Indepth Arts News: |
"Mélik Ohanian: You're mY destinY"
2003-03-27 until 2003-05-04
Atlanta College of Art, Woodruff Arts Center
USA United States of America
Atlanta College of Art Gallery is pleased to present Mélik Ohanian: You're
mY destinY, a multimedia installation project predicated on the
entanglements of fate and identity. A young French-Armenian artist, Mélik
Ohanian (b. 1969) is a leading member of the "new generation" of artists
working in France, an echelon distinguished by the diversity, conceptual
orientation, technological and theoretical savvy of its participants.
Conceptually sophisticated and philosophically interrogative, Ohanian's
installations — which combine film, sculptural elements, sound and text —
are also characteristically sensual and aesthetically oriented.
Ohanian's oeuvre includes Island of an Island, a project on chance and
encounter. While searching the internet for virgin territory, seeking places
without national or cultural identity, Ohanian stumbled on the island of
Surtsey, near Iceland, produced in 1963 by volcanic activity and given by
consensus to the international scientific community for purposes of study.
Ohanian combined research, travel, film and ingenious design into a stunning
multi-media installation on questions of place and the origins of identity.
Island of an Island premiered for the opening of the long-anticipated
contemporary exhibition venue, Palais de Tokyo, in Paris, in 2001.
You're mY destinY
An Atlanta College of Art Gallery commission, Ohanian's You're mY destinY is
based on the recent and accidental discovery of his homonym living in New
York City. Led to this connection through a search for his Armenian roots,
Ohanian re-imagines the Armenian exile (after the genocide of 1915) and
uncovers its resonance in terms that are personal to the artist as well as
historically and philosophically speculative.
You're mY destinY is predicated on family lore, on the story of the artist's
Armenian grandfathers, orphaned as children, forced arbitrarily onto 1 of 3
boats headed to different destinations — New York, Marseille and Buenos
Aires — and different destinies. Ohanian's grandfathers arrived in Marseille
during the 1920s and his family has since lived in France. In terms of
legend, his destiny — as migration turned into exile — could just as easily
have unfolded in New York or Buenos Aires. This is where the project begins
— with three options, mapped by the "Y" in the exhibition title. Ohanian has
found "Melik Ohanian" in New York (MO-NYC), and seeks another double in
Buenos Aires. He plans to collaborate with MO-NYC to imagine their third
counterpart as a fictional character, and to recreate elements of their
lives — the qualities endowed by fate — for a final installation.
The project, which the artist says will develop "like an investigation; an
artistic investigation," involves Ohanian's meeting with MO-NYC and the
documentation of their evolving connection and shared imagination. For the
project, Ohanian will also visit Armenian communities in Buenos-Aires and
Chicago. The installation at ACA Gallery will include video, sculpture,
sound and text components.
Curated by Dr. Lisa Fischman, Director, ACA Gallery, You're mY destinY at
Atlanta College of Art Gallery marks the first solo presentation of Mélik
Ohanian's work in the United States. Ohanian will be in residence at ACA
prior to the opening of the exhibition, and will offer a public lecture on
his work as part of the evening's events.
Mélik Ohanian has presented solo exhibitions at Galerie Novuona (Rome), Art
Unlimited (Basel, Switzerland) and Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France), and has
participated in group exhibitions throughout Europe (Musée d'art moderne de
la ville de Paris; Foundation Cartier, Paris; Musée d'art contemporain de
Lyon; Secession, Vienna; and the 2nd Montenegro Biennial, Cetinjé) and in
the US (at SF MoMA). The recipient of several grants in support of his work
from the French Government, Ohanian has frequently collaborated with older
French artists - most notably Pierre Huyghe. In 2003, he participates in No
Ghost Just a Shell, an exhibition staged by the Kunsthalle Zurich featuring
innovative new-media projects about AnnLee, a manga character to whom
Philippe Parreno and Pierre Huyghe purchased rights in 1999. Ohanian's work
has been reviewed in many European and internationally distributed
publications, including ArtForum, Art Press, Art Actual, Beaux Arts
magazine, Flash Art International, Le Journal des Arts and Le Monde.
Ohanian, who lives and works in Paris, is represented by Galerie Chantal