Cafesjian Center for the Arts   »   Exhibitions   »   Embroidered Melodies: A Sonic Journey with Alexis Paul

Sasuntsi Davit Garden Gallery

Embroidered Melodies: A Sonic Journey with Alexis Paul

April 14, 2023 – June 25, 2023
Alexis Paul is a French artist who excels as a musician, composer, and curator. Since 2014, he has been exploring and reviving the street organ tradition through a contemporary approach that merges travel, composition, and various collaborations in the diversity of cultural paradigms. The exhibition, Embroidered Melodies offers a unique opportunity to embark on Alexis Paul's artistic journey. The modern interpretation of Armenian cultural heritage is an essential part of the Cafesjian Center for the Arts' mission, resonated by similar projects. 

Alexis has a wide-ranging interest in sound and music, which he approaches from diverse and multifaceted angles. Over the past eight years, he has worked extensively with various local Armenian cultural phenomena. The artist is committed to revealing unexpected melodic potential in places one wouldn't expect. 

However, in the recent years, as part of his project Disornaments, Alexis Paul has been focused on building bridges between textile and sound, featuring particularly Armenian embroidery and carpets, mainly from Western Armenia. The artist is passionate about uncovering hidden layers in these pieces beyond their applied or aesthetic side. 

Alexis is particularly focused on the ornaments that are an essential part of Armenian embroidery heritage. The artist is captivated by the repetitive patterns of these ornaments and simplifies those by reducing to the dotted lines, spots, and silhouettes. The artist’s intuition results in poetic action, generating sonic experiments.

Alexis utilizes special papers or cards, known as perforated cards, for mechanical musical instruments, including street organs. He transforms their traditional use by replacing musical notation with diverse and repetitive ornaments found in Armenian embroidery. The artist takes a modern approach and conducts unique sound experiments, upgrading the street organ. The machines read the perforated ornaments as sheet music, resulting in the Armenian embroidery "sounding" through the perforated patterns on musical cards. Ghostly ornaments emerge when the patterns are used as sound generators. The exhibition is more about process than outcome. Thus, the artist’s creative process, his action is a part of the exhibition, transforming the gallery into a real live performance scene.

The distinctive embroidery pieces and carpets from Narek Van Ashughatoyan's extensive collection have been a source of inspiration for Alexis Paul. 

The exhibition, Embroidered Melodies: A Sonic Journey with Alexis Paul is a result of collaboration between the Cafesjian Center for the Arts and the Embassy of France / French Institute in Armenia.
On exhibit:
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