Suspending the ‘painterly real’
ACT’s procedures of ‘pure creation’, 1993–96
in The political aesthetics of the Armenian avant-garde
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The chapter is dedicated to the conceptual artist group ACT. Its historical investigation of the group’s aesthetic strategies attempts to situate them within those structural changes that took place in the aftermath of independence following the collapse of the USSR in 1991 and defined the trajectory for this decade. The chapter investigates, describe and critically revisits the social and cultural context defined as one of a ‘crisis of negation’. Further it analyses those spaces and possibilities that emerge in the gaps between ‘pure creation,’ and are made operational throughout the group’s existence, and the intensity of everyday life in Armenia in the mid-1990s. It argues that the concept of ‘pure creation’ emerges in the clash between autonomous art, and the intensity of turbulent transformations affecting everyday life. It is this clash that transforms the agenda of ‘pure creation’ into a political-artistic program that rhymes with the positivist assumptions of the post-Soviet liberal democratic state.

The political aesthetics of the Armenian avant-garde

The journey of the ‘painterly real’, 1987–2004

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