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UNDER_CONSTRUCTION platform for armenian contemporary visual artists Introduction Exhibition Voulú/obligé, outskirts of a smal contradiction Silvina Der-Meguerditchian


Since 2005 artists from different Armenian backgrounds have been meeting and exchanging visual impressions through a virtual platform (www. underconstructionhome.net). This virtual territory became the fertile ground for several „real“ projects. Among them is the exhibition Voulú/Obligé – outskirts of a small contradiction in the frame of the project KROSSING, part of the official programm of the 53. Venice Biennial. Achot Achot’s, Emily Artinian’s, Archi Galentz’s, Christopher Atamian’s an Silvina DerMeguerditchian’s aproach to Armenia goes beyond the idea of a nation being geographically or genetically defined. Their current reality, result of a process of displacement rooted in the begining and the end of the 20 Century, is framed trough the tension between a plurality of paradoxes: presences and absences, the richness and opportunities posed by multilingualism and cultural diversity and the cultural spacelessness for Armenian contemporary Art, the necesity of conserving culture and at the same time the urgent need to shape new cultural landscapes, the chances and traps of an identity nurtured by the shelter of the difference. In the discussion between the participating artists a series of questions aroused again and again: What is it that brings us together? What is behind this common cultural inheritance, or what choices does this inheritance give us? Is this inheritance a choice or a obligation. Do we have a choice? The artists find at list one consensus: “We think that there must be place for contradictions and we have the right to enunciate them. Why should we shut up because we feel and think contradictory ideas? May be in the tension between two opposite or distant points (national identity/ cultural identity) we can experience a bit of truth. Maybe in the tension between voulu and obligé we can experience our ‘Armenianness’”. As Derrida says in his last interview with J, Birnbaum “I don’t see why I would renounce a contradiction because one or the other journalist doesn’t understand me. To renounce an idea, only because it contradicts another would mean to deny myself.” With voulu/obligé - outskirts of a small contradiction the artists explore one of the very first questions at the beginning of their dialogue in 2005: How to deal with the cultural heritage including absences and the traumata that our people had suffered the last century? Which topics or ways to understand „life“ links them to each other beyond the cultural heritage of the Armenian nation/culture? 17


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NOT RED BANNERS (series) wood, fabric and steel staples different sizes

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Christopher Atamian is a New York-based writer, translator, critic and filmmaker. He is the author of a novel “Speaking French” and has written for major publications ranging from the New York Press (where he was dance critic) to the New York Times and Inknagir. He also translated Nigoghos Sarafian’s “The Vincennes Woods,” a classic of Western Armenian Literature and is finishing the translation of Krikor Beledian’s seminal “50 Years of Armenian Literature in France.” Atamian’s short films have screened in international festivals in the United States, Europe and Armenia. He currently writes a column “Studio Visits” for the Armenian Reporter International and is working on the first critical volume about Armenian film in English. He is a graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Business School.

THE EXILE OF LANGUAGE, THE LANGUAGE OF EXILE Projection (5 min) size adaptable

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detail


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KARDESH- Semantic Fields Wool on paper, 155 x 110 cm by S. Der-Meguerditchian


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Edition (Etching) With mutual interventions Achot Achot/Archi Galentz/ S. Der-Meguerditchian 2008


AFACTUM digital image, acrillic gel on wood, 47 x 30 cm details by Achot Achot

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Edition (Etching) With mutual interventions Achot Achot/Archi Galentz/ S. Der-Meguerditchian

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2008


NOT RED BANNERS (series) wood, fabric and steel staples different sizes by Archi Galentz

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DEAD DAD (do the right thing) Artist´s book, 8 digital Lambda C-prints, 50 x 40 cm, on aluminium mounts details

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Edition (Etching) With mutual interventions Achot Achot/Archi Galentz/ S. Der-Meguerditchian

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2008


Interview’s with the artists by Christopher Atamian


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Krossing