Yerevan, September 23, 2003—In
the late afternoon over 500 art enthusiasts, artists and dignitaries
gathered together at the entrance of the Armenian Center for Contemporary
Experimental Art (NPAK in Armenian acronym) to witness the unveiling
of “Melancholy” a masterpiece by renowned Armenian artist,
forefather of Armenian avant-garde art, Yervand Kotchar.
The sculpture is a quadruple scale bronze cast of the original work
in gypsum (1957) kept at the Yervand Kotchar Museum in Yerevan. Together
with the pedestal the complex stands 6.24 meters (20’ 6”)
This is the first time that a sculpture by an Armenian contemporary
artist is being erected in Yerevan, and dedicated to the Capital of
Armenia, just for the fine, artistic merit. Mayor of Yerevan, Hon. Yervand
Zakharian did the honor of unveiling the work.
Following are the dedication address of Dr. Edward Balassanian, Co-Founder
and C.E.O. of the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art,
and a statement by R. Ben (Rouben Avanessian) writer and architect representing
“Nor Ej” Literary Group in whose name the anonymous donor
has financed the project.
* * *
Honorable Mayor, Reverend Fathers, dear artists, arts enthusiasts, fellow
citizens and friends, when I was writing this address, inadvertently
following verse of Yeghishe Charents , the avant-garde poet of the 30’s
came to mind: “Whatever the crazy masses could not do...”
Indeed, more than four decades ago a crazy soul, created a rebellious
work, and today his crazed followers, are paying crazed tribute to the
Today we unveiled “Melancholy”, the masterpiece of the forefather
of Armenian avant-garde art, Yervand Kotchar, and presented it to our
ancient city. The city, on the sidewalks of which, sometimes in melancholy
and sometimes joyous, sometimes enthusiastic and sometimes depressed,
and why not, sometimes rebellious and crazed, walked Charentses and
Komitases , Sevags and Minasses of our times, accompanied with the spirits
of mythological David of Sassoon and mystical Narek ...
Thus, let the sincere and daring manifestation of the enormous cultural
legacy of our talented ancestors spread with everlasting reverberation
This dream would not realize if it was not for 2 years of hard and selfless
work of a group of dedicated individuals, who did everything possible
for this proud moment to come true.
We thank Mayor and Municipality of Yerevan for authorizing this project.
Special thanks and gratitude to Chief Architect of Yerevan, Narek Sargsian,
for giving us relentless support and assistance.
We thank “Nor Ej” (New Page) Literary Group in whose name
this project was financed by an anonymous benefactor.
Many thanks to heirs of the artist, Haykaz and Rouben Kotchar, for passing
their intellectual rights to this project. Special thanks to Architect
Haykaz Kotchar for developing the architectural arrangement of the complex.
Thanks to the management of Yervand Kotchar Museum and its Director
Mrs. Lala Mardirossian-Kotchar, for cooperation and professionalism
showed with respect to this project.
Thanks to Architect-sculptor Ashot Karapetian who meticulously and with
utmost sincerity sculpted the quadruple size copy of the original work,
and managed and supervised its casting in bronze. We are grateful to
workers, artisans, and master-casters of the foundry for giving this
work body and material existence.
And lastly thank you, our dear compatriots for sharing this proud and
happy moment with us.
 Yeghishe Charents (1897-1937) was a very popular revolutionary
and controversial poet who is considered the forefather of Armenian
modern poetry. He died in a Yerevan prison in late 30’s. His place
of burial is not known.
 Komitas Vartabed (1869-1935) was an ethnomusicologist/clergy who
transcribed and recorded Armenian folk music in classic terms. Komitas
lost his mind after the 1915 Genocide committed against Armenians by
the Ottoman Empire, and died in Paris.
 Baruir Sevag (1924-1971) was a popular poet, following footsteps
of Yeghishe Charents. He died in an auto accident on the road to his
 Minas Avetissian (1928-1975) was a painter, who started a new wave
of modern painting in Armenia in the 50’s and 60’s. He was
killed by a run-away automobile while standing on the sidewalk in his
 David of Sassoon is a young mythological hero who stood up for
independence of the nation of Armenia. His statue by Yervand Kotchar
stands in the square across from the railroad station in Yerevan.
 St. Grigor Narekatsi, (951-1003) was a mystical poet, whose “Book
of Sadness” of lamentations with God is one of the foundations
of Armenian poetry.
* * *
Kotchar’s “Melancholy” is most significant world-class
creations. No sculpture has been able to display human depression in
our dreadful life so comprehensively. With divided identity of dissected
male and female bodies with spiral of venom wrapped around their neck,
with absence of soul symbolized by an internal void where urban high-rises
replace the heart, this by all measures masterpiece is indeed an ingenious
work of art of international standard. Neither August Rodin, nor Henry
Moor has created work of such a class.
We have an obligation to present this masterpiece, this gigantic work
of our small nation to the entire world, in glorification of the Armenian