Individual and Social Alteration: Metamorphosis!
The World, it is changing at a great pace! This change, while tolerable at first, is actually forcing us to transform and alter in such speed that we are swept off our feet. New generations, new business and life styles, cities that have been transformed by new technology, new societies, new demeanors, new ethics and new people… In a timeframe where almost every single thing is new and fresh; we are becoming isolated as we individualize and estranged as we become more isolated in return. As we are dragged towards a state of aggressive existence, we are forced to assume extremely unstable psychological states or retreat to the safety of our secret sanctuaries. Just like that, we nullify our senses under this heavy bombardment of the “new” by ignoring most things on the pretext of “living prosperously”, while certain times we take refuge in the realm of dreams, fantasies, hopes and fairytales. This strange realm is one that our known laws of physics cannot be applied to – it is a realm filled with eccentricity and irony, where everyone acts as they know it! A new parallel universe, where the lines, colors, objects, time and even lives alter by multiplying, leaving their all-too-familiar aspects behind…
Galeri 77 is putting together a very special exhibition for Contemporary Istanbul. This collection, the works in which are predominantly expressionist, surreal, neo-surreal and contemporary; is focusing upon the solitude, the obsessions and the deep melancholy of humanity and their ultimate state of individual and social alteration (metamorphosis) in the face of rapidly changing conditions in today’s world, while confronting us with the truth that we must first turn to ourselves for the solution. Sometimes criticizing with venom the states alternating between hope and hopelessness, it also opens the door for a dreamy realm softened with irony and humor, which immediately intrigues the audience. Another purpose of this collection is to allow for the audience, all the while inviting them to this adventure of metamorphosis, to stop for a moment and catch their breath in all the commotion of life, to give them a chance to confront themselves!
Armén Rotch’s sensual and multilayered works of pure beauty in particular, where he put together simple, common everyday objects for a whole new purpose; are already amongst the most interesting in the fair. Galeri 77 also presents Tigran Tsitoghdzyan with his new collection of oil-paint on canvas along with his paper works, after his widely acclaimed reception last year. As one of the “New Old Masters”, Tsitoghdzyan’s Mirror series offers much to the audience and are filled with profound meanings.
With its exclusive exhibition, Galeri 77 showcases the works of Armén Rotch, Tigran Tsitoghdzyan, Daron Mouradian, Armen Gevorkian, Vahram Davtian and Sedat Girgin.
From Armén Rotch to Tigran Tsitoghdzyan: Stories of Transformation and Metamorphosis
The most well-known of Armén Rotch’s works are the collages and installations he makes with simple, even minimalistic patterns using tea bags. While others utilize tea bags to rest their weary eyes or as fertilizers in their gardens, Rotch transforms them with his creativity to give them a whole new striking purpose. He uses different tea bags each left in water for various amounts of time, thus creating varying layers of tonality within the pieces of the installation. Here, tea bags are being utilized as both leitmotiv (subject) and main technical material (object) which forms his art. Owing to his usage of this special material, the influence of Arte Povera could be felt, which is an Italian art movement, modest and bereft of any vanity; for which the artists use only the most simple and common materials. Once seen as a luxurious item and traded internationally, finding its way all the way from China to Europe, the tea has a historical prominence – but in Rotch’s eyes it also has a place in almost every culture worldwide, and these tea bags that we use very often in our daily lives exemplify the lives and the existence of human beings. His works almost appear to have humility modesty, unlike the sense of smugness we often get in comtemporary art scene. What’s more is that they are intriguing and evocating, while possessing also a certain sensory element: The sense of smell, which animates or summons a series of memories.
