29 Februar, 2016 - 30 März, 2016
Club 11, Yerevan, Armenia
Curator: Nazareth Karoyan

The subject of Grigor Khachatryan's project is the social revolt against the electricity price hike that took place last summer. Incorporating the photo and video footage of the events, the gestures adopted by the protesters, as well as the written and oral speech acts, he explores the problem of the relationship between the sit-in participants who blocked Baghramyan Avenue for several weeks and the police.

The interrelated theme of power and love in general is central in Grigor Khachatryan's oeuvre. Working in performance and turning his own persona into material the artist constructs a parodic figure vested with absolute power. In this project Grigor Khachatryan does two things for the first time and simultaneously. Firstly, he departs from the performance format that was dominant in his artistic practice and builds his project on research. Secondly, he takes off the jester’s happy clothes to put on the rigorous robe of the one who looks into the sources of the power’s legitimacy.

The fragile barricade built with garbage bins has blocked the Baghramyan Street. On the one side there are the police of the authorities lacking legitimacy who can use force within the scope of its functions prescribed by law, on the other side there are the angry citizens that do not have any other option than to violate the social norms. To insist on their righteous demand they turn to the various means they have in their armory – from demonstrative love to the gestures and slogans with hints and messages of sexual nature.

For the artist the problematic is that division. With his project he as if raises a question: can love, as speech and action, become a form of public resistance and struggle against the police violence? He derives the possible answer to this hypothetical question from the scenes of the dispersion of the sit-in accompanied by love hits of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Shrouding the icy water jet fired from the water cannon with the repetitive rhythms of wistful songs Grigor Khachatryan as if comes to push the viewer deep into sad reflections: how powerless the authorities must be to oppose the citizen who elects them with such rude and harsh methods, or how hopeless that ordinary protester must be to rely on the potency of the gesture conveying the threat of sexual violence – the raised middle finger.

The saying of the artist which is included in the installation points that binary opposition and the way to overcome the crisis:


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