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Artists are assumed to reflect upon their inner feelings and first-hand experiences in a direct and unsolicited manner, without external influences. However, this is not always the case. There are quite a few “external” elements which consciously or sub-consciously impact on artist’s work. Religion and politics tend to put restrictions, “moral” or otherwise, on people’s behavior and modes of social interaction. Mass media and propaganda machines are geared to disseminate and impose set visions of “the World”. As a result the individual member of society, who may be of a different “creed” or “conviction”, is forced to follow the “established” rules and endure hardship imposed on him by standards and mores which are not necessarily of his choice, preference, personal belief, codes of ethics, etc. One of the objectives of this project is to promote unadulterated artistic expression by inviting artists to try to create art stemming from their very personal feelings and experiences, rather than following “common knowledge” and socially accepted paradigms. This is an attempt to counteract intellectualization of art. There is no restriction of medium or topic. The project is an attempt of expressing new and genuine postures by means of traditional or otherwise modus operandi: painting, sculpture, installation, video-art, performance or any combination thereof. Presented works are multi-layered rich with many latent and overt parables and metaphors. Works may be grouped in two general categories. One group is works which are “introvert”, of autobiographical narrative nature, dealing with personal issues and private feelings and preferences of the artist. Here, one can see the concept of self-sacrifice vs. selfish posture of sacrificing others, rebellious outburst vs. psychology of “foot-soldier” following the leader like in a “flock of lambs”… The other group are works which are “extrovert”, looking out at the environment where artists live. These are works which reflect upon soft and hard socio-political issues, which “grind” on artists’ psyche. These works are of many directions and deal with a gamut of diverse issues ranging from problems of economic stratification, to freedom of expression and association. Last but not least is the fact that several generations of contemporary artist have been brought together in one exhibition/event. It has been strategy and practice of ACCEA/NPAK since its activities started in 1992 to bring more experienced and established artists and young and upcoming potential ones together. The intention is to facilitate transfer of skill, experience and mastery to the young artists, without inhibition or stigma of teacher-student and master-disciple relationships. The intent is to induce and help the young and aspiring artists to challenge the “masters”, with due respect, but without unwarranted consequences. This is what this and similar events intend to accomplish.
Sonia Balassanian