Alina Mnatsakanian

Marks

PROJECT SPACE

June 7 - 21, 2018

Press Release

Alina Mnatsakanian

Statement

Marks

Marks “appeared” in my paintings in 2006, when I first moved from the US to Switzerland. I started putting marks, some sort of a graffiti, on my existing paintings. Once all the old paintings were covered with marks, the “graffiti” became autonomous. Marks are automatic writings, sometimes done in layers. One layer does not cover the previous one completely, in the same way that our new experiences do not erase the old ones, when we move from one place to another, but get accumulated and create our identity.

Marks have a distant influence from another series called Verb-images. Finally, writing, as imagery or to pass a message, is something that I appreciate and use often in my art.

Verb-images

Official/conventional forms, letters of the Armenian alphabet in this case, due to a transformation from verbal to visual mode, evolve into images. 

A status change

Verb-images are part of a series of paintings developed in the 80s. More recently I revisited these paintings using digital techniques.

The formal and conventional form that is writing, through a transformation from verbal to visual mode, takes a pure image value, without reference to recognizable forms. The goal of this research is to use a conventional and well-known form to create abstract visual imagery. Here, writing is a set of elements and forms, a starting point for artistic creation, keeping of course a symbolic notion of the source image.

Sources and expressions of my art

Born in Tehran, daughter of an Armenian mother from Iran and an Armenian father from Georgia, I lived my life surrounded by the ancestral culture. At the age of 20, I left “my” country to study fine arts in Paris. That’s when I started to understand that I had been always a stranger, even in my native Tehran, and even more in Paris, later in Los Angeles and in Neuchâtel.

As a country-less Armenian, questions of IDENTITY and BORDERS were naturally imposed to me. Furthermore, my research on the history of my homeland have provoked in me a revolt against the horrible SOCIAL INJUSTICE that Armenians endured at the beginning of the 20th century.

Hence, the fundamentals: research on identity, the borders and the social injustice appear in my diverse artistic expressions. Started as a painter in Paris, my mediums diversified towards video, robotics, photography and installation to continue to interrogate myself about these issues.

The painting expresses in its superimposed layers of lines an abstraction of an alphabet inspired  by the Armenian alphabet and the multiplicity of the cultures through the multiple layers of these visual writings; the robotics takes my almost innate need of "moving" my sculptures, the photography gives me the possibility of capturing the ephemeral movements of my artistic syntax and the installationfinally, gives me the possibility to create links between these different forms of expression while expressing my ideas.