Vartan Avakian

Residual Histories

20 September - 10 November 2018

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Kalfayan Galleries present the first solo show in Greece of Lebanese artist Vartan Avakian, titled ‘Residual Histories’.


Vartan Avakian’s work stems from an understanding of data as an inscription. This data exists in sculptural form and is fossilized over time. Consequently, memory is seen as an activity of excavating and deciphering data from traces and remains. In Residual Histories, in drect dialogue with his recent solo show at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Avakian examines printed books as sculptural objects which preserve information. These symbols of history, imbued with the weight of culture and authority, are both unique and reproducible. Avakian devises a series of protocols, procedures, and rituals to extract and bring to light their many hidden layers of incidental inscriptions and markings reminiscent of a palimpsest. Not only does he reveal these layers, but in his installations he separates them from their previous form and converts them into new sculptural fossils.



Short Artist’s Biography

Vartan Avakian is a multidisciplinary artist, working with installation, video and photography. He studied Architecture and Urban Culture at the Universitat Politegravecnica de Catalunya and the CCCB, Barcelona, and Communication Arts at the Lebanese American University. Vartan Avakian is a founding member of “Atfal Ahdath”, a Beirut based art collective. Awards/Grants: Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Beirut, Lebanon (2014); Abraaj Group Art Prize (2013). He has exhibited throughout the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the US. Recent solo show: “All That is Seen and Unseen”, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin. Upcoming group show: ”Light in Wartime”Apexart, New York, USA.  Germany. Selected exhibitions: “That, Around Which The Universe Revolves - Chapter V”, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin; “Theatre of Measurement”, Kunsthaus München; “Thread”, Kalfayan Galleries, Athens (all in 2017); Esma’/Listen (Marcella Lista and Marie Muracciole), Beirut Art Center, Beirut; Project 35: The Last Act, Garage 35, Moscow (all in 2016);“The City in the City”, Sursock Museum, Beirut, Lebanon; “Dust” (group show), Center for Contemporary Art -Ujazdowski Castle (curated by Anna Ptak, in collaboration with Amanda Abi Khalil), Warsaw; VideoWorks, Beirut; " Collapsing Clouds of Gas and Dust” (solo show), Marfa Projects, Beirut; “Collapsing Clouds of Gas and Dust and One Other story” (residency and solo show), Nile Sunset Annex, Cairo, Egypt (all in 2015); ‘InVisible – Public Art Commission’ (curated by Amanda Abi Khalil, produced by 17A Art Consultants/Hetal Pawani). Commissioned and funded by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Dubai; “Whistling in the Dark” (curated by Aischa Berg), Workshop Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon; Film (curated by David Gryn), Art Basel Miami Beach, Kalfayan Galleries (all in 2014); ‘InVisible – Public Art Commission’, Commissioned and funded by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Dubai; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; The Sultan Gallery, Kuwait; Wallach Art Gallery, New York; Transmediale 2K+12, Berlin (all 2012); Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York; Sharjah Biennial X; South London Gallery, London; Can Felipa, Barcelona; Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne; ACVIC, Vic; Cer Modern, Ankara; The Cube, Taipei; Museum Alex Mylona, Athens; Al Hoash, Jerusalem; The Goethe Institut, Cairo; 5th Indonesian International Video Festival, Jakarta; 33rd Cinemed, Montpellier; 2nd Antakya Biennial (all 2011); Home Works V, Beirut; Journées de la Photographie 10, Damascus; Townhouse Gallery, Cairo; Beirut Art Center, Beirut (all 2010); Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo; Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Beirut (all 2009). Avakian is a founding member of "Atfal Ahdath", a Beirut based art collective. He lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon.