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Atlantis '11

Arrieregarde - Archi Galentz Searches for 21st Century Aesthetics

"Atlantis 11" at the Venice Biennale 2011

Archi Galentz' participation at "Atlantis 11“ during the Venice Biennale 2011

(scroll down for detailed information and the statement).

Seven partners from Armenia (ACSL), Bulgaria (Art Today Asossiation), Germany (Henrich Boll Stiftung Brandenburg), Germany (Rohkunstbau Marqguardt ), Georgia (GeoAIR), Moldova (K:SAK), Slovakia (SPACE Gallery) connected in the Atlantis network through transnational cultural exchanges and cooperation in the field of contemporary art.
Following the opening days of the 54th International Art Exhibition in Venice the network will present its work with the exhibition “Atlantis 11” as a part of the project HEICO - Heritage, Identity and Communication in European Contemporary Art Practices. The project promotes the cultural reflection of identity of the partner countries and their cultural and political heritage.

The opening reception will take place on 1st June at 19:00 in Palazzo Zenobio, the former Moorat-Raphael College, Dorsoduro 2596, Fondamenta del Soccorso, Venice.

From 01 to 05 June the exhibition “Atlantis 11” will present various works and activities from public intervention and video installations to live performances and panel discussions, the (issue/matter/question) of power and contemporary art will be scrutinized. The exhibition is opened daily from 10 to 18 o’clock.
On 02 and 03 June there will be panel discussions with international participants at 19 o’clock.


June 1 2011, 7 p.m.: Exhibition opening
Introduction of the HEICO-project and its partners
Presentation of “Missing Link” with Adel Idris and Denis Bartev (K:SAK, Moldova)

June 2 2011, 7 p.m.: Panel discussion “Good Governance? Bad Curating!”
Svetlana Kuyumdhzieva, Bulgaria, curator and initiator of
Ruben Arevshatyan, Armenia, cultural critic, co-curator of Armenian pavilion
Adrienne Goehler, curator, Germany
Bogdan Ghiu, Romania, philosopher
Yvona Ferencova, Czech Republic

June 3 2011, 7 p.m.: Panel discussion “Geographies of Imagination”
Defne Ayas, USA, co-curator of the Blind Dates Project
David Quadro, Italy/ Switzerland, curator and director of ArtHub, Hong Kong, China
Philippine Hoegen, Netherlands, curator und co-operator at St.Joost Academy in Den Bosch, Netherlands
Archi Galentz, Armenia - Germany, artist, founder of the “Interior DAsein” in Wedding-Berlin

June 5 2011, 4 p.m.: “How to colonize a nation in 19 steps!”, Performative interaction with Karen Hakobyan and Harout Simonyan, USA-Armenia (ACSL, Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory, Armenia)

This Project has been funded with support from the European Comission


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The project “Black Garden”… is part of ACSL, Armenia presentation - Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory ( in the frame of ATLANTIS’11 network and HEICO -Heritage, Identity and Communication in European Contemporary Art Practices project which has been funded by European Commission.

“Black Gardens” reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

The project will be represented during the 54th Biennial of Contemporary Art in Venice at the Sala Giochi – Collegio Armeno ‘Moorat Raphael’ (Dorsudoro, 2597 Venice), June 1- 5.


Statement Sketch for Venice Biennial 2011




“Black Garden” nine litho-monotypes on paper on canvas. 1997.

The process of transformation of the national identity into a cultural identity and the rise of awareness as a political subject are of central importance to the artistic work of Archi Galentz. As a multicultural representative of margins (Moscow-born Armenian), who got his artistic education in Berlin, he is an active networker and seeker for fresh and unconsumed aesthetics, being aware of tradition. Living in Germany, Russia, and Armenia he is aware of his constant role as a person in charge and uses the strategy of eschewing the expected illustration work of "Big Discourses" that mostly treat concrete post-Soviet geography and history in terms of unrealized utopia.

The “Map prints” is a series of multilayer handprints deriving from the same litho stone showing an old map - a small place near Berlin in 1887. This date refers to the time of the Berlin Congress after the Russian-Turkish war and can be seen as the starting point of the Armenian genocide. Nearly 60 monotype prints are implemented in different series. "Lost Paradise" uses paint made of the homeland soil, the “Geschichtschreibung” series uses the moiré effect of a two-layer print on folio and paper that gives the viewer the feeling of three-dimensionality and (symbolic) depth. The 1996 “Byzantium” series uses the effect of reversed see-through folios over a paper print that brings out heraldic doubled-headed eagle-like forms. This weapon of arms-like series puts the viewer in front of a question of authority manifestations and discourse legitimations. “Thirty Years War” (1997) discovers parallelism in history comparing the European robbery wars of 1618-1648 concluding the Renaissance period with the rise of nationalism and hunger for solutions through violence immediately after the collapse of the State that was declaring brotherhood and internationalism.

The last series of “Map prints” - “The Black Garden” represents a change from brown-black on one edge of a square object to the yellow-green of the opposite side and refers to the Berg-Karabach war confrontation maps, that was widely drawn in mass media in the beginning of 90ies. One of the bloodiest war conflicts of the post-Soviet period once started as a democratic movement for the right of self-determination turned into a fight for strategic territories causing ethnical cleanings. The value of colors as a prime medium to separate an entity in visual language, the confidence of a painting as a medium to illustrate the condensation of life, and the strategies for survival, as well as the consciousness of being a "Zeit-zeuger" and the awareness of an abstract sign always referring to an ideology are the inspiration points of the “Black Garden” series. The process of hand printing as a heavy work, the subtle surface of the artwork and the individuality of each object in contradiction with force and violence as subject matters all appeal to map-printing as another u-topian context of artistic manifestation - "loving conflict" as the only possible way of rational and responsible communication.

Viewers do realize that they are facing a concrete map, moreover, not a hand-printed, but an industrial-printed map with fine numbers, writings, lake outskirts, roads lines, and other elements. Each map looks like a serious sign. Simultaneously, it is impossible to realize when and where these maps are from - something between intellectual traps and working units. The inner destruction through chosen colors and layering works against any feeling of harmonic landscapes. They rather refer to battle maps important to making changes visible, and compel the viewer after experienced metaphorical drift to look for some further explanations.