Mekhitar Garabedian

TASS, JULY - AUGUST 2007, T1-T40, 2007

Mekhitar Garabedian was born in Syria in 1977 from Armenian parents and has lived in Belgium since he was young. His own Armenian origin and that of others is one of the central themes of his work. The complexity of life in the diaspora is also reflected in the use of a wide variety of media in his work: photography, text, neon, video, sound installations, publications. In his work, he touches on existential questions related to migration and shifts in cultural context and meaning. At the same time, he investigates the conceptual possibilities and potency of the work of art, the way in which it can communicate with the observer, be linked to a broader tradition, pushes back or breaks the boundaries of understanding. In an on-going series of photographs, taken by his girlfriend over the past nine years, we see the artist sleeping in bed. The series is entitled Intimacy is being angry and it doesn’t relate to anything or anyone because no one is inside of you with your language to understand. Consciously or unconsciously, the artist refers to examples from the history of art which sleep is a central figure. On one hand there is Goya's famous etching (The sleep of reason produces monsters) and on the other, the equally iconic work Sleep by Andy Warhol. Does the artist work while he sleeps? Do we keep our identity while sleeping? Can we photograph dreams? Mekhitar Garabedian situates himself in a tradition where the artist, as the creator of the work, has a central role, but does itso on the basis of the absence/presence of sleep. What language does sleep speak? How fragile is language when you are faced with unintelligibility? The S.M.A.K. collection includes the installation Pararan (Dictionary), 38 loudspeakers, one for each letter of the Armenian alphabet, from which all Armenian words are recited. Faced with this incomprehensible language, the Western listener becomes totally disorientated.What remains is a submersion in a phonetic bath. Garabedian's work is about showing and hiding, making things audible and inaudible, creating meaning and producing meaninglessness. In the end, it always confronts the observer with his or her own limitations. And do we need to interpret this for ourselves? I would prefer not to.

Hans Martens

Born in Aleppo, Syria, 1977


He attended Sint-Lukas Hogeschool Brussel (Audio-visual Arts) and Hogeschool Ghent/KASK (Royal Academy of Fine Arts) (Photography).


2008 Beurschouwburg Brussel, Brussels 
2007 In de wind, Cc Strombeek 
2006 Happy when it rains, Be-part, Platform for contemporary art, Waregem 


2008 Belgier, aktuelle Kunst aus Belgien, Figge von Rosen Galerie, Köln, Germany 
2008 Collection Presentation, S.M.A.K., Ghent 
2008 From Armenia with love, GEMAK, Den Haag, the Netherlands 
2008 Fresh#3, Buda Arts Centre, Kortrijk 
2008 Takaaki Izumi – Mekhitar Garabedian, Hoet Bekaert Gallery, Ghent 
2008 Trends 2008, St-Barbara chapel, Ghent 
2008 Minimal Waves, L’Écurie, Brussels 
2007 Open Archive #1 – Re:collections : acquisitions 2005-2007, Argos, Brussels
2007 Gasthoven 07 | ZONEVREEMD, cc Het Gasthuis, Aarschot 
2007 Silent Revolutions, Chancart – Kruidtuin/Bibliotheek Tweebronnen, Leuven
2007 MARTa Schweigt, MARTa, Herford, Germany
2006 Fortis Young Ones Award, LineArt, the Art Fair, Ghent
2006 Parcours Video Installations, Beurschouwburg, Brussels
2006 Mankind, story of a wound, S.M.A.K. and CRKC, Leuven and Heverlee

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