The Letter of Mehr (Mehr Mektubu), 2017
Born in 1976, Yerevan, Armenia
1995 Graduated with honors from the Terlemezyan state College of Fine Arts of Yerevan, Armenia
2001 Graduated with honors from the State Academy of Fine Arts of Yerevan, Armenia
2005 Graduated with honors from the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence, Italy
Since 2000 he lives and works in Florance, Italy
Most Important Achievements:
2018 Winner of Enrico Marinelli Contemporary Art Award, Museum of Opera del Duomo di Firenze, Italy
2017 Selected Artist for FIAC – On Site, Petite Palais, Paris, France
2017 Selected Artist for Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, UK
2016 Selected Artist for Frieze Sculpture Park, Regent’s Park, London, UK
2015 Golden Lion – The National Pavilion of Armenia 56th Venice Biennale, Italy
2014 1st Prize – Premio Henraux, Italy
2009 1st Prize – Premio Targetti Light Art, Italy
2006 1st Prize – MOVIN’UP 2006, Italy
2003 1st Prize – II International Contemporary Art Biennale of Pavia, Italy
2002 Honorary Degree – XX Premio Firenze, Italy
2001 3rd Prize – XIX Premio Firenze, Italy
1998 3rd Prize – XIII International Sculpture Biennale of Ravenna, Italy
Personal Exhibitions from 2010 Onwards:
2017 Letters, VETRINA – Pietrasanta Banco BPM – Vehicle Projects, curated by Enrico Mattei, Pietrasanta, Italy
2017 Diario (Diary), curated by Clare Lilley, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton – Wakefield, UK
2016 Durk, Ca’ Grande / State University of Milan, curated by Donatella Volonté, Milan, Italy
2014 AtTrazioni (AtTraction), LuzArt Gallery, curated by Ilaria Cicali and Nadjia Chekoufi, Florence, Italy
2013 Equilibri-Plastic Elaborations, InteriorDAsein, curated by Ilaria Cicali and Archi Galentz, Berlin, Germany
2012 In/Outside of Me, Spazio Blue, curated by Simona Gavioli, Bologna, Italy
2011 Introverted Perspective #4, Quadro 0.96 Gallery, curated by Martina Cavallarin, Florence, Italy
2010 Art Projects for Urban Areas, 12th International Architecture Exhibition Biennale di Venezia, Ca’ Zenobio Palace, Venice, Italy
Group Exhibitions from 2010 Onwards:
2017 FIAC – On Site 2017, curated by Christophe Leribault and Eva Wittocx, Grand Palais / Petite Palais, Paris, France
2017 The Mount Analogue – Standart, 1st International Triennale of Contemporary Art of Armenia, curated by Adelina Cüberyan Von Fürstenberg, Gyumri, Armenia
2016 Frieze Sculpture Park 2016, curated by Clare Lilley, Regent’s Park, London, UK
2015 Verso (Towards), Contemporary Art Week, curated by Michela Eremita, Sansedoni Palace – Monte dei Paschi di Siena Foundation, Siena, Italy
2015 Dreamscapes, 6th Internazionale Art Biennale of Beijing, the National Pavilion of the Republic of Armenia, curated by Anna K. Gargarian, National Art Museum of Beijing, Beijing, China
2015 Revelations, 2nd Internazionale Biennale of Fine Crafts and CreationsItalian Space, Grand Palais, curated by Jean Blanchaert, Paris, France
2015 Grandchildren – New Geographies of Belonging, The DEPO, curated by Silvina Der Meguerditchian, Istanbul, Turkey
2015 SIHX. Arte e Industria alla corte Deloitte (SIHX. Art and Industry at the Deloitte Court), curated by Fondazione Henraux e Deloitte Italy, Corte Deloitte, Milan, Italy
2015 Armenity, 56th International Art Exhibition Biennale di Venezia, The National Pavilion Of The Republic Of Armenia, The Island Of San Lazzaro Degli Armeni, curated by Adelina von Fürstenberg, Venice, Italy
2015 Armenian Abstract, Subtile Conjuctions, Kulturhaus Karlshorst Berlin, curated by Archi Galentz, Berlin, Germany
2015 Auf Mnemosynes Wohl! (On Mnemosynes Well!), Maxim Gorki Theater, curated by Silvina Der-Meguerditchian, Berlin, Germany
2014 The Nude as a Guest, InteriorDAsein, curated by Archi Galentz, Berlin, Germany
