Arthur Tonakanyan

Arthur Tonakanyan was born in 1996 in the Armenian village of Geghanist. The artist studied at the State School of the Geghanist village between 2002-2011 and at the Taron Aesthetics Center in Yerevan between 2004-2014. In 2021, he graduated from the Painting Department of Panos Terlemezyan State Collage of Fine Arts in Yerevan, which he entered in 2014. After his graduation, he started to study at the Graphic Department of the Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts in 2021.

Arthur Tonakanyan's works were first included in the group exhibition titled “Motherland” held at Hay Art Cultural Center (Yerevan) in 2018. Afterwards, he participated in group exhibitions held at the Artists’ Union of Armenia in 2019 and 2020. In 2021, his works were exhibited in the group exhibition titled “Art Connection” at Yerevan Terlemezyan Gallery. The artist received the first prize in the “Graphic works and paintings” category within the scope of the Youth Prize of the President of the Republic of Armenia in 2019, and the Award of Catholicos (Patriarch of the Armenia) young artist that contributed to culture in 2020.

Arthur Tonakanyan is an artist who produces works that feature exaggerated perspective and color, and occasionally figurative abstract details. In his paintings, we encounter either vast village landscapes where tranquility and peace reign, or imaginary hybrid spaces where interior and exterior spaces are mixed. There are no people in the artist's outdoor paintings, only exaggerated and partially caricatured village landscapes with a dynamic geography dominated by dramatic ups and downs. These landscapes, adorned with vivid colors, evoke a great sense of peace and happiness in the viewer.

Again, color is always in the foreground in Tonakanyan's interior works. In these paintings, the artist creates indefinite spaces that are sometimes equipped with objects that defy gravity, have no walls and give the impression of a dream. These strange interior spaces are hybrid temporal spaces in which what belongs to nature, such as trees, grass and flowers that are supposed to be outside, are added to the interior. We observe that the figures, which are included in the composition, are consciously depicted by the artist as a silhouette or hidden behind something, completely undefined and anonymous, without being elaborated. Tonakanyan's paintings can also contain details that appear to be collages added later to the painting. The light source in the artist's interior paintings is unusually on the viewer's side. For this reason, the shadows of objects that are behind the viewer and are nonexistent in the painting are often included in the composition, and in some of his paintings we can even see the shadow of the painter, like the shadow of a photographer falling on the photograph.

Arthur Tonakanyan’s works can be found in personal collections including USA, Irlandia, France, Germany, Turkey, Lebanon and UAE.