Group show

EXTENSION.AM: A Geographic Experience
10.04.2018 – 22.04.2018, Triumph Gallery

Triumph gallery presents EXTENSION.AM: Geographical Experience is an exhibition comprising work of eighteen contemporary artists from Armenia. The exhibition is the new installment of the EXTENSION series that showcases current art scenes from different countries. Project EXTENSION.AM: Geographical Experience is supported by Tatevik Karapetyan, patron of arts, first vicepresident at the Tashir Group.

Sona Abgaryan
Vahram Aghasyan
Arevik Arevshatyan
Diana Hakobyan
Vahagn Hamalbashyan
Edgar Amroyan
Karen Barseghyan
Arman Grigoryan
Ruben Grigoryan
Garik Yengibaryan
David Kareyan
Astghik Melkonyan
Hamlet Hovsepyan
Karen Ohanyan
Arthur Sarkissian
Manan Torosyan
Grigor Khachatryan
Tigran Khachatryan

Curated by Kristina Romanova, curator with Triumph gallery, and Eva Khachatryan, independent curator, Yerevan.

First contemporary art exhibitions in Armenia were held in the 1980s during perestroika. Even behind the iron curtain, such movements got into and taken root in Armenia as transavantgarde, pop art and abstractionism; they later informed the beginnings of the art process in the country. In the 1990s, the conditions for art were growing more favorable in Armenia. Emerging art market, new educational and creative institutions actively promoted by the government and international diaspora. The powerful intensity of this process manifested in establishment of the Gyumri Biennal of Contemporary Art in 1998—the first exhibition of its class in any of the former Soviet republics.
Modern art scene in Armenia continues to develop with new educational programs, independent initiatives that sometimes interface with activist action, for example, the projects by the ArtLabYeravan group. In 2015, the Armenian pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale won its highest award, the Golden Lion. In 2017, the first Armenian triennale of contemporary art Standard was held in Yerevan, Gyumri, on Lake Sevan, and in a number of historical museums across the nation.

These developments indicate that Armenian artists have recently focused on their own culture, history, daily life and have been addressing crucial social and political issues more and more. By that logic, EXTENSION.AM: Geographical Experience invited exclusively the artists who live and work in Armenia, even though the Armenian diaspora globally exceeds the population of the country almost threefold.

The works at the exhibition at Triumph range in subject matter from memory, trauma, processing of the Sovien past to the anxiety that came with independence. In cyanotype series Armenian Jeans, artist Karen Barseghyan acts as an archeologist of loss inflicted in the town of Gyumri in 1988 by an earthquake. Gravity by Vahagn Hamalbashyan, created as a collage with coal, watercolors, spray paint, stencils and Armenian wine, depicts people waiting for a bus, a floating cosmonaut, fragments of text, decorative patterns and paint drips. The artist constructs hybrid spaces where the past is linked to the present through the human dimension. The prevailing technique in works by Arthur Sarkissian
is abstract painterly collage. He reflects on the Soviet past, on the quest for the original sources of the Armenian culture and the lot of the Armenian people.

Tigran Khachatryan works with social and political criticism. His video Like It or Not: the Armenian Communist Party Should Be Given to This Young People is a montage of clips, films and news reels about 2015 when Armenia faced protests against electricity price hikes. Grigor Khachatryan's Those who love me have power over me, greater power have those whom I love is based on pondering the role of art and artist in the life of the society. The exhibition also features members of Art Laboratory—Garik Yengibaryan, Karen Ohanyan, Edgar Amroyan—known for their activism.

Works by Arevik Arevshatyan, Sona Abgaryan, Manan Torosyan address the standing of women in modern society. Arevik Arevshatyan initiated first female exhibitions in Armenia and she continues to work with the changing image of the woman. Sona Abgaryan creates bright portraits filled with irony and focused on the problems relevant for young people and women. Manan Torosyan embroiders her works with glitter and beads by hand, which symbolizes women’s labor that has become part of the fashion industry.