2013 Targetti Light Art Collection, IV festival F-LIGHT, Murate, organized by the Municipality of Florence and the Targetti Foundation, curated by Consuelo De Gara, Florence, Italy
2013 La Corte (The Court), Palazzo Rucellai, curated by Olivia Toscani Rucellai and Mauro Lovi, Florence, Italy
2012 Respiro della Luce (Breath of Light), Palazzo Bissari, organized by Targetti Foundation and Zoé Foundations, curated by Consuelo De Gara, Vicenza, Italy
2012 Dolomiti Contemporanee DC NEXT (Dolomiti Contemporanee DC NEXT) – Second round exhibition, Blocco di taibon – Fabbrica ex visibilia, curated by Gianluca D'Inca Levis, Taibon Agordino, Italy
2012 Dove stà ‘Zà’? (Where is 'Zà'?), dedicated to 110th anniversary of Cesare Zavattini and his Art collection, Quadro 0.96 Gallery, organized by Quadro 0.96 Gallery and Zavattini Foundation, curated by Aldo Frangioni, Fiesole, Italy
2012 E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle. Il viaggio (And So We Went Out to See the Stars Again. Travel), Finalists of Premio San Fedele 2012, San Fedele Gallery, curated by Andrea Dall'Asta, Milan, Italy
2011 2nd International Contemporary Art Symposium 2011, Villa Böhm, curated by Ralph Gelbert, Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Germany
2011 Neoludica. Art is a Game 2011-1966, 54th International Art Exhibition Biennale di Venezia, Collateral Events, Sala dei Laneri, curated by Debora Ferrari, Venice, Italy
2010 Crossroad, 12th International Architecture Exhibition Biennale di Venezia, The National Pavilion Of The Republic Of Armenia, Palazzo Ca’ Zenobio, curated by Ara Zarian, Venice, Italy
2010 1st International Contemporary Art Symposium 2010, Centro Studi “I Cappuccini”, curated by Corrado Agricola, San Miniato, Italy
2010 1st International Biennale of Grottaglie, Convento San Francesco di Paola, curated by Mons. Pietro Amato, Grottaglie, Italy
Brief Bibliography from 2010 Onwards:
2016 “Durk”, Mikayel Ohanjanyan, by Donatella Volonté, catalogue by Skira, ISBN 978-88-572-3214-0
2015 “Grandchildren – New Geographies of Belonging”, by The DEPO and Silvina Der Meguerditchian, catalogue by Bandecchi & Vivaldi, pages 64-69, 114-115
2015 “SIHX”, by Henraux Foundation, Nicola Gnesi and Manuela Della Ducata, catalogue by Bandecchi & Vivaldi, pages 47-53, 73
2015 56th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, “All The World’s Futures / Participating Countries”, by Okwui Enwezor, catalogue by Marsilio Editori, pages 016-017
2015 “Armenity”, catalogue of the National Pavilion of The Republic of Armenia, by Adelina Cüberyan Von Fürstenberg, catalogue by Skira Editore, pages 80-83, 152
2015 “Praestigium Italia II (Prestigiation Italy II)”, Project Imago Mundi by Luciano Benetton Collection and Luca Beatrice, catalogue by Fabrica, pages 318-319
2014 “Premio Fondazione Henraux (Henraux Foundation Award)”, In memoria di Erminio Cidonio by Henraux Foundation and Enrico Mattei, catalogue by Bandecchi & Vivaldi, pages 5, 9, 13, 62, 100-101, 108-114, 126
2013 “Light Art in Italy”, by Gisella Gellini, catalogue by Maggioli Editore, pages 154-157
2012 “Light Art in Italy”, by Gisella Gellini, catalogue by Maggioli Editore, pages 184-187
2011-2012 “Visual Arts Prize San Fedele”, E quindi riusciamo a riveder le stelle – Il Viaggio, by Andrea Dall'Asta, catalogue by Cariplo Foundation, pages 17, 46-47, 58
2011 54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, “ILLUMInations / Collateral Events”, by Bice Curiger, catalogue by Marsilio Editori, pages 540-541
2011 “Art and Videogames – Neoludica”, by Debora Ferrari, catalogue by Skira Editore, pages 214-215
2010 12th International Architecture exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, “People meet in Architecture / Participating Countries”, by Kazuyo Sejima, catalogue by Marsilio Editori, pages 106-107
Some Articles and Interviews from 2010 Onwards:
