HAYP Pop Up Gallery’s Grand Opening

By Anna K. Gargarian


We are excited to announce our first exhibition, “Frame of Mind: Context and Perspective”. I’ll get around to explaining this theme in a bit, but first, some info on what to expect at our Pop Up.

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WHAT, WHEN, WHERE

It’s a collective exhibition featuring seven artists who are interpreting “Context and Perspective” in different media (painting, photography, installation, and video). The exhibition opens on Friday, December 12 at 6pm on the 4th floor of the Elite Plaza building at 15 Khorenatsi St, with an inaugural event accompanied by wine and live DJ. The exhibition will be on view for ten days until Sunday December 21st. We will be open daily from 12-2pm, and 5-9pm. So if you can’t make it to the opening, stop on by at your lunch break or after work! We also have some interesting events planned at our space, including presentations by local artists, entrepreneurs, and art curators, as well as a final musical performance for our Finissage (closing event) on Saturday Dec 20th. More details on events to come.

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Our Pop Up space: 4th floor of the Elite Plaza building, 15 Khorenatsi Street, Yerevan.

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THE THEME

“Frame of Mind: Context and Perspective” explores how different contexts shape the way we see the world. By context I mean our environment, it can be an actual physical space but it can also be a cultural context, like life experiences, upbringing and traditions. These are all things that affect our worldview.

In the physical sense, imagine how differently a child sees the world than an adult simply because they’re smaller. Remember how terrifying it was to cross the street? The street seemed endless, and the cars were at eye-level. I’d hang onto my father’s hand for dear life, tripping over my own feet. I had a similar experience more recently.

In the summer of 2009 the first part of New York City’s “High Line” opened to the public. For many years, what we now call the High Line was just an unused train track; a remnant of a former above ground cargo line. Now it’s a suspended garden with a walkway, fountains, sculpture, and trendy caffe’s and shops. Walking along the High Line for the first time was the strangest sensation. I realized that I had never seen New York City at that height before. You’re either rushing through the city at ground level, with all of those skyscrapers towering above you, or looking down at that iconic Manhattan skyline from some rooftop lounge. But cutting through the city at a second-story level was a trippy perspective. It felt much more intimate, you could actually see the horizon between the buildings, not just at large intersections (which is normally the case). It felt like a different place.

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Photo Credit: LocalNomad.com

Changing the angle or way that you normally look at something forces you to reflect on what that thing actually is. A lot of times we become jaded towards our environment. We take things for granted, and we don’t pay attention to the details. This is part of what HAYP Pop Up Gallery is all about – forcing the viewer to take a second look. What you think is just a for-rent storefront, we see as potential exhibition space. It’s the same place, we’re just looking at it differently.

When we talk about personal context, it becomes a bit more complex. Each of us has a unique background and life experience that shape who we are as people- our opinions, our sense of self, and sense of “the other”. Many times the two overlap, spatial and personal context, I mean. Consider when you talk about mount Ararat to an Armenian, he/she automatically imagines a small peek followed by its larger sister peek. Ask someone in Turkey about that same mountain, and in their minds appears the reverse, a large peek followed by a small peek. Show the unfamiliar perspective to either of those individuals, and it will feel unnatural to them. Different perspectives, imply different cultural, and in this case, sensitive historical and geopolitical implications. Same mountain, different perspective.

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View from Armenia; view from Turkey.

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THE ARTISTS

This is kind of a roundabout way of explaining the theme of this exhibition, but I thought I’d go into more detail since the title is a bit abstract. There are many ways to interpret this theme, and the artists in our exhibition are approaching it from very different standpoints. Some artists are more playful, like Karen Mirzoyan and his Intergalactic War scenes.

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Karen Mirzoyan. Battle For Beirut, Gemmayze district, February 2214

Karen draws directly on the windowpanes of his hotel rooms envisioning extraterrestrial attacks on the cities he visits in his travels. Each city inspires a different scene, and the photographs are intriguing, humorous, and also slightly unsettling.

Aramazt Kalayjian and Peno Mishoyan’s collaborative installation piece takes a more philosophical approach to perspective and understanding. A sequence of hanging windows with lettering on them collectively communicate a message to the viewer from a frontal perspective, but move around the work and the statement is fragmented into separate haikus. Each layer has a meaning, and together they create another.

That’s all I’m going to share with you for now. If you want to know more about the other artists and the works on display, then come see for yourself! Our program of events for our first Pop Up Event Week will come up soon as well.

 

The HAYP Experiment

by Anna K. Gargarian


 

When sharing my excitement about HAYP with friends and acquaintances in Yerevan, the first reaction I get is a perplexed look followed by,

“A pop-up gallery?” To which I reply,

“Yeah, are you familiar with Pop ups?”

“Um… yes, I had them when I was a kid,” their eyebrows twisting as they try to imagine a gallery filled with spreads of books revealing standing paper cutouts of all sorts and sizes. Not a bad idea, but wrong type of Pop Up.

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Photo credits: Scott Willis, film maker at Popup Week, Amsterdam.

A Pop Up is a temporary installation in an unexpected location. The first Pop Ups were in retail and have been around for several years in major cities like New York, San Francisco, Paris, and London where real estate is expensive. Pop Up Shops allowed new companies to have sample sales, test the market and their product, without getting involved in heavy licensing. From there came the Pop Up Gallery, which took off in not only those major cities, but also bustling art hubs like Chicago, Berlin, Cape Town, and Mumbai. Amsterdam even hosts a PopUpWeek featuring events and talks on ideas, innovation, and methods of hosting a successful Pop Up.