In another production medium, Armén Rotch uses canvas to explore the pictorial processes specific to the representation of the temporal dimension on the image. After all the lines runs, traces and scratches on the canvas, come so many possible dimensions in which reminiscences and contradictions, certainties and hesitations, are found. This new pictorial field, where small separate pieces form a network of hesitations with irregular rhythms by binding together, hosts mutating instants by reflecting perception instead of the apprehension of time and depth instead of the experience of process. Here, Rotch, by using the same laconic and precise movements and even repeating them inescapably, experiences time as something moving forward to the rhythm of its inner temporality, apart from any circumstantial chronology
Tigran Tsitoghdzyan’s “Mirrors” are big, bold portraits. They are confrontationally large, and black and white just like the negative of a photograph: the colors of life enigmatically erased from them as though in a melancholy underworld. The artist focuses on the modern esprit of individualism in the age of “selfies” culture. From this point of view, it is evident that internet changed our need to be seen and the control we had about that image. Tsitoghdzyan begins his portraits with a photograph - today taking the place of the preparatory drawing—and ends with a portrait that however photograph-like has the nuanced touches of a refined painting. Carefully constructed of tonal shadows, his portraits have the emotional subtlety that an everyday photograph lacks. They lend themselves to reflection and invite lingering contemplation, as a matter-of-fact photograph rarely does.
The series, composed of large portraits, are technically based on fusing transparent superposed layers of hands over the faces of unhidden identity, and are about the impossibility of hiding our identity today if we accept the ubiquitous power and rules of social media, with no filters capable to control our posts.
As part of the exhibition, the well-loved artist Daron Mouradian, who has generated a big interest over the years with his fantastical, vivacious figures and saturated colors, once again takes us in a journey in his imagination with his new body of work. Daron Mouradian transforms his interest in mechanics to self-invented tools of travel. By animating every single detail on the canvas, he represents an illusion laden with irony and humor, appealing to our imagination; thus enabling the reoccurrence of forgotten dreams in our consciousness. While the colors he uses reanimate the times of fairy tales, by exposing the tripe of puissance and the absurdity of violence he leaves us with a story of violence emerging from this marvelous fairy tale. The power of his works lies in his gracefulness with which he portrays his disappointed conscience in a fantastic universe. His works are elegant, but his critique is bitter. The artist’s ability to become some sort of a conscient wizard is clearly apparent.
Prominent with his figurative manner, Armen Gevorkian continues to walk us in extraordinary theatrical scenes of medieval. Working completely isolated from the outside world in his boxy room devoid of sunlight, Gevorkian depicts his gothic characters - also isolated from the outside world – occupied with individual and social discrepancies in a state of constant conflict, but sometimes as a field of uncanny moments where they can move together for a common purpose.
As for Vahram Davtian, he invites us to his fantasy world which he comprises beyond time and place by using spaces that defy the laws of gravity and characters that seem weightless. In his works, he presents his characters dressed in spectacular and elaborate carnival costumes embellished with fantastic accessories within a multi-layered atmosphere where the time slows down and the space becomes vague. This multi-layered view which can only be found in the old masters’ works also provide a three-dimensional look thanks to the depth and exceptional stratification of the colors.
The last artist of the exhibition, the rising star Sedat Girgin has gained a following from Turkish art enthusiasts in recent years. Despite his relatively young age, he has illustrated more than 80 books for various publishers and worked for magazines and creative agencies as a freelance illustrator. After his first solo exhibition “Circus of Wonders” (Hayretler Sirki) in 2013, he opened his second personal exhibition “While Going Nuts” (Keçilerle Kaçarken) in Galeri 77 in 2017. Treating his characters in a unique, playful but also bittersweet reality by creating an original world; the artist describes his tone as snippy but sincere. Girgin is an artist who likes to make a point of drawing as he feels like, who loves playing around with forms and who believes that he can relay more directly the emotions by deforming the figures he draws as much as he can. Just like a rough sea reviving a much stronger and tougher feeling than a calm one.
The illustrator Sedat Girgin has been declared as Turkey’s candidate for 2018 for Hans Christian Andersen Award, one of the most prestigious prizes in the sphere of literature.