2016 “Apre Frieze, una e trina (Opens Frieze, One and Three)”, Il Sole 24 Ore, 2 Octobre, by Pia Capelli
2016 “Mikayel Ohanjanyan”, Flash Art, n.326 March – April, by Gaspare Luigi Marcone, page 28
2016 “E l’arte andò all’Università (And the Art Went to the University)”, Arte, Febbraio, by Pia Capelli, pages 20-21
2016 “Via della Seta: Ohanjanyan inagura la Statale Arte (Silk Road: Ohanjanyan Inaugurates the State Art)”, Treccani Web, by Simone Zoppellaro (http://www.treccani.it/magazine/cultura/Via_della_Seta_Ohanjanyan_inaugura_la_Statale_Arte.html)
2016 “Mikayel Ohanjanyan inagura la Statale Arte (Ohanjanyan Inaugurates the State Art)”, Artribune, by Ginevra Bria (http://www.artribune.com/2016/01/mikayel-ohanjanyan-universita-statale-milano/)
2016 “Un maxi scultore nel Loggiato della Ca’ Grande (A Maxi Sculptor in the Loggia of the Ca 'Grande)”, La Repubblica – Milan edition, by Cristiana Campanini, page XVI
2016 “L‘Armenia nelle sculture alla Statale (Armenia in the Statale Sculptures)”, Il Giornale – Milan Edition, by Francesca Amé, page 12
2015 “Armenity”, Domusweb, by Gabi Scardi (http://www.domusweb.it/en/art/2015/06/15/armenity.html)
2015 “Ohanjanyan, il ritmo dello spazio (Ohanjanyan, the Rhythm of Space)”, Il Manifesto, by Simone Zoppellaro (http://ilmanifesto.info/il-ritmo-dello-spazio/)
2015 “Biennale Arte 2015 – Armenia”, La Biennale di Venezia Channel, by la Biennale di Venezia Channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM5CE6hYLRs)
2015 “Biennale di Venezia. L’Armenia di Mikayel Ohanjanyan (Venice Biennale. Armenia by Mikayel Ohanjanyan)”, Artribune, by Francesca Alix Nicoli (http://www.artribune.com/2015/05/intervista-mikayel-ohanjanyan-biennale-di-venezia-padiglione-armenia-leone-d-oro/)
2015 “Mikayel Ohanjanyan – The identity of the Cube” Wall Street International, New York, by Sarah Corona (http://wsimag.com/art/12778-mikayel-ohanjanyan)
2014 “La pura bellezza della pietra nelle opere di Ohanjanyan (The Sheer Beauty of Stone in the Works of Ohanjanyan)” Il Giornale – daily newspaper 17.08.2014, Italy, by Luca Beatrice, page 27
2012 “Intervista a Mikayel Ohanjanyan (Interview with Mikayel Ohanjanyan)”, Unconventionalproject – Communication network, by Eleonora Sangalli (http://www.unconventionalproject.com/intervista-a-mikayel-ohanjanyan/)
2011 “Tre domande a Mikayel Ohanjanyan (Three Questions to Mikayel Ohanjanyan)”, Postinterface – Creativity and New Technologies network, by Mario Savini (http://www.postinterface.com/home/114-tre-domande-amikayel-ohanjanyan-mariosavini)
2010 “Переступить Порог (Cross the Threshold)”, Erevan magazine, December 2010 / Moscow, by Eleonora Malkhasyan, pages 86-93
Mikayel Ohanjanyan was born in Yerevan, Armenia in 1976. He attended the Terlemezyan state College of Fine Arts of Yerevan (graduated with honors in 1995) and then the State Academy of Fine Arts of Yerevan, (graduated with honors in 2001). In 2000 he moved to Florence, Italy, entering the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence (graduated with honors in 2005) where he still lives and works.
During the course of his artistic career, he has participated in various national and international exhibitions, such as the 12th Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2010 (National Pavilion of Armenia), 54th Venice Biennale of Art in 2011 (Collateral Event) and the 56th Venice Biennale of Art in 2015 (National Pavilion of Armenia), in which Armenia was awared The Golden Lion for Best National Participation. In 2016, the work "Diario" was selected for the Frieze Sculpture Park 2016, exhibited at Regent's Park in London and subsequently the same work was chosen for the prestigious Yorkshire Sculpture Park. In 2017, two works by Ohanjanyan were chosen for the Fiac – On Site project, exhibited in front of Petit Palais in Paris, France.
