On September 28, Yerevan opened its doors to the contemporary art of over 70 established and reputable artists from 25 countries in a city-wide event titled “International Contemporary Art Exhibition: Armenia 2018” (ICAE2018). The exhibition spans seven major cultural venues throughout Yerevan, including the AGBU Gallery at the Armenia headquarters of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). The exhibition will run through October 25 and is listed as a coinciding cultural event of the Francophonie Summit 2018, hosted by Armenia.
The scope of the exhibition includes an array of genres of the visual arts: Painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation of iconic pieces on loan from the world’s top galleries and collections, as well as commissioned works in situ which are produced specifically for the site in which they are on display.
“Our idea was to bring artists from as many countries as possible, let them interact with local talents and engage with the country, understand Armenian culture and traditions and then serve as its ambassadors,’’ said Fabio Lenzi, CEO of Shaula International, a Yerevan-based consulting firm which organized ICAE 2018. With this project, Shaula International aims to make Armenia “a hub for arts in the region’’ and put it on the world map of contemporary art.
ICAE 2018, a two-part exhibition, is curated by experienced curators Mazdak Faiznia and Marine Hakobyan. According to Faiznia, both were specifically designed for Armenia, “because the works that were selected and artists that came have a very specific exchange with this country.”
One exhibition, “The Soundlines of Contemporary Art,” which explores themes such as cultural interaction, identity, mobility, presence and absence, demonstrates how Armenia’s contemporary art aligns with international trends. Located at the Artist’s Union of Armenia “Open Sounds of Contemporary Art,” the other one, served as an opportunity for local artists to submit their artwork through an open call. ICAE 2018 also offers Arts and Business Symposium and a rich program of educational presentations and workshops.
The high caliber talent and cultural significance of the exhibition have attracted such patrons as the Canadian Government, the Government of Quebec, Armenia’s Ministry of Culture, and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities of Italy, a project of the Italian Foreign Ministry “Vivere all’Italiana” and the Embassy of Italy in Armenia. Institutional partners include AGBU, along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, the Armenian Tourism Agency and the EU Delegation in Armenia.
As an institutional partner, AGBU provided infrastructural support for the implementation of ICAE 2018. “AGBU has always supported cultural, educational and development projects which contribute to the prosperity of Armenia. This initiative is following the same philosophy, creating the link between our history and the future,” explained Anna Gargarian, the cultural and creative programs officer at AGBU Armenia. She also pointed out that the AGBU Gallery displays the works of established contemporary artists as well as major modernists, like French-Armenian Leon Tutundjian, whose surrealist works helped changed the course of modern art. In light of this year’s Francophonie Summit, 50 percent of the works shown at the AGBU Gallery represent Francophone artists.
A comprehensive two-volume catalogue of ICAE2018 has been published by Manfredi Edizioni. The first is volume is dedicated to “Soundlines of Contemporary Art” and the second to “Open Sounds of Contemporary Art.”
For more information about ICAE2018, please visit www.icaearmenia.org.
Established in 1906, AGBU (www.agbu.org) is the world’s largest non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually touching the lives of some 500,000 Armenians around the world.
For more information about AGBU and its worldwide programs, please visit www.agbu.org.