Conceptual works :

1989


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"Soumgait"
50*60 cm.
1989
     From the artist's notes:
     This work is made after the pogroms. A note on city of Soumgait from an encyclopedia. A black frame. Paper flowers in memory of those who died. This work is the first, then I did a whole series: on rather larger sheets I inscribed the names of the victims who were Armenian citizens of Azerbaijan.
     The Azerbaijanis later opened a memorial to the victims who died at the hands of the Soviet Army. "January tragedies, January tragedies," they said. They had in mind Soviet tanks and the killed people from Baku, but they don't recall their Armenian fellow-citizens that a few days earlier they threw out windows. Even in our days, the famous singer Muslim Magomaev said that Armenians were happy about these excesses. According to him, it was an opportunity for Armenians to emigrate under the "refugee" status. Hey you, bastard, say for your people at least one word of apology!
     A godforsaken town in couple of days becomes known worldwide... Somewhere I wrote about a broken Shaumian monument in Baku and about renamed square in Yerevan (Sakharov square, former Azizbekov square). National mentality...  
     April, 1989.

     From the Nina Grozova's article:    
     "Soumgait" is the most terrifying of Khatchatrian's works. There is no image as such. On the rough craft paper there is written only the short note from the Soviet Encyclopedia about this small town, absolutely unknown before the tragic events. The alphabet letters similar to cemetery inscriptions and flowers cut out from a cheap greetings postcard influence the viewer more powerfully than many of realistic paintings.

Context:
Here is the translated text of this work.
"Soumgait, town (since 1949), Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan. Rail station. 201,000 inhabitants (1981). Tube-rolling and aluminum plants. Production of synthetic rubber, "SoumChemProd" industrial association. Production of building materials."

Soumgait became known in 1988 after extremely cruel pogroms, when the Azerbaijani citizens tortured, raped, and burned alive their fellow-citizens of Armenian origins. There were 26 (unofficial statistics - 115) dead and hundreds of wounded people. These events were connected with the Nagorny-Karabakh territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Shaumian (Armenian) and Azizbekov (Azerbaijani) were both members of a revolutionary group, also called "the 26 Baku commissars." In 1918 they established the first Commune in Baku but were caught and executed. This story about "martyrs of Revolution" became very popular in the USSR, there were monuments to them in Baku and Yerevan. After the beginning of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan, these monuments were partly destroyed: the Azerbaijanis destroyed the Armenian Shaumian statue and the Armenians did the same with the statue of the Azerbaijani Azizbekov. In both cases the statues of remaining 25 Baku commissaries were not damaged.

"Soviet Classic Writers and ..."
1 sheet out of series.
35*53 см. 1989
     From the artist's notes:
    
Photographs of Soviet classic (official) writers. Below them a photo-like drawing with a genuine office thumbtack. Somebody said: "It looks like a board of Communist Political Bureau members with an obscene inscription below them." I don't know. I didn't think of this. At first I did 2 sheets with the photo-like portraits of Platonov and Shalamov. Seeing these "literary" sheets, Davoyan said that they could be shown to someone well who was a literary critic or literature searcher, I don't remember. I had often seen this name in the thick literary magazines. Well, Davoyan said that it could be shown, but this person has a favorite author, Zabolotsky, a poet. "So, go ahead, draw him," - Davoyan said. I found a photo of Zabolotsky, drew like it on the first two sheets and waited for our meeting with this literary person. As usually happens, the meeting didn't take place. This third sheet was made upon an order, but it enters quite naturally in the series of three works.
 
Context:
Andrei Platonov (1899-1951) and Varlam Shalamov (1907-1982), great Russian prose writers. Both had tragic lives. In their lifetime they were not officially recognized.
1968 1969 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1979 1980
1981 1982 1983 1986 1988 1989 1992 1993 1996