Member of the Art for the World (Geneva), UNESCO’s International Association of Plastic Arts (Paris), Permanent membership at the Artist’s Union of Armenia.
Ohanjanyan was awarded the Prix Henraux 2014. His works can be found at the Elesiastic College of the French Pontifical Seminar of Vatican (Rome), the Pontifical College of St. Roberto Bellarmine of Vatican (Rome), The Henraux Foundation (Italy), The Targetti’s Light Art Collection (Italy), The Microcolection Museum (Italy), The Collection of Municipality of Neustadt an der Weinstrasse (Germany), The Museum of the Centro Dantesco of Ravenna (Italy), The Museum of Contemporary Art of Pavia (Italy) and among private collectors in Armenia, Italy, France, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey and USA.
In every project of Mikayel Ohanjanyan's plastic elaboration, we always find the attempt to embody ineffability. His sculpture involves and activates opposites: strict exactness vs. shadowy forms, in a very transparent spaciousness, where substance shades off in a light without boundary lines, where invisible shows itself in real things, which reveal invisible changing again just in the moment of its becoming perceptible.
Toni Toniato, Art Historian and Critic
Mikayel Ohanjanyan. Plastic Elaborations
Rare and as such precious, are those moments when – by means of silence, reflexion or estrangement due to the experience of a journey, physical or spiritual – one can allow to emerge sounds and forms of those forces, internal or external, which persist in our daily lives. Often not perceptible, but still concrete they take form, in time and space, thus physical traces of our experience, and they transform them into action.
By means of his opera Mikayel Ohanjanyan analyses and visualizes the forces and relationships that are imminent in the individual and in the society transforming fragments of chaos into constructions of momentary equilibrium. Those forces are in continuous mutability, often characterized by contradictory tensions, elements capable of challenging set rules and visions. Thus the cube – simple and modular form par excellence, equal to the human body, the Cube-Monade – now appears open and contracted in its structure by a series of fine threads that connect it with other internal unities; thus being incised – in its wholeness of solid matter – provoked by the attraction towards external elements. The historical, artistic and philosophical memory gives substance to the opera of the artist who continuously questions the acquired rules in order to thereby create new ones concerning concept and matter and all this with abstract sensibility and infinite poetry.
Ilaria Cicali, Art Historian and Critic. (Translation: Elke Christmann)
The Letter of Mher
This work is inspired by the Armenian epos Sasna Tsrer (“Daredevils of Sassoun”) which tells the story of four generations of heroes. I am particularly fond of the last hero Pokr (little) Mher. In the last part of the epos we learn that the hero, after his numerous epic enterprises and tired of the unjust world which could no longer bear the burden of his legendary horse nor of him as a hero, goes to a place called Agravuqar or Vana Qar, also known as the Door of Mher. With his shining sword he opens the Door to enter and enclose himself in the rock, awaiting the day when he will come back out.
I find this tragic story extremely contemporary, one in which a concentration of values is shut into a “place” waiting to burst, in order to project and contaminate both presence and future.
The work consists of four blocks of basalt, metaphorically, North, South, East, and West. Each block is itself split into two parts held together by steel cables.
Texts will be carved into the cut surfaces of the stones, perceived only at the edges of the blocks that are placed and fastened intentionally askew, revealing the texts yet making them unreadable. The texts speak of a message left by Mher to future generations, where he invites the human being to not wait for him to exit from the rock, as told by the Epos. He states that he has been enclosed through the ages within the interior Agravuqar in each of us and will emerge when we have the courage to look and learn to delve deep inside ourselves. He says that only when we are able to find and stand before our own rock, will there then be the Order for him to emerge.
With this imaginary message, I want to invite the visitor to reflect on the values that we hide within us and their indisputable importance in the relationship between I - Others and Others - I. One has the sensation that these blocks were hiding something special and profound, something luminous and yet invisible.
The work is full of not only the physical but also the psychological in its tension between the written and the material, between dream and reality, between interiority and exteriority. The visitor walks across the space created by the four doors, entering into a dimension of contemplation.