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Armenia’s Participation in 2011 Venice Biennale to be Supported by Culture Ministry

Armenia is to be represented by artists Mher Azatyan, Grigor Khachatryan and Astghik Melkonyan at the 54th international Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia), taking place from Jun. 4 to Nov. 27, according to a press statement issued by the team representing Armenia.

The title for the art exhibition for this year’s Venice Biennale is “ILLUMInations.”

Armenia has been participating in the biennial since 1995; however, this year the country’s participation will be state funded. The Armenian pavillion is supported by the RA Ministry of Culture and the New Cultural Policy Foundation.

The commissioner of the Armenian pavillion is Viktor Mnatsakanyan, who, according to the press release, has entrusted the project to a group of curators: Armine Antikyan, Vardan Azatyan, Ruben Arevshatyan and Nazaret Karoyan.

It’s the first time that artists are represented by a curatorial team rather than a single curator, said Azadyan.

Another first for this year is the fact that the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art (ACCEA, or NPAK in Armenian) did not participate in the selection process. Usually, ACCEA both selects the participating artists and locates funding.

Azatyan, elaborating on other differences with this year’s participation, adds that the nature of the project they’re proposing this year is unlike that in previous years:

“The nature of the project is different. Our project assumes cooperation with other national pavillions. And the work is happening ahead of time.  That is, it’s not that we take the [artists’] work, go and hang it or put it in certain halls…, but work is taking place ahead of time with our many colleagues who are already involved in the joint work.

“The outcome will have not only a visual representation, but be more communicative and discursive in nature. Organized will be conferences and panels in which different people will be invited to speak on proposed issues,” concluded Azatyan.