Conceptual works :

1969


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Damansky.
42*42 cm
1969
     From notes:
     It is my first work made entirely from the “text in a pure state”. There was a painted text, a text with other texts, a text with photos etc. It was 1969, right after Damansky conflict. I’m very proud of this work. Those I saw today have appeared much later. Why the pure text? Because the information is too powerful. Nothing else was necessary for increasing the heat of tragedy.
     My newspaper works are like radio, or an off-screen voice, or a TV set without image. On radio, music is sometimes running besides the text, sometimes they put different noises. I use paints, joinings of different texts etc. But it happens that nothing more is necessary. Here’s the most seductive moment, a limit line. Where does the artist end? For THIS work nothing complementary was necessary. Certainly, I could draw clumsily, hastening, doing an imitation of reporting from the place of events. It was possible to make it as an epic, "Damansky Panorama".
     I mean that as an artist I knew lot of ways to embody this event with the help of my craftmansip, so to say, with drawing. But it seems to me that text pictures opened up new opportunities for the artist. Words or text for me as for an artist have more value than drawing or color. In army, I was under the ground during almost 18 months and had the opportunity to listen secretly, in headphones, to different "enemy voices" from abroad. Everything to which I prayed as an artist moved backward. Only words stayed.
     In 1964, I was exempted from duty for some days in order to have time for drawing a picture. There were competitions of army amateur artists. It took place first in the city, then in district, a countrywide review of talents. There were singers, reciters, dancers, choruses, but the grand prize was never awarded to them because in that case they would have had to be sent to Moscow and it was too expensive. So, in this company painters also participated. Well, “painters” is a big word. Anyone who slightly could draw offered his services in hope for week duty exemption.
     It was at this time that I drew on a canvas a close-up of a young man's head. After the "competition" it was abandoned in the yard near the radio box. I picked it up and one day I tore up a book of the West-Armenian poet Siamanto and pasted over with these pages a canvas around the drawn head. It was possible both to look at the picture and to read the text. Since this day the text as such became level with paint. Sometimes more, sometimes less I used paint, but did never deny the text. Then I was 23, Kosuth was 4 years younger.
Context:
The article is entitled “Motherland, Your Borders are Sacred!”.
Damansky Island is an uninhabited stretch of land on the Ussuri River. Between March and September of 1969, there were a series of violent border clashes that threatened to spark widespread war. The information that the Soviet Union, beside boundary troops, has also involved the regular army, was kept secret. According to post-Soviet sources, the two battles for Damansky Island resulted in a total of 58 persons lost, 94 persons wounded and more than 200 Chinese deaths.
In 1991, under the agreement between the USSR and Chinese People's Republic on the Soviet-Chinese border, Damansky (Zhen Bao) Island was peacefully given to China.


 

Untitled.
1969, completed in 1981.
  Context:
An article in an Armenian newspaper of March 10, 1953. On the photo: a memorial service at the base of a monument to Joseph Stalin in Yerevan. It is completed with a photo from 1980 - a monument "Motherland" on the same pedestal.

Student work.
1969

 

1968 1969 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1979 1980
1981 1982 1983 1986 1988 1989 1992 1993 1996