Zeitschrift Umělec 2003/2 >> Naked in Post-soviet Armenia Übersicht aller Ausgaben
Naked in Post-soviet Armenia
Zeitschrift Umělec
Jahrgang 2003, 2
6,50 EUR
Die Printausgabe schicken an:
Abo bestellen

Naked in Post-soviet Armenia

Zeitschrift Umělec 2003/2


Eva Khachatrian | performance | en cs

Performance art has generally played an interesting role in contemporary Armenian art. Nearly every artist here has explored this sphere for themselves. Nowadays Azat Sargsyan, also known for his frequent travel, is probably the most devoted representative of this live genre in contemporary Armenian art.
In one performance made for the show After the Wall (1999), and repeated for Sao Paolo Biennial (2002), Sargsyan fell to the ground in front of the door and became a doormat inscribed with the word WELCOME. Within the exhibitions’ context, through his lowered status, the artist identified with the Soviet Union, all of its mistakes and sins, as it attempts to make contact with civilization. This is an artist living and creating in the Soviet Union — an individual bearing all the crimes committed by this country. Such a self-critical approach by the artist grows into one of humiliation: he identifies with a doormat which somebody can choose to
either walk over or use to wipe their feet on.
Such was Sargsyan’s interaction with the audience. While at After the Wall visitors merely stepped over Sargsyan, in San Paolo he was injured when people actually used him as a doormat, wiping their feet on him — women’s high-heels were especially painful. All of this calls to mind the performance by the Russian action artist and performer Oleg Kulik in which the artist identifies with a dog, a dog that was cruelly treated in one performance in Russia, where it suffered a beating. In Amsterdam people came up and caressed Kulik, this “barking and attacking dog,” while also offering their assistance. Undoubtedly, Kulik’s performance is much more extreme than Sargsyan’s: an attack by exhibition visitors in one case and direct relation to people in the street in the second. However, in both performances the artists consciously initiated direct communication with the audience. In both cases, the audience became an immediate participant of the performance; and the performance results depend on the audience.
The number of spectators drawn to a live performance is by its very nature limited, so many contemporary performers here are now transferring their work to other media, usually video, which can then be placed on the web. Advanced technologies are therefore capable of eternalizing the performance, depriving it of its liveliness while transferring to another sphere of media. Security concerns can also be a reason for this transfer, as the artist may not wish to make direct contact with the audience.
One of the first transfers of this kind in Armenia was made by Grigor Khachatryan in a photo performance titled Manifest (1990). For the first time in the history of contemporary Armenian art, the artist showed himself standing stark naked: frontal shot, profile and backside. At that time, the appearance of an artist turning himself into the subject of the artwork scandalized the public. At one exhibition by the Artists Union titled One-by-One Work (where each member of the Union was entitled to present his or her work without a jury’s prior approval), this shameless work (as it was called by the community) was removed from the exhibition hall after a few days. For the artist, Manifest was a way to shed fears and complexes related both to his own and to the post-Soviet situation. The texts for Manifest reads: “I’m not a man, I’m Grigor Khachatryan; you are not people, you are Grigor Khachatryan’s contemporaries. Grigor Khachatryan, a name high and delightful.” According to the philosopher Vardan Jaloyan, Grigor Khachatryan does not leave the place of ideology vacant, suggesting a new kind of ideology that combats all other ideologies through its absurdity, stupidity and impossibility.
Simultaneously, getting naked is considered an act of betrayal of the Homeland, “Leninist ideas” and friendship. Getting naked exposes the feeling of guilt for an uncommitted crime, expressed by the “criminal” mug-shot style of the photos (frontal shot, profile and backside) as well as by the row of chewed apples at the bottom of the image symbolizing biblical sin.
Azat Sargsyan and Grigor Khachatryan are “socialist” artists, whose art was leveled against Soviet ideas. Even nowadays they continue thinking up new ways to fight against a system that no longer exists. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, this ideology was replaced by a nationalist Armenian version, and the post-Soviet generation has taken up the fight against the new national ideology. In this regard, performance art takes a special place, as nearly all the artists have engaged in this genre, creating social-political art as performance.
It is worth noting, however, that Armenian art is generally full of social and political topics, and action; performance is convenient because it touches on and delivers these issues. Another artist, David Kareyan, who started his creative activity after the collapse of Soviet Union, presented his performance Sweet Repression of Ideology at the Collapse of Illusions exhibition (Yerevan, 2000). Sitting in a wheelchair, the author read Armenian national ideology, then tore some pages from the book and threw them into a large boiler, on which he was cooking some porridge. The disabled person in the wheelchair represents the disappointed individual, deceived once again; he had set his hopes on a new, democratic society. Instead, he finds himself being fed national ideology.