Today there are even companies specialized in Pop Up spaces and events like Openhouse in New York, or Storefront in San Francisco. They advertise “Pop-up ready spaces” and even provide marketing and event planning to ensure a smooth Pop Up experience. Real estate brokerage companies are starting to add Pop Ups as a type of property available for clients. All of this is evidence that Pop Ups are not only a trend, but a successful enterprise with a real market.

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Outside view of Peanut Butter & Co.’s the Nutropolitan Museum of Art popup gallery in Soho, New York. Photo credit: Theresa Raffetto.

Now, I’m not going to pretend to know about the real estate market, nor am I professing to be a Pop Up expert. But I do know as a lover of art, a city person, and a curious wanderer, it’s an exciting viewing experience- an experience that is missing in Yerevan.

What do I mean by “experience”? As design arts curator Kory Rogers from the Shelburne Museum told journalist Sally Pollak of the Burlington Free Press, (Pop-up galleries: A growing trend in Burlington’s art scene, May 2013)

“Defining features of pop-up galleries are that they come and go, and typically appear in places not usually associated with art exhibitions. They possess an element of surprise in which viewers kind of stumble upon art when and where they don’t expect it, thus altering the experience of seeing it”.

It’s all about context. Burlington City Arts curator DJ Hellerman tells Pollak that,

“Institutions have histories and brands and reputations…You don’t get that with a pop-up gallery. You’re popping up in a space that is not your own, in a space that is temporary until somebody else comes along to claim it”.

So the experience is affected by several factors, the first is the objectivity of the viewer who is confronted with art in an unexpected space. It’s like accidentally coming across great street art, as opposed to intentionally entering a museum for the purpose of viewing art. Those are two totally different mindsets, and they affect how we see art because of what we bring to the work.

The second is the objectivity of the space. In his renowned article Inside the White Cube from 1976, art critic and historian Brian Odoherty argues that the type of galleries that came about in the 20th century were as important to modern art as the works themselves. He called them “chambers”, or sterile, white, windowless rooms removed from time, that created an almost religious experience for the viewer. HAYP is no longer following the “white cube” model, nor are we viewing art in its “original habitat” like a Madonna and Child commissioned for a Renaissance church altar. We are disrupting typical viewing contexts, and constantly changing them.

Futurist Stewart Brand converted a shipping container into his personal office space, and recorded the construction process while writing his book “How Buildings Learn.”

Futurist Stewart Brand converted a shipping container into his personal office space, and recorded the construction process while writing his book “How Buildings Learn.” Photo credits: Spasticgoat.com

I think that there’s also something to be said about the under-construction environment common to the Pop Up. In “How Buildings Learn” an excellent six-part three-hour BBC series that aired in 1997, Stewart Brand states that “low road buildings keep being valuable precisely because they’re disposable”. In other words, what Brand calls “low road buildings”, or cheap spaces, are actually more empowering structures to inhabit. Brand says that their malleability inspires change, it makes you active instead of passive, which inspires freedom, creativity and experimentation. The most creative enterprises happen in these types of spaces. That’s exactly what HAYP is all about: experimentation. We hope to inspire experimental art, and also create an experimental space where ideas can be shared and new projects can be born. On a larger scale, we hope that HAYP will make the public see the potential of these spaces and how important art is to making us see and reinterpret our environment in order to envision a better future.

With this in mind, how context affects the way we view and show art, we are excited to start the HAYP experiment! In the spirit of this theme, we will open our first Pop Up in December with the exhibition, “Frame of Mind: Context and Perspective”. If you’re in Yerevan, we hope that you’ll pop by our Pop Up.

CALL TO ARTISTS!

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“Frame of Mind: Context and Perspective”

HAYP Premiere, Collective Exhibition and a Week of Cultural Events

December 2014, Location TBD

CALL TO ARTISTS:

HAYP is looking for contemporary artists in Yerevan for its upcoming exhibition “Frame of mind: Context and Perspective”. Artists are invited to explore how context and perspective shape the way we see. Our culture, upbringing, and personal experiences influence our world view, each one of us has a unique perspective. What is your personal frame? How can you bring us into your space? Participating artists will investigate ways of seeing through both physical space and conceptual abstraction. The aim of this exhibition is to encourage dialogue, understanding, and open-mindedness through the artists’ creative looking glass.

EVENTS:

During our ten days of exhibition, we will host events to help promote start-ups, projects, and artists. Our space is a platform for the exchange of ideas and culture. Do you have a presentation idea in mind? Let us know! See the guidelines below.

Deadlines:

Artist Application: Until December 1, 2014.

Event Application: Until December 5, 2014.

Submission Guidelines:

Art Submission:

  • Send all applications to hayp@gmail.com
  • If you are applying as an artist please address the subject of your email as: “[your name] Art Submission”
  • Send us a brief (50 words or less) description of yourself (artist bio).
  • Send us a website or facebook page with images of your work if you have one, or some images via dropbox or wetransfer.com. Please do not send image files directly to our email address, it will clog our inbox!
  • Send us a brief description of the concept for your art piece, OR, a description of a piece you already have that fits under this theme (with images, see above for image guidelines).
  • A maximum of 4 works allowed per person.

 

Event Submission:

  • Send all applications to hayp@gmail.com
  • If you are applying to submit an event please address the subject of your email as: “[your name] Event Submission”
  • Events will be hosted throughout the Pop Up Week in the evenings. We encourage any event on contemporary art and innovation in Armenia. Examples include: artist talks, film screenings, musical performances, dance, and art performance.

 

Deadlines:

Artist Application: Until December 1, 2014.

Event Application: Until December 5, 2014.

 

Application downloads in pdf format:

English

Hayeren (Armenian)