Sculpture in Armenia – Asthetic Influences Tools and Materials

16 Oct


memorial tower with spear on top and Armenian swastika

sundial/peacock tail, tree of life and arch symbols of Armenia

Much of the “sculpture” I saw in Armenia was in the form or associated with architecture.

Here are some more pictures from this monumentally huge stairway with fountains and a view.

Tree of life spear and sword cross memorial tower near top of Cascade.

Cascade and Sculpture Park

Fountain at the cascade

Yerevan city Centre National Opera.

Yerevan commercial building with apartments

Manga graffitti?

The pink rose and or gray stone is a volcanic tuff that is cut, carved and sometimes polished on building exteriors.

One of many but perhaps greater in Importance than most - E. Kochar's Mother Armenia which looks out over the Armenian capital City of Yerevan much like Jesus in Rio. This statue stands on a plinth that originally held a statue of Stalin. The plinth still shows the flag of the USSR with star hammer and sickle.

A view from the infamous abandoned railway. That's the back of Mother Armenia and down town Yerevan.

Junk for sculpture located along the abandoned railway.

Sculpture of the kinetic and interactive installation variety.  In this case an indoor  fountain and water feature.  When I moved in  the toilet didn’t work so instead of waiting to have it fixed, I fixed it. DIY baby!

Problems with the hot water diverter from sink to shower/tub were preceded by no hot water for a several days as the gas was not yet turned on.  Not exhausted by the toilet, I set to work on my next sculpture.  The Sink and Shower Connection.

needs an O ring

found an O-ring and a new shower handle and I now had hot showers AND hot water!

Yerevan ZOO

I wanted to go to the zoo.
I could see the zoo’s entrance from the deck where I worked.  It was across a busy divided four lane road.  It taunted me.   It was also site of a sculpture exhibit currated by Eva Khachatryan of the Suburb Cultural Center.  Eva is an influential curator in Yerevan and mentioned that my sculpture might be shown at the zoo.  I wanted togo and see what the zoo was like as venue.   I was introduced to Eva by a new friend Greek documentary filmaker Akaterini Gegisian at an opening for at the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art (NPACK).
The Zoo lay in the bottom of the valley my apartment stood above.  On my treasure hunting walks down the abandoned railway I had noticed a long open hillside that descended from a foot path and seemed to lead very directly in to the “valley of the zoo”.   I asked a man passing by if I could go that way to the zoo.  I used my
best one word and lots of gestures speak.  It worked but we couldn’t understand much of what we tried to say to each other.
He invited me to coffee at his house a few doors down.  Norik the man who invited me to coffee was a taxi driver on his way home from the grocery store.  We had just met as i asked him for directions down an open hillside.  He must have sensed good entertainment from me as well as being a really kind and welcoming person.   He lead me to his family’s home where I was greeted by his wife and her sister, his son in law and his daughter
with their little girl, some cousins and a host of other relatives.   Ashot, Norik’s
son in law, knew some English.  He was an
accountant for a big Russian candy company that also sells cigarettes and other
stuff and said he wanted to get a job as a banker but needed to improve his
English first.  i think he also was very happy and had a good sense of humor!  We had Armenian coffee served by the female members of the family with sugar and grounds in small pretty demitasse cups with saucers, figs,
squares of dark chocolate, sliced watermelon, and sunflower seeds under the
shade of the tin roof covered and cool back patio porch.

When it was time for me go Ashot asked where I had been
trying to go, before coffee.  When I told
him “…to the zoo.”, he offered to drive me there.  I kindly refused adding that because I could
see where it was I thought there must be a shortcut down the hill so one didn’t
have to drive all the way into town and back up the valley in order to get
there.  Ashot asked if I was an Alpinist!  Hahaha – yes I am !   Ashot then said I could go that way – down the hill – but asked if he and Norik could watch as I went.  I said, “sure” they could watch me descend the hillside and I set off after saying my good byes.
Ashot and Norik did watch me go all the way down the hill and stayed
within sight at the top, until I reached the bottom.  Once there I turned and waved to Norik and Ashot and they waved back.  It was not hard going down the hill except for the loose rocks and thorny plants.  I had to cross through a houses yard that from the top looked less private.  Oops!

I then had a short walk to the Yerevan Zoo.

Recycled sculpture at the Yerevan Zoo

Cool plastic water bottle egg sculpture being constructed at the Zoo.

The real animals at the Yerevan Zoo made me question the ethics of zoos as visits to them always do. Isn't there another way to educate our children about animals without subjecting them to our anthropomorphic cruelty.

The Metro

People in the Metro DO NOT want their pictures taken!

Cool Soviet Style Metro

this sculpture is found in the Yerevan Metro (subway)  An unnamed Armenian artist from Soviet times.

St Grigor Lutsovorich

A striking modern church with many features found on old churches but abstracted and amplified.

hero wwI Andranic Ara Shiraz

This sculpture of Andranic the hero and leader of the Armenian resistance to Turkish forces from WWI times.  The sculpture has him riding two horses simultaneously.  I couldn’t find out the symbolic meaning of this.

The oldest sculpture i saw in Armenia.  It is between 3,000 and 4,000 years old.  Many of these pagan stones were used to denote special places with water and memorialize events and construction of buildings.  Some times they lay on their sides some times upright like shown here.  They seemed to have a face of sorts.  Most of the pre-Christian sculptures were destroyed by the early Christians.

Another oldie but newer. 1545.  This is a Katchkar – a cross-stone – this kind of gravestone is what the earlier 4 thousand year old type eventually evolved into with clear Christian influences.  Stone is the wealth of Armenia – it is said.

my parts collection and work area with my hand washed laundry hanging dry

As you can see I have chosen many round things made of steel with a colorful enamel coating as well as galvanized steel and sheet metal.  Tools I used were limited to Power drill with cord,  screwdriver with a broken handle, pliers, tin snips, and leather gloves.

I found this 40 plus year old Soviet technology transformer shed was a particularly special inspiration for its textured rust and blue its inscrutable but symbolically clear warning labels, and tangle of fairly exposed wiring.

Soviet Block apartments

These apartments all have clothes lines out the windows the pipes you see are above ground gas lines.  Also most people in Armenia own their property outright.  They deeds were given to residents when the USSR collapsed.  No Mortgage.

Greek language instructor at the Yerevan State Linguistic University Pavel Bzhikyan and Italian Photographer from London Paula Leonardi

Time for beer – Kilikia a pilsner lager, with a katchapuri pizza like bread salty brined melted cheese and a partly cooked egg on top

Danish Conceptual Artist Christian Bang Jensen at KFC in Yerevan. We had to see if it was the same. It was not.

Me posing next to a stone cutting table being reconstructed in a shop near my apartment.  Thanks for the picture Pedros!

More on sculpture process and exhibit possibilities and some process shots next time.


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