Karen Aghamyan


Karen Aghamyan is an Armenian-born painter. Professor at Yerevan Academy of Fine Arts since 1994. Since 1998 President of Armenian Artists Union. Aghamyan's works are not traditional - they are reserved, even hermetic. He searches, observes and mediates in different, quite unusual systems of expressiveness and the world becomes the object of his emphasized analytic attention. Aghamyan's compositions speak about symbolism and abstract romanticism, expressed under a new light of emotional experience of space. His paintings objects and people are painted gracefully and coolly.
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Henry Igityan

For many years I've been dealing with children's works and I can say that it is quite seldom that one comes across "mature" intellectual work among them. It is quite evident that person's character is inherent and the works of four - five year old Karen Aghamyan are a good illustration of it. My impression is that he has never been a child and even in his green years had an adult mind, and at the age of nine he was awarded with a Silver Prize named after Dzhavakharlal Neru at the World Exhibition of Children's Works in Delhi....

Karen has carried this serious attitude towards life and earnestness through his childhood and adult life, became a professor, and since 1998 he has been in charge of the Artists Union of Armenia. I am not going to recount here all his regalia and positions he occupies as I consider them quite deserved. Accidental things are rare and here a creative personality has been climbing up the social ladder. This is not a career or political ladder which requires pliability, acting against one's principles and often even betrayal of friends.

In our troublous times few people have this sense of responsibility for one's country and society. Karen Aghamyan has this sense of responsibility and there is nothing false or insincere in it. He can carry his point and he is doing it with dignity. Karen Aghamyan belongs to intelligentsia. Academician Likhatchev was once asked to define this quality of a person and his answer was something like that: a talented actor may play any role, but if he does not  belong to intelligentsia he would not be able to perform it.

Karen Aghamyan's art is highly appreciated. Since childhood and up to our days, he has

Shagen Khachatryan

Equipped with special knowledge and devoted to art, professional artist should intuitively feel how important it is  to follow traditions. He should realize that something new, similar to a young sprig of a huge tree, can only spring from a solid underpinning. This is Karen Aghamyan and his concept of creative thinking. Aghamyan one of those artists who started his artistic career in the last quarter of the previous century having a strong belief in rich and vivifying traditions of his native art.

In Aghamyan's works, this link with tradition can be seen primarily in the balanced, elaborate design of his pictures, the roots of which can be traced to the Armenian architecture with its constructive logic. To stress it and make it more tangible, the artist attempts to create in his canvas a rather nebulous atmosphere. Figures and objects resembling sculpture are accurately placed not only in parallel to the plane, but go inward. Using this technique, Aghamyan seems to open some imaginary window and shows illusory, unreal space somehow resembling space abyss, where each object and figure finds its place being invisibly connected with others and reflected in each other. We can see some philosophical implication here: everything in this world is interconnected, everything is on ongoing motion.

I would like to illustrate this idea with one example. In his picture "Diaspora" in the distant view along full width of the canvas one can see Ararat - an ancient symbol of Armenia. From the sides of the mountain, approaching the viewer and gradually getting bigger, "run down" columns of shadow - figures and in each of them we can see Ararat. The idea of the artist is quite clear: people who had survived genocide were scattered all over the world and in other countries they created their own hearth and home, their small Armenia. At the same time, their energy, zest for life, and their faith were