XLIX Venice Biennale

Armenian Pavilion

International Exhibition of Art

June 10 – November 4, 2001

Abgarian Sona

Aramian Narine

Azatian Mher

Badalian Nora

Hagobian Diana

Hovsepian Ara

Hovsepian Hamlet

Kareyan David

Khachatrian Tigran

Margarian Hovhannes

Matsakian Karine

Mnatsakanian Tatev

Saghatelian Samuel

Simonian Harutyun

Tokmajian Arpine

Work in Progress

The Armenian pavilion at the 49th International Venice Biennale started in November of 2000 in Yerevan, Armenia. In May 2001, it will be "transported" to Venice, where it will continue until the end of 49th Biennale-November 4, 2001. The Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art, which is the organizer of the pavilion, hopes to carry the spirit of dynamism and continuity beyond the closing of 49th Venice Biennale. 

As a consequence, the works and their very nature are, and will remain flexible. Video-art has been selected as the medium, to include as large a number of works as possible. Presentations in this catalogue are graphic compositions based on works of 15 artists, who were "on the stage", at the deadline of submission of entries for the general catalogue of the 49th Venice Biennale. This is a "snap-shot" of the Armenian Pavilion at 49th Venice Biennale, taken in Yerevan, Capital of the Republic of Armenia, on 6:00 PM of March 3, 2001.

Throughout the 49th Biennale the pavilion will continue to evolve. Dynamic in nature, it will present works-in-progress by selected artists. To the extent possible, the exhibition will be in a continues state of transformation. Artists will take turns traveling to Venice, to work on their pieces. In a dynamic spirit, they will interact with each other and the visitors, and will try to reflect this interaction in their works by action, performance, installation. Trends, styles, and directions in the arts are many and diverse. A feeling of drifting, of absence of focus-or sense of too many foci!-is starting to dominate the creative environment. The unprecedented variety ironically is creating a haunting state of uncertainty. The issue, therefore, is to achieve relative clarity and focus in a diverse surrounding, by search, discourse and interaction, in an environment of exploration and discovery. We start with the premise that we do not know. That there are more questions than answer… The quest for new frontiers continues…

Edward Balassanian, PH.D.

Commissioner and Curator


They will always feel oppressed, and always will be prepared to oppose. 

This is the only thing they are capable of. They cannot deal with their friends properly, because they hate all those who had a happier childhood.

They like poisoning others' lives.

They believe everyone has caused them pain.


Mannerism: A method for overcoming traditionalism. An endless and timeless interpretation. Technological canvas of video to old movies, to black and white photo-documentation.

 An attempt of realizing dreams of reviving creation.


And God made of clay a man in its own shape. A small piece of clay was left over. "What should I make from this clay for your?" asked God.

"I have everything except happiness," responded the man.     According to the legend, God gave the piece of clay to the man, and said, "Make in yourself".


Characters are looking for the author. It is the artist, who is searching for her image. Her own image. Do you know every one? We do not live this life. We are just there… I want to live. I sing. Up or down the road, it is all the same. I do not rest.

The rest is silence.


Whatever I do, I do mechanically. Whatever I think, has already been thought. They have already lived my life once. I am assured of my place in the system. I resemble a motor, a washing machine, an electric saw. I resemble a computer.

Ultimately, I am free. More than ever.


It is the social animal. It is the instinct of self-protection and destruction. It is the quest for self-awareness and expression. It is the inter-relation between social and individual systems. It is the social orientation. It is the understanding of the history of the social animal, such as "me" and "us". It is nature's socialized anti-ecology.


Drawing in earth. Melt in earth. Feeling shaped of earth. Travel to the origin. Uninhibited return to the unknown. Everything is covered with earth, and is borne of earth. It seems like an eternal game from chaos to clarity, and vice versa. 


You strive for illusions, for forgetting the reality, which is indifferent towards you. You need words to bring back your sweet sufferings, and free you from the mausoleum of your body. You have appeared in the middle of a frantic storm, and do not know how, and from whom to take revenge. To become a terrorist, or to commit suicide?


Metaphorically or otherwise, the moving force of our culture has become the government. Without "Might of the Rulers" culture will self-expire. As the rule becomes stronger, we gradually lose control over our own personal lives.


Who is your nanny? She, who sees me, but I do not see her. She who hears me, but I do not hear her. She who orders me, but I do not order her…


Art is the outcome of the unconscious need for counteracting collapse and destruction. It is re-construction of life, which has an ever-changing, growing, and spreading nature. Art, therefore, in each period, has its distinct expression. It could not be otherwise. It would not be art. It would be fraud and deception.


There sensory organs, the eye, the ear, and the mouth. These are intimately interrelated. There is a powerful energy-the moving force of the sensory world. In its absence the body loses sensitivity toward other elements of the environment. I attempt to express this energy, and put it in direct contact whit the "observer", to receive an interactive sensation.


Dependent on bread. Related to bread. Filled with bread. Enclosed, immersed and buried in bread. The home, the woman, the child, the hope. The faith and love. The promised land.


Artist's body, as the body of a child, Does not obey time. It shapes it. It is a body, which is more than muscles. It is not a body just for the sake of body, sentenced to live against death. It is a body for exhibition. A body unique by its identity.


Creation of "virtual reality" in conjunction with "natural reality" is the greatest achievement of the technological era. Every day it conquers never frontiers, thus further gluing man to the computer. It dictates its own artificial rules and regulations. More and more it detaches man from nature and natural relations. Is this progress?