, despite its appearance of a secular place. Coloured sketches by Michael Zaikanov are largely 'studio visits' that allow peeping into artist's work process that takes place behind the closed doors of his studio. Hasmik Melkonyan brings back the unfiltered frankness of body presentation.
Accepting themselves in this situation, the author makes a step into the darkness of nescience and embraces it. It is in this vulnerable and fragile moment of withdrawal into ourselves that we witness a search for non-traumatizing ways of existence.
Ayreen Anastas & Rene Gabri
Curator: Sona Stepanyan