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Crisis 2: Political Art on Display in Yerevan (PHOTOS)

You get up in the morning and don’t know what to do. Life has become mechanical and unbearable. You have lost your ideas. To act for satisfaction is as senseless as not to act. Everything is incredibly bad and uncomfortable, and your partners are so awkward that you cannot even feel sexual satisfaction. Nature does not obey you. You grow old […] You have appeared in the middle of a frantic storm and do not know how and on whom to take revenge; to become a terrorist or to commit suicide.

This is an excerpt from artist David Kareyan’s text for the 1999 “Crisis” exhibit, who was hit by a car and died in early Jan. 2011.

Addressing Kareyan’s text, Gor Yengoyan, curator of “Crisis 2,” an alternative festival of art organized by the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art (ACCEA, or NPAK in Armenian) from Apr. 10 to 28, speaking to reporters in Yerevan today said that the current social and political situation in the country is similar to the situation in 1999. Yengoyan promotes the idea of political art, since, according to him, political, economic and social processes have a direct impact on the cultural arena, particularly on the sector that considers itself a part of it or its active organ.

“Art that deals with political issues in many cases loses its boundaries, when you don’t understand where art begins and politics ends,” he says.

It’s no coincidence that apart from artists, participating in the festival are, for example, journalists, for whom politics comprises a part of their everyday work. In particular, on exhibit will be journalist Ani Gevorgyan’s photos, while journalist (and, for the sake of full disclosure, one of the founders of Epress.am) Yuri Manvelyan, along with artists Arman Grigoryan and Tigran Khachatryan, will present the manifesto of the DVD revolution artists’ group and will talk on two topics: “The semiotics of the image of the enemy in journalism” and “Media economy, censorship”.

Four exhibits will be on display at the festival: Crisis 2, Anthem of Crisis, Age Crisis and Outside Crisis.

The work of Ani Gevorgyan, Gor Mkrtchyan, DVD revolution artists’ group, Sona Abgaryan, Hayk Paronyan, Dmitri Sarkisov, Garik Yengibaryan, Karen Ohanyan and art-activist group Art Laboratory will be included in the Crisis 2 exhibit.

The Anthem of Crisis is an exhibit by Sona Abgaryan and Svetlana Antonyan with the text provided by Abgaryan and the photos by Antonyan:

The loudspeaker is exploding.
demolishing forms.
i am a militant poet,
my anger is a gift.
i will stroll like a dog,
my story will be fearless.
the disappointed man has been born,
but he does not break.
he will never break […]

Age Crisis, in turn, is an attempt to reveal the issues of concern to young artists, which are expressed in “person-parent-family-society-world” interaction. The exhibit is curated by Arman Gharibyan and Shahane Khachikyan.

While Outside Crisis is the work of curator Tigran Araeklyan and artist Nare Hovhannisyan. According to the pair, the exhibit is a presentation of the preparatory material of unaccomplished work as evidence of crisis.

Speaking to reporters today, ACCEA co-founder Edward Balassanian (pictured above, center) pointed out that the one of the most important — if not the most important — things for ACCEA is that apart from world-renowned artists, young artists will be participating in the festival, which has always been one of the primary objectives of ACCEA. Balassanian recalled that many well-known artists today “sharpened their teeth” (and launched their careers) at ACCEA.

Gor Yengoyan (pictured above, left), in turn, recalled that three of the artists participating in Crisis 2 — Sona Abgaryan (pictured above, right), Arman Grigoryan and Tigran Khachatryan — displayed work 13 years ago at the first Crisis exhibit.