ART @ URVAKAN

In parallel to its performance program, URVAKAN Festival featured several site-specific installations co-curated by Mike Btkn (Urvakan) and Hasmik Badoyan (HAYP Pop Up Gallery). The artworks, in part new commissions alongside existing pieces, inhabited multiple locations at the Children’s Railway, the festival’s main venue. These interventions were studies that examined, interpreted, and interacted with a pre-existing environment in which architecture, engineering, nature and everyday life are in harmony. Each artist approached this subtle dialogue with nature from their unique practice, see below for further details.

For practical info about the festival, see here

 

Contributing Artists:

Siranush Aghajanyan
Narek Barseghyan
Vahram Galstyan
Lusine Ghukasyan
Ashot Harutyunyan
Sona Manukyan
Kima Gyarakyan, Visual Gap Gallery

 

ARTISTS & PROJECTS


Siranush Aghajanyan

Siranush_2

Siranush Aghajanyan is an emerging painter and visual artist. She started as a collagist interested in socio-political processes, and how collage creates metaphysical space and a sense of absurdity. Her works are influenced by American and Italian pop art. In 2019, she started a collective along with visual artist Narek Barseghyan named, “the Street Way Bitcoins”. Together they introduced ceramic mosaics into the Armenian street art scene.

In Siranush’s ceramic installation for URVAKAN, the artist translates the natural image of the landscape into a pixelated mosaic that both recreates and distorts the environment. Creating imagery from small cube-sized fragments of tile, the artist reappropriates and reuses discarded materials and their existing colors as her working palette. Though using a foreign (artifical) material, the artist sees her practice as mimicking that of nature – like moss or tree bark that is attached to surfaces of wood, stone, or cement. The resulting image is a visualization of the natural setting. Playing with distance, light and perception, Siranush’s intervention merges within the landscape depending on one’s position; distinguishable not by imagery but rather by how the surface reflects light, identifying it as a separate object.

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Photo credits: Anna Mkrtchyan


Narek Barseghyan

Narek Barseghyan

Barseghyan is an emerging painter and visual artist whose style has evolved stylistically in recent years from a more academic, classical approach, to a pop and urban infused style inspired by social media culture. Today, his interests defy the surface of the canvas and engage the viewer in a performative experience. For URVAKAN, Narek offers a new installation that he describes in the following statement:

“Isn’t it enough that things are as they are? No, because we are sometimes deceived. We need to tell the difference between hard ground and marsh that only looks hard. We need to know whether something is a bear or a man with a bearskin rug over his head. We have evolved to distinguish reality from falsehood. But injure the brain, and the victim may lose their sense of reality. When you have the flu, the familiar world can seem a blur. You might as well ask, what is the nature of standing upright?”

narekgif

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Photo credits: Anna Mkrtchyan and Kostya Budarin

 


Vahram Galstyan

Vagram Galstyan

A multi-media installation artist, Vahram is an expert ceramicist who incorporates natural materials, assemblage, as well as video art in his practice. Vahram studied film-making in Moscow in the mid 90s, where he produced a number of video-performances that used clay to showcase the conflict between dichotomies like material/virtual, and shape/process. He believes raw clay embodies art as a process, it can be shaped and reshaped endlessly and is easy to reverse into its initial state.

For URVAKAN Festival, the artist proposes three projects, a video work exhibited in collaboration with Sona Manukyan’s installation “Indifference”, and a mixed-media sculpture of a multi-headed ghost, an anthropoid hydra that hovers over the festival as if to echo the many faces of the Railway’s past. The third installation features a series of repeating found metal number plaques. Inspired from his childhood memories of traveling by train, the installation reflects the rhythm of images passing by the window, while also reflecting on concepts of time and scale. 

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Photo credits: Anna Mkrtchyan


Lusine Ghukasyan

Lusine Ghukasyan

Artist and illustrator, Lusine “Luys” is originally from Armenia, but spent several formative years in France which greatly shaped her creative practice. Luys works in different media, from painting and engraving to sculpture and video art. Her recent interests have been in street art and street poetry. Luys seeks contrast- of colors, surfaces, and sound. For Urvakan, the artist has created a figural wall painting on one of the structures along the Children’s Railway in her signature black and white palette.

lusine

Photo credits: Anna Mkrtchyan


Ashot Harutyunyan

Ashot Harutyunyan

While traditional sculpture transforms and hides the original raw material, Ashot’s work enhances it. According to the artist, his sculptures have two stories: one before and another after his intervention with the material. His objects are metal tubes, sheets, machine parts, that have been ripped out of former industrial plants all over Armenia and resold as scraps. They are witnesses to the country’s post-soviet history and political and economic crises. Ashot preserves the traces left by the passage of time and people, reworking discarded objects to give them new life. At Urvakan, Ashot exhibits a recent sculptural duo made from bent rusted tubing, that he’s “reorganized” into a new collective form without changing the material’s original shape.

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Photo credits: Anna Mkrtchyan


Sona Manukyan

Sona Manukyan

Yerevan-based architect and artist, Sona Manukyan explores the boundaries of everyday objects examining how a change of scale, volume and context reveals new meaning. Her method involves direct contact, manipulation and communication with the objects in order to uncover their material and forma potential.

At Urvakan, Sona presents three installations investigating mass, multiplicity, and the contrast between the individual and the collective. The installation “Indifference” is a work Sona created for HAYP Pop Up Gallery in 2016 exploring female identity, and is showcased at Urvakan in a new light with a video work by Vahram Galstyan, a collaboration born in the framework of the festival. The installation “do they breathe?”, featuring globular silver objects dispersed along the riverbed is another reinterpretation of a previous site-specific work for the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory. Premiering at Urvakan is a new site-specific commission addressing questions of numbness and the painful nature of letting oneself feel. Her kinetic construction is both lifelike and distinctly unnatural, and questions whether such objects can fear, inquire and love.

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Photo credits: Norair


Kima Gyarakyan, Visual Gap Gallery

Kima_Hayp_urvakan

Kima Gyarakyan is an emerging artist and current student at the Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts. She is a recent member and apprentice of Visual Gap Gallery, an initiative founded in 2007 by artist Mary “Moon” as an alternative virtual space for young contemporary artists. In 2019, together with the Gangeviertel Art Center and Yerevan Goethe Center, Visual Gap Gallery organized the first Yerevan Urban Festival, an opportunity that first sparked Kima’s interest in public art. Kima has been a part of Visual Gap Gallery’s various projects in silk-screen printing, stencilling, as well as wall art and urban interventions. For URVAKAN, Kima covered three of the four walls surrounding an abandoned storage unit within the Festivals’s premises.

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Photo credits: Anna Mkrtchyan