Three Generations – Between Continuity and Disruption
The animated image occupies an important place in Armenia. In 1909 the first cinema is opened there. A genuine cinematic tradition establishes itself up to the nineteen-thirties, a period when socialist realism begins to impose its ideological and esthetic laws. After the Second World War and especially during the nineteen-sixties, at the beginning of the “thaw,” a new geneation of filmmakers enters upon the scene, among them Sergueï Paradjanov. This master had a decisive influence on the artistic creation of his era, and even today he remains a source of inspiration for numerous directors.
After the independence of the country in 1992, Armenia has known war, an economic blockade, severe problems of energy supply, the effects of political changes and the establishment of a market economy. For this reason, cinematographic production has been going through a period of deep disorganization. Nevertheless, local filmmakers have struggled to assure the survival of their art. The diaspora has likewise made a sizeable investment.
Parallel to cinema, video art enters upon the scene in Armenia in the nineteen-sixties and -seventies. Certain artists of that era (and even more today) go in a direction contrary to the predominant esthetic tendencies and sometimes effect a real break with the cinematographic concepts of their country. The current video works have maintained this critical aspect. A large majority of artists ask themselves questions concerning their situation, the role attributed to artistic creation in the post-Soviet context which lies at the heart of many social problems in Armenia.
Nevertheless, there is one common point which unites the filmmakers and video makers in Armenia, namely their strongly oppositional stance with regard to social, political and economic systems which, for one reason or another, seem harmful. It is clear that emblematic figures such as Paradjanov symbolize the struggle for freedom of creation; the subsequent generation of filmmakers, such as Gareguine Zakoyan, demonstrates artistic perseverance and involvement. Finally, Armenian video makers assert themselves as subversive elements, but in the service of just, even vital causes.
Presented in France from March to May 2007, in the framework of “Arménie, mon amie” of CULTURESFRANCE, the project “Regards Projetés – Arménie” offers three sections grouped around the animated image:
– “Glorious Futilities,” a selection of video works
– Sergueï Paradjanov, screening of his works
– Gareguine Zakoyan, encounter with the filmmaker, screening of his films
This project will be presented at the apollonia venue and at the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Strasbourg, at the Espace Croix-Baragnon in Toulouse, at the École nationale supérieure des beaux arts in Paris, at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Saint-Étienne.
This unique European presentation will continue to travel beyond French borders and in particular will be shown in Cyprus, Greece, Belgium and Poland.
March / May 2007 Strasbourg / Toulouse / Paris / Saint-Etienne