Opening on the 3rd of December 2011, Lusadaran’s inaugural exhibition ‘Industrial symphony: photography and the post-industrial age’ has finished its run on the 27th of January 2012 at the Armenian Centre of Contemporary Experimental Arts in Yerevan. Comprised of over 70 works by 19 contemporary Armenian photographers, the exhibition presented an overview of how perceptions and ideas about industry and labour have changed and evolved in the post-Soviet landscape through the medium of photography. A small selection of works by a classic of Armenian industrial photography, Hakob Hekekian, gave a retrospective and elucidating historical context to the images created in the last few years. Purposefully varied and expansive, the different trajectories and approaches present in the show, also gave a rare insight into the multifarious state of contemporary Armenian photography.
The exhibition served as an opportunity to present Lusadaran’s first award for contemporary photography. Generously sponsored by the Armenian entrepreneur Vachagan Petrosyan, the main prize, to the value of 200 000 drams (approx. US $530) was presented to the work ‘Corridor. Metsamor nuclear station’ 2011 by Anahit Hayrapetyan. This acquisitive prize is one of the ways that Lusadaran aims to encourage contemporary art photography in Armenia and ensures that it is properly represented in the foundation’s collections. A second, non-acquisitive prize, was kindly initiated by the creator of the www.photo.am site, Art Ghazaryan. Valued at 100 000 drams, the prize was awarded to one of the youngest participants of the exhibition, the 23 year old Irina Grigoryan.
Critic, art historian Vardan Azatyan (Armenia) and film historian Chaga Yuzbachyan (France) presided over the jury. According to Mr Azatyan, the choice of a winner was extremely difficult due to the variety of approaches and general strength of all of the works. The selection of Anahit Hayrapetyan’s photograph was cemented by its dispassionately documentary yet conceptually rich and unexpected treatment of the subject matter. Ms Yuzbachyan also noted that they were impressed by the freshness and originality of Irina Grigoryan’s series ‘Gortsaranayin’, which stood out from the overall exhibition with its lyrical sensibility and vivid imagination.
A catalogue with an extensive essay and entries on all the participants is currently in preparation. The exhibition was also accompanied by a special film program called ‘The Dreaming Machine’ which looked at the theme of industry in cinema as it evolved from Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ (1925) to Duncan Jonse’s ‘Moon’ (2009). The program screened at ‘The Club’ café throughout December and was supported by Yerevan’s longest-running unofficial ‘cinematheque’ Art Film Gallery and its creator, Melik Karapetyan. ‘Industrial Symphony’ was generously sponsored by financial contributions from Vachagan Nazaryan and Hakob Grigoryan (Australia).