Cafesjian Center for the Arts   »   Exhibitions   »   Exiles and Dreamers

Eagle Gallery

Exiles and Dreamers

November 29, 2019 – March 01, 2020
The Cafesjian Center for the Arts (CCA) has always paid special attention to private collections and we are pleased to present the fourth exhibition in the Yerevan Collectors’ Choice series. For an institution founded by a private collector, the Cafesjian Center for the Arts has always focused on presenting art not generally accessible to a wider public. However, Exiles and Dreamers: Panorama of 20th Century Graphic Arts from the Armenian Diaspora unveils not only a hidden treasury of graphic art, but also uncovers a constellation of Armenian artists from the Diaspora who are unknown even in local professional circles.  Most of them have never been exhibited in Armenia before.

This exhibition features a small part of a much larger collection of art and design assembled by Vigen Galstyan since the mid 1990s. As an art historian (PhD) specializing in photography, film and Armenian art of the modern and contemporary era, Galstyan sees the collection as an extension of his scholarly practices. Having acquired his first artwork at the age of thirteen, his aim is to use collecting as a way of questioning parochial institutional narratives, which still dominate perceptions of modern Armenian visual culture today. 

Including nearly every form of graphic arts, the show brings together fifty-seven works created by forty-four Armenian artists working in the major centers of The Diaspora. We are thus able to loosely trace modern arts’ development throughout the past century from the perspectives of these diasporan-Armenians. It is also an occasion to think of how these creative practices complicate ideas of ‘Armenian’ art, which was being formulated in Eastern-Armenian centers between the 1900s and 1990s. 

Divided into five sections, the exposition looks at how these artists defined Identity, Place, Body, The Imaginary and the Abstract in works that span the wider aesthetic program of modern art. The connections and disconnections between these artworks form patterns that point to a basic truth: the fact that evaluations of Armenian cultural modernity must move beyond the Eastern-Armenian context by interpolating the presence and impact of its shadowy twin – the ever-mutating Diaspora.
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