May 12 – 22, 2018
Somewhere in Yerevan…(stay tuned for location info)
This May, 2018 HAYP Pop Up Gallery present’s “Narek Barseghyan: The Leather Show”, a solo exhibit of paintings by emerging Yerevan-based artist, Narek Barseghyan.
Narek’s inspiration comes from 90s pop culture – its fashion, energy and rebellious attitude. Although still a young child in Yerevan at the time, Narek inherited the collective memory of struggle, hardship, and trauma associated with 90s Armenia that is romanticised by today’s urban youth. Narek juxtaposes this intense period, exemplified via skeletal protagonists, to the modern apathy of post-soviet millennials. Stream-of-consciousness text covers his canvases in a mixture of Armenian, Russian and English language, highlighting the street lingo and cliché phrases heard in Yerevan streets today.
The leather jacket – a key element of the exhibited works – is painted with Narek’s classically trained hand in a hyper realistic manner that pops from a flat, perspective-less colourfield backdrop. Glitter, vivid colours, and self-absorbed nonsense phrases obscure this 90s symbol of masculinity infusing his works with comic irony. The title of the exhibit, “The Leather Show”, underlines the fetishistic culture around fashion, objects of desire and social status. Narek’s leathered-out figures recall hollywood “rebels without a cause” and influential pop icons, all while honing in on a uniquely local attitude of Yerevan Ռաբիս (“rah-beez”) street culture; pleathered 90s thugs with a dreamy millennial pink-scape twist. Narek layers symbols and references that contrast and complement – where old meets new, high meets low – that while romanticising of 90s culture, is distinctly millennial in doing so.
Anna K. Gargarian,
Curator & Creative Director, HAYP Pop Up Gallery
Check out HAYP Assistant Curator, Hasmik Badoyan’s interview with the artist here.