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Achot Achot was born in Yerevan in 1961 and grew up in Armenia. He now lives in Paris. In his spiritual afactum works photography is not only juxtaposed against and mixed with abstract painting: Achot Achot also reconciles two seemingly diverging views of life with each other and synthesises them. His photographs of young women with their palpable eroticism address as well as dissolve the separation of body and soul that is so inherent in Christian-Occidental history. Yet, in his meditative paintings evoking Far Eastern philosophies such dualism no longer appears to exist. The borderline between ‘The Self and the Known’ becomes irrelevant, the yearning for ‘The Infinite’ being the underlying goal .
Gariné Torossian was born in Beirut, Lebanon to Armenian Lebanese parents. When she was still a child, the Lebanese Civil War broke out and in 1979 her family moved to Canada. She is a filmmaker and visual artist living and working in Paris. Twenty of her films have shown internationally at festivals, universities and galleries. Retrospectives of her work have been featured at Cineprobe at New York's Museum of Modern Art, Cinematheques in Armenia, Lebanon, Canada and Germany, Telluride Film Festival, and Stan Brakhage's First Person Cinema in Colorado. "Stone Time Touch" starring and narrated by Arsinée Khanjian, is a documentary essay which builds a layered and elusive image of Armenian identity. It is an extended meditation on the traces of Armenia as they are lived out in the homeland of imagination, in the real Armenia of today, in the Diaspora, beyond Genocide.
Tina Bastajian is a Los Angeles born film/video artist, curator, and currently a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam. She has exhibited internationally, most recently presenting a survey of her work, Her research primarily focuses on strategies of documentation, preservation and re-presentation of filmic performative works, (Expanded Cinema). She is interested in the afterlives produced: performative, archival, and documentary elements as new connections surface with the passage of time and through the migration of sound and image. Themes of the fragment, translation, the trace and returns are also intrinsic to her own work within experimental, exilic and Diasporan film. Currently she is teaching film history at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, and is developing a locative media project, Coffee Deposits: Siting Maps in Cups.
Silvina Der-Meguerditchian is the granddaughter of Armenian immigrants to Argentina and was born in Buenos Aires in 1967. She grew up in Argentina and now lives in Berlin. A recurrent theme of her work is the remembrance of the ethnic dislocation of the Armenian people and the genocide they suffered. She uses photographic memorabilia and official documents and merges them in her crochet collages into individual painful stories. Silvina Der-Meguerditchian ties a net. She connects the disparate, builds bridges between worlds apart or seeks a dialogue with the unknown. Her work “Connexion Obsession” is emblematic for this artistic fervour. Her main focus is always on the actual process of joining and dissolving, constructing and deconstructing identity. Silvina Der-Meguerditchian’s work represents a type of mnemonics, namely the individual and collective art of commemoration.
Jean Marie Casbarian was born in 1953 to an Armenian father and a German mother on a military weapons testing ground in Aberdeen, Maryland. Her nomadic lifestyle has led her through various lives in the U.S. including Chicago, California, Colorado and her current residence in Massachusetts where she teaches as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Film and Photography program at Hampshire College. Her works are concerned with ideas of memory and time, loss and longing, personal and political mythologies, disconnected family histories and the confusion of cultural identity. Through photography, video, and performance, Jean Marie creates installations that explore the visual narrative, distorting fact with fiction and teasing out the undercurrents of half-truths.
Karine Matsakian was born in Leninakan –Armenia and studied at the Yerevan art and theatre institute. Matsakian describes her art as being “against the Neo patriarchal tendency in our world.” Using advertising images— from magazine cover pages, wallpaper, and other disposal materials—Matsakian questions the lifestyle choices of modern society, and the illusions that the surfaces of modernity present. She lives and works in ArmeniaMy art is a bundle of petty-bourgeois idleness which includes compulsive thoughts and “serious” discussions on art, also standard moral preaches about life and promising and loud manifestoes. It grows monotonously and imperceptibly at the expense of your vanity and your boring pursuit for survival, at the expense of the hysteria of faithful wives and of the propriety relations of the jealous parents. My art is about the wrapper of not fully eaten chocolates, crumpled cigarette boxes, morning coffee rituals and genital hygiene. At the speed of Internet connection it opens up a wide road of overall absorption in front of you; it reserves the tracks to itself the memorial monuments of non-permanent things.
Archi Galentz was born in Moscow in 1971. He comes from an Armenian family with a long history of painters and now lives and works in Berlin. A recurrent theme that is central to his artistic work is the question of Armenian identity, especially in relation to political factors such as the demise of the Soviet Union and the resurgence of Armenian awareness. The search for a paradise lost as the central theme of Archi Galentz’s work was already evident in “The Black Garden” of 1997 in which the aspect and use of colour were, however, key issues – painting as a medium to illustrate the condensation of life and the strategies for survival.
Founded in 2004 by Silvina Der-Meguerditchian, Underconstruction is a communication platform for artists interested in issues of identity, transglobalization and the construction of both personal and groupconsciousness. Underconstruction is also interested in issues of concern to worldwide diasporas, including but not limited to the Armenian diaspora.