The revenge of the ‘painterly real’
National post-conceptualism, 1995–98
in The political aesthetics of the Armenian avant-garde
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This chapter presents the argument that the collapse of ACT marked the return of the ‘painterly real’, which, for a moment, coincided with the state’s cultural politics. It investigated how the binaries such as ‘national’ and ‘contemporary’, ‘word’ and ‘image’ came into conflict and were reconciled at the aesthetic level in the period following the collapse of ACT (1996-98), a period that is marked with what I call the revenge of the painterly in the works of former ACT artists David Kareyan and Diana Hakobyan. This chapter situates the return to the ‘painterly real’ within the then-dominant, post-conceptual mode of historicization that characterizes contemporary art as an evolutionary convergence of tradition and contemporaneity. I argue that contemporary art played a vanguard role in sustaining and advancing this logic.

The political aesthetics of the Armenian avant-garde

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


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