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Gallery One

Leo Leo Vardanyan. Traces

March 04, 2022 – May 29, 2022
The Cafesjian Center for the Arts presents the exhibition, "Leo Leo Vardanyan. Traces" at the Center’s Gallery One, featuring twelve works and one video-art piece from the artist’s recent oeuvre. Leo Leo Vardanyan is an abstractionist artist working with varied techniques and media sometimes applying multimedia approach as well. In his recent oeuvre the artist is examining the relation of varied physical dimensions, gravitations and vibrations of different layers (this is how the artist calls it himself). The artist’s works are sometimes delicate and sometimes bold visualizations of inaccessible, invisible and abstract phenomena. Nevertheless, in the "Traces" series this relation with varied surfaces is taken to another level, where the creation of the image is more free and seemingly uncontrolled; the author’s impact on the process is minimized to an extent that it seems entirely spontaneous.

The artist created special conditions and environment for the "Traces" series, when fire flames and jets swallowed the canvas on the stretcher (the basis of painting) attached to the fiberboard thus leaving abstract images and traces on the latter. Initially created for a video art piece, it has developed into a separate series. In this case, it is the simple square form of the stretcher-canvas that leaves a trace on another surface, disappearing in the flames; that makes the creation process more layered and direct, both technical and conceptual wise. And as one sees any visual artwork as a unique piece according to the physical configurations it bears, it is the same for the fire which never moves the same way. The inborn aspiration to create, invent and construct can be viewed from the Biblical perspective of creation of man in God’s image․So, the control of natural elements puts the artist on the same level with Plato’s Demiurge on a larger scale. Thus, there is no surprise that it has been quite a while that fire has been used as a medium in visual arts, especially in modern and contemporary art.

"Traces" by Leo Leo Vardanyan can have many layers of interpretation, but it is extraordinary how the discourses of creation and destruction collide here without excluding one another. They say it is hard not to stare at fire, as it has some hypnotic effect; can this series work the same way?

With this exhibition the Cafesjian Center for the Arts also launches the project "Tabula Rasa" at the Center’s Gallery One. The aim is to use the clear and blank wall of the gallery in relation to the space of the Interactive Study Center and the library, implementing different exhibitions and experimental projects. "Tabula Rasa" (Latin translation: "blank slate") is a term that derives from Greek Philosophy: in epistemological and psychological context the theory offers that individuals are born without built-in mental content like a blank slate/board, and therefore all knowledge comes from experience or perception. In this perspective, the museum walls are also blank slates in some way, absolutely spotless untill they are filled with new ideas; just like the human mind without any knowledge.

In this context, it is indeed symbolic to start the project with Leo Leo Vardanyan’s "Traces", where a real blank board is literally charged with new layers and meanings.
On exhibit:
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