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Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, The Keepers, 2015

Sculptural Installation at National Pavilion of Republic of Armenia

56th Venice Biennale, Italy, 2015

The Armenian Pavilion, curated by Adelina Cüberyan Von Fürstenberg, situated on the Island of San Lazzaro, Venice, features a group exhibition titled as Armenity by eighteen diaspora Armenian artists.

As Cüberyan Von Fürstenberg explains in her curatorial text “Armenity derives from the French word Arménité, a notion which expresses the particular characteristics of the grandchildren of Armenian Genocide survivors”. The same text underlines that the concept has developed with the notions of displacement and territory, justice and reconciliation, ethos and resilience. Armenity, a layered and extensive exhibition, which processes and reads historical archives, personal stories, muted voices, cultural heritage, and controversial and suppressive responses, well deserved the Golden Lion for Best National Presentation of the 56th Venice Biennale.

The conversation below was conceived as a journey to the pavilion through the eyes of participating artist Hera Büyüktaşçıyan. The voyage is to an island that metaphorically recalls the vision and longing of the Armenians for their motherland. Throughout this voyage, sometimes a question directs the route, sometimes a reading navigates through the works in the monastery, and sometimes the flow is dictated by the dialogue among the works. Büyüktaşçıyan is a storyteller, who works on historical and cultural narratives mostly based on her Greek Armenian roots. Her practice has been always guided by the idea of ‘water’ as a way, tool and compass to consider the politics of memory and identity.

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