International Biennial of Contemporary Art Ljubljana,
23 June - 24 September 2000
News Archive
Micro Talks
Cankarjev Dom
M1 & M2
Alexander Melkonyan
  *1952, lives in Yerevan

Armenian Emotional, Logical, Victorious, Instinctively Suicidal Ancient-Armenian Urban Archetype in the Last Capital of Armenians, 1999, installation

Melkonyan's installation, which the artist calls a hyper-object, is composed of sixty so-called micro-objects, encircled and separated one from the other by borders of basalt rock. They are somewhat reminiscent of the enclosures of highland alpine pastures or of megalithic labyrinths of ancient cults. All of the exhibited items are made up of natural materials, mainly rock (basalt, granite, slate, volcanic glass), objects trouvés and second hand objects (ceramic, wood, thread, fibres, glass, crystal, jewellery, textiles). The principle of the new construction is based on natural, archaic building methods which mainly consist of joining and tying technique, excluding the use of any modern technology and thereby deliberately suggesting the principle of operation and survival of a guerrilla-type army. Each piece is an autonomous object with a name and thereby also its own identity. We may consider Melkonyan's work (as well as the artist himself, a former army officer) as a metaphor of the geographic and cultural space of his origins. The Caucasus Mountains were considered, since time immemorial, a region specifically determined by the frontier syndrome and the military conflict arising from it. Nevertheless, this is a region that gave rise to a dynamic and probably the most clearly defined form of existential practices conditioned by the geographic, cultural and national diversity. Differences exist at every level of human existence - artistic, scientific, cultural, technological, legal and political. And it is precisely due to this diversity that the result is a kind of a higher simultaneous whole. Melkonyan observes that "a person can draw a line only within himself; he should draw an arch to his bestial fear and reshape it into an ecstatic feeling of his own primeval nature. More than an enemy, we should fear the darkness within ourselves, because there is no enemy - only ignorance. We must open wide our eyes, and light will reach the darkest recesses of the human soul".


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