Cafesjian Center for the Arts   »   Exhibitions   »   Ara Harutyunyan: Monumental Vision

Eagle Gallery

Ara Harutyunyan: Monumental Vision

March 31, 2018 – June 10, 2018
 
Ara Harutyunyan (1928-1999) was one of the most celebrated Armenian monumental sculptors of Soviet era. Today his monumental creations are spread in many post-soviet republics and all over the world. Ara Harutyunyan’s artistic legacy is multilayered: monumental and monumental-decorative works, sculpture portraits, gravestones, dozens of drawings and graphic works.
The exhibition, Ara  Harutyunyan: Monumental Vision implemented in cooperation with Ara Harutyunyan Foundation, though  dedicated  to  the  90th   birthday anniversary of the artist, is not a retrospective show. Artworks from different creative stages are presented revealing the sculptor’s rich artistic language and his central role on the pages of Armenian sculpture art,

The 1950s were a period of formation and wide popularity of the artist. This the time when his so called intimate lyricism was expressed and can be noted in some of his portraits (A Student, 1954, Ida Kar, 1957). By the way, Ida Kar’s portrait was considered to be a turning point, something crucial for the artists himself in the scope of his oeuvre. In this portrait one can already see the monumental perception of the forms; these are the features that will develop further in his artistic career.
The 1960-1970s were the artist’s most active and seminal years. Most of his over forty monumental works were created during this period. 

Parallel to the sculpture and monumental activities he was making drawings and graphic works. However, for him paper and pencil became more than just means for sketches. The dozens of graphic works, including etchings, are part of the artist’s vast legacy from 1970s till late 1990s. The etchings emphasize the fact that these papers and cardboards were not utilitarian.
In Ara Harutyunyan’s artistic legacy, the unconditional connection with classical art and world renowned monumental works is obvious: namely, Greek archaic kouros (Youth, 1962), the reliefs of Persepolis, the monumental constructions of Assyria and Urartu (Khaldi, 1963, Hunt, 1968), the image of St. Sebastian (Victor, 1962). 

Female characters play a specific role in Harutyunyan’s art. No matter, what it is, a sculpture or a graphic work, the artist’s eye catches the delicate features of female face and the dynamics of her body: in the graphical works this attitude becomes even erotic. Nevertheless, even those graceful lines reveal the monumental vision the artist bore in mind. The series of nudes by Ara Harutyunyan is truly remarkable; it looks like the models are not drawn, they are sculpted with rough and broken silhouettes.
In the 1980-1990s Ara Harutyunyan began experimenting with abstract forms. It is hard to name him an abstract artist, but this edge of his oeuvre has not been researched much and needs to be presented on the first place. Even in the abstract creations we can face a monumental vision of the artist and see the uncertainty of the limits for the monumental. 

The main question of the exhibition is how to find the key to the monumental aspects of art, to understand the boundaries of the monumental, if there are any at all. Where does the idea of monumental begin and it ends? Ara Harutyunyan’s artistic legacy proves that those are parameters very hard to define.

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