The reign of the ‘painterly real’ and the politics of crisis, 1999–2004
in The political aesthetics of the Armenian avant-garde
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This closing chapter offers a reading of the work of two artists of the 1990s and early 2000s – David Kareyan and Narek Avetisyan, both previously members of the group ACT – and discusses their works in the context of social, political, technological as well as cultural shifts in Armenia. The two artists’ works, it argues, epitomize the contradictions of the turn of the century Armenia. This context is defined as a crisis of politics and political subjectivization vis-à-vis the state. This marked a shift from affirmative artistic practices in the conditions of the crisis of negation that characterized the mid 1990s, and gave birth to a politics of resistance. The chapter considers political, economic and art institutional transformations as interlinked processes that bring about an imperative to rearticulate art’s relationship to the social world. It locates the advent of video art, performance and installation within the advent of the media society and the techno utopias of global connectivity.

The political aesthetics of the Armenian avant-garde

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

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