Shadows of Time: the photographic art of Gagik Harutyunyan, 1970-1995


Gagik Harutyunyan. Untitled. From the series ‘Gharabagh’, 1992.

Soviet photography remains one of the least known and explored legacies in the history of the medium. Helping to address this lack, ‘Shadows of Time’ presents the first retrospective of Gagik Harutyunyan, one of the major Soviet photographers of 1970d-90s.

Despite an exceptional career that spans three decades, numerous exhibitions and countless reproductions in his native country, Harutyunyan’s work has been largely forgotten today. Partially due to indifference from official and critical establishments in Armenia towards photography, Harutyunyan stopped his practice in early 2000s, destroying most of his vintage prints.

After a long period of silence, the photographer has finally allowed for new prints to be made from his negatives under his direct supervision. Most of these works will be presented to the public for the first time in the exhibition ‘Shadows of Time’, organized collaboratively by ‘Lusadaran’ Armenian Photography Foundation and KulturDialog Armenien Foundation. Approximately 190 photographs have been assembled by curator Vigen Galstyan in what will be the first retrospective of the artist. A catalogue featuring an extensive new study about Harutyunyan will accompany the exhibition

‘Shadows of Time’ highlights Harutyunyan’s creative trajectory from epically inclined view of Armenia in the 1970s to the philosophically imbued and surreal vision that marked the end of his artistic career. Poetically dense and shaped by a rich expressionist aesthetic, Harutyunyan’s work captured a country and its people through a time of profound transformations and turmoil.

The exhibition reveals the breath of Harutyunyan’s oeuvre and his undeniable influence on younger Armenian photographers. It also fundamentally challenges ideas about the history of modern and contemporary Armenian art, from which photography has so far been written out.

‘Shadows of Time’ will take place from October 18 to November 7 at the House of Artists’ Union, Yerevan, Armenia.