Armenian national pavilion officially opens at Venice Biennale

The Armenian pavilion at 2024 Venice Biennale was officially opened to public on April 18.

Attending the official opening ceremony were Daniel Danielyan, Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, Armenia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Italy Tsovinar Hambardzumyan, Armenia’s Honorary Consul in Venice Gagik Sarukhanyan, Vahagn Marabyan, the Executive Director of Cafesjian Center for the Arts, Patron of the pavilion, and Vigen Badalyan, founder of the Fastex company, sponsor of the pavilion.

Welcoming the attendees, Deputy Minister Daniel Danielyan emphasized the importance of Armenia’s participation in the Venice Biennale. “This platform is one of the cultural arteries of Europe, where interesting projects are presented. The work of artist Nina Khemchyan is not only about the spiritual, but also about the cosmic, human nature and perception of the world. Nina Khemchyan invites us to think about the past, present and future.”

The Echo exhibition at the National Pavilion of the Republic of Armenia, conceptualized by Paris-based Armenian artist Nina Khemchyan, melds Medieval Armenian heritage with universal spiritual principles, reconsidered in the realm of nowness. It features two main artworks, deeply interconnected. Influenced by Mesrop Mashtots, the creator of the Armenian alphabet and a key cultural figure, Khemchyan’s work reflects a profound engagement with his legacy.

A crucial element is her encounter with singer Hasmik Baghdasaryan- Dolukhanyan, whose renditions of Mashtots’ fifth-century sharakans (sacred chants of repentance) inspired the creation of eleven blue ceramic spheres, each adorned with golden incrustations featuring the texts of these chants. These spheres, alongside Baghdasaryan-Dolukhanyan’s a capella performance, blend sculpture with music, transforming words into visual codes.

The exhibition also includes Khemchyan’s Seven Deadly Sins, a 50-metre paper roll divided into segments representing each sin, using black ink on white paper to symbolize moral dichotomy. This work invites meditative reflection, complementing the Echo project in exploring themes of human sin and spiritual redemption, which are especially essential and vital nowadays.

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