The National Pavilion for the Republic of Armenia opens at the 56th edition of the Venice Biennale on 6 May. This year, Armenia will focus on the curatorial concept of Armenity, a complex theme which reflects heavily on the centenary of the Armenian Genocide. As part of the country’s commemorations, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia has dedicated its pavilion to contemporary artists from the Armenian diaspora. Works selected for the exhibition will encompass the notions of displacement and territory, justice and reconciliation, and ethos and resilience.
From the remnants of a shattered identity, the Armenian people rebuilt a “transnational assembly” as survivors of the first genocide of the 20th century. A concern for memory, justice and reconciliation transcends notions of territory, borders and geography for the selected artists who constantly reinvent their armenity regardless of the country they reside in.
This year’s chosen location, the Mekhitarist Monastery, is intimately connected to Armenia’s cultural history. It was on the Island of San Lazarro that the Armenian monk Mekhitar established his synonymous order in 1717 which has helped to preserve Armenia’s unique heritage that might otherwise have been lost.
Curated by Adelina Cüberyan v. Fürstenberg, the richness of the exhibition finds expression in the diversity of the narration and vision of each of the artists and intellectuals involved – it is a direct reflection of a continuous process of preservation and enrichment that has allowed the Armenian culture to be integrated, but not assimilated, in even the most adverse conditions.
A book of poetry containing the work of Armenian poets born after the genocide and the Russian revolution will be available alongside an exhibition catalogue, which will feature colour reproductions and texts in both English and Armenian. In-depth curatorial texts will introduce a collection of pages dedicated to each of the 18 exhibiting artists. Featured practitioners include Sarkis, Gianikian & Ricci Lucchi, Haig Aivazian, Anna Boghiguian, Melik Ohanian, Rosana Palazyan and Mekhitar Garabedian.
Armenity: Contemporary artists from the Armenian Diaspora, The National Pavilion for the Republic of Armenia, on the Island of San Lazzaro degli Armenia, La Biennale di Venezia 2015, Venice.
For more information on The National Pavilion for the Republic of Armenia, visit www.armenity.net.
Additional details on this year’s Venice Biennale can be found at www.labiennale.org.
Follow us on Twitter @AestheticaMag for the latest news in contemporary art and culture.
1. Haig Aivazian, Hastayım Yaşıyorum (I am sick, but I am alive), 2014. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.