Der Artikel ist bisher nicht kommentiert worden

Neuen Kommentar einfügen

Empfohlene Artikel

Terminator vs Avatar: Anmerkungen zum Akzelerationismus Terminator vs Avatar: Anmerkungen zum Akzelerationismus
Warum beugt ihr, die politischen Intellektuellen, euch zum Proletariat herab? Aus Mitleid womit? Ich verstehe, dass man euch hasst, wenn man Proletarier ist. Es gibt keinen Grund, euch zu hassen, weil ihr Bürger, Privilegierte mit zarten Händen seid, sondern weil ihr das einzig Wichtige nicht zu sagen wagt: Man kann auch Lust empfinden, wenn man die Ausdünstungen des Kapitals, die Urstoffe des…
Acts, Misdemeanors and the Thoughts of the Persian King Medimon Acts, Misdemeanors and the Thoughts of the Persian King Medimon
There is nothing that has not already been done in culture, squeezed or pulled inside out, blown to dust. Classical culture today is made by scum. Those working in the fine arts who make paintings are called artists. Otherwise in the backwaters and marshlands the rest of the artists are lost in search of new and ever surprising methods. They must be earthbound, casual, political, managerial,…
The Top 10 Czech Artists from the 1990s The Top 10 Czech Artists from the 1990s
The editors of Umělec have decided to come up with a list of ten artists who, in our opinion, were of crucial importance for the Czech art scene in the 1990s. After long debate and the setting of criteria, we arrived at a list of names we consider significant for the local context, for the presentation of Czech art outside the country and especially for the future of art. Our criteria did not…
Im Rausch des medialen Déjà-vu. Anmerkungen zur Bildnerischen Strategie von Oliver Pietsch Im Rausch des medialen Déjà-vu. Anmerkungen zur Bildnerischen Strategie von Oliver Pietsch
Goff & Rosenthal, Berlin, 18.11. – 30.12.2006 Was eine Droge ist und was nicht, wird gesellschaftlich immer wieder neu verhandelt, ebenso das Verhältnis zu ihr. Mit welcher Droge eine Gesellschaft umgehen kann und mit welcher nicht und wie von ihr filmisch erzählt werden kann, ob als individuelles oder kollektives Erleben oder nur als Verbrechen, demonstriert der in Berlin lebende Videokünstler…
27.07.2014 19:39
Wohin weiter?
offside - vielseitig
S.d.Ch, Einzelgängertum und Randkultur  (Die Generation der 1970 Geborenen)
S.d.Ch, Einzelgängertum und Randkultur (Die Generation der 1970 Geborenen)
Josef Jindrák
Wer ist S.d.Ch? Eine Person mit vielen Interessen, aktiv in diversen Gebieten: In der Literatur, auf der Bühne, in der Musik und mit seinen Comics und Kollagen auch in der bildenden Kunst. In erster Linie aber Dichter und Dramatiker. Sein Charakter und seine Entschlossenheit machen ihn zum Einzelgänger. Sein Werk überschneidet sich nicht mit aktuellen Trends. Immer stellt er seine persönliche…
Weiterlesen …
offside - hanfverse
Die THC-Revue – Verschmähte Vergangenheit
Die THC-Revue – Verschmähte Vergangenheit
Ivan Mečl
Wir sind der fünfte Erdteil! Pítr Dragota und Viki Shock, Genialitätsfragmente (Fragmenty geniality), Mai/Juni 1997 Viki kam eigentlich vorbei, um mir Zeichnungen und Collagen zu zeigen. Nur so zur Ergänzung ließ er mich die im Samizdat (Selbstverlag) entstandene THC-Revue von Ende der Neunzigerjahre durchblättern. Als die mich begeisterte, erschrak er und sagte, dieses Schaffen sei ein…
Weiterlesen …
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
Weiterlesen …
Wer hat Angst vorm Muttersein?
Wer hat Angst vorm Muttersein?
Zuzana Štefková
Die Vermehrung von Definitionen des Begriffes „Mutter“ stellt zugleich einen Ort wachsender Unterdrückung wie auch der potenziellen Befreiung dar.1 Carol Stabile Man schrieb das Jahr 2003, im dichten Gesträuch des Waldes bei Kladno (Mittelböhmen) stand am Wegesrand eine Frau im fortgeschrittenen Stadium der Schwangerschaft. Passanten konnten ein Aufblitzen ihres sich wölbenden Bauchs erblicken,…
Weiterlesen …
Bücher und Medien, die Sie interessieren könnten Zum e-shop
15 x 22 x 1 cm / 56p offset / cover three channel serigraphy / 1000 ex
Mehr Informationen ...
12 EUR
collection dos carré-collé / 40 pages dont 10 sérigraphie NB / offset, couv sérigraphie / 32 x 25 x 1,1 cm
Mehr Informationen ...
25 EUR
Limited edition of 10. Size 100 x 70 cm. Black print on durable white foil.
Mehr Informationen ...
75 EUR
Stu As Girl, 1995, silkscreen print, 30 x 28 cm
Mehr Informationen ...
65 EUR


Divus and its services

Studio Divus designs and develops your ideas for projects, presentations or entire PR packages using all sorts of visual means and media. We offer our clients complete solutions as well as all the individual steps along the way. In our work we bring together the most up-to-date and classic technologies, enabling us to produce a wide range of products. But we do more than just prints and digital projects, ad materials, posters, catalogues, books, the production of screen and space presentations in interiors or exteriors, digital work and image publication on the internet; we also produce digital films—including the editing, sound and 3-D effects—and we use this technology for web pages and for company presentations. We specialize in ...

Zitat des Tages Der Herausgeber haftet nicht für psychische und physische Zustände, die nach Lesen des Zitats auftreten können.

Die Begierde hält niemals ihre Versprechen.

Arch 8, Resolution Way, Deptford
London SE8 4NT, United Kingdom

Open Wednesday to Saturday 12 - 6 pm


Office: +44 (0) 20 8692 5157

Ivan Mečl
ivan@divus.org.uk, +44 (0) 7526 902 082


shop@divus.org.uk, +44 (0) 20 8692 5157

Former papermill area, Nádražní 101
252 46 Vrané nad Vltavou, Czech Republic
ivan@divus.cz, +420 602 269 888

Open from Wednesday to Sunday between 11am to 6pm. From 15.12. to 15.1. only on appointment.


Potsdamer Str. 161, 10783 Berlin, Germany

berlin@divus.cz, +49 (0) 1512 9088 150
Open Wednesday to Saturday 2 - 7 pm



Divus New book by I.M.Jirous in English at our online bookshop.