Educationaд program:

Lecture by Eva Khachatryan “Contemporary art scene in Armenia. Institutions and independent initiatives”
Garage Auditorium
9/32 Krymsky Val st.
7:00 p.m., April 4
Lecture language is Russian

Eva Khachatryan is an independent curator, vice-president of the Armenian charter of the International Association of Art Critics, member of the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art. Former curator at the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art (ACCEA), 2003–2008, and former official at the ACCEA Department of Fine Arts, 2006–2008. Founder of the Suburb Cultural Center platform. Eva Khachatryan will deliver a talk on the emergence of contemporary art institutions in Armenia, the initiatives they pursue and their operational

Meeting with Vahram Aghasyan
Rodchenko School of Photography and Multimedia
2 2st Krasnoselskiy line
12:00, April 5
Lecture language is English with Russian translation

Vahram Aghasyan (b. 1974, Yerevan) is a photographer, artist, curator, theorist and expert in new media. Participant of high-profile international exhibitions: Tenth International Istanbul Biennial, at the Museum Kiasma in Helsinki, First Contemporary Art Biennale of Thessaloniki. His works were shown in Contemporary Video Art from Armenia at Musee d’Art Contemporain, Lyon. Took part in the group show Resistance Through Art in the Armenian Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005. Represented in the museum collections of M HKA (Belgium), Museum on the Seam (Israel) and others. Vahram will share his experience of over two decades in art, curation and art theory.

Meeting with Arman Grigoryan
HSE Art and Design School
12 Malaya Pionerskaya
7:00 p.m., April 5
Lecture language is Russian

Arman Grigoryan (b. 1960, Yerevan) is an artist, the founder of the avant-garde movement in the 1980s Armenia, pioneer of pop art in Armenia. In 1987, he created a group of young Armenian avant-garde artists Third Floor that was active until 1994. Grigoryan uses the aesthetics of punk and pop music, works with painting, bright colors, collage images that mimic the Western advertisement world. From 2005 to 2015, taught at Mkhitar Sebastatsi Educational Complex in Yerevan. In 2013, Grigoryan curated the Armenian pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. Grigoryan will speak about the artist–curator working process.

Meeting with Arevik Arevshatyan
MMOMA, Free Workshops School of Contemporary Art
9 Tverskoy boulevard
7:00 p.m., April 6
Lecture language is Russian

Arevik Arevshatyan (b. 1957) is an artist and independent curator. His personal exhibition was held in Academy gallery in Yerevan in 2004. With Ruben Grigoryan, launched project Two Artists/One Creation at the Armenian Center for Experimental Art in 1998. Arevik Arevshatyan participated in group exhibitions in Armenia and internationally, including: Beyond Icons: Contemporary Art in Armenia (U.S., 2003), Adieu Parjanov: Contemporary Art from Armenia (Austria, 2003), Art Contemporain d’Arménie (France, 2007), Gender Check Femininity and Masculinity in the Art of Eastern Europe (Austria, 2009). Her works are represented in private collections and Modern
Art Museum of Yerevan. Arevik Arevshatyan will speak about her work with painting and photography, sculpture, site-specific installations, as well as her experience as a curator for first female-artist exhibitions in Armenia.

Public program events are free, registration required.

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Tashir is a multi-business group with nation-wide operations. Established in 1999, it comprises over 200 subsidiaries in different industries, including construction, manufacturing, finance, energy, development, retail, entertainment, medicine and others. Tashir employs over 45,000 people in 25 locations across Russia and its neighboring states. The founder and president of the group is Samvel Karapetyan. The group headquarters is in Moscow. The core business of Tashir is development and management of commercial real estate with a focus on retail properties. Tashir is a leader
on the Russian development market, its portfolio including modern and high-tech projects in commercial real estate and housing with total floor area of about 2.5 million sqm.

Armenia Art Foundation (Արվեստ Հայաստան հիմնադրամը) is an independent non-profit organization aiming to support the development of contemporary art in Armenia. The mission of the foundation is to support artists and professionals working in Armenia in the field of contemporary art, and unlock their creative potential both in the country and abroad. The foundation supports artists by providing financial support for art projects while initiating new artistic and educational projects in Armenia which involve local and international artists, curators and theorists. In 2017 Armenia Art Foundation was a partner of the first edition of Standart: Triennial of Contemporary Arts in Armenia.