Armenia

The Smallest Majority of Artists as the Largest Minority in Venice

The Armenian pavilion is different from the other pavilions first of all because of its low budget organization. It is, however, a pavilion in which a majority of Armenian contemporary artists have exhibited because of the large scale video retrospective in 2001.

From 1995 to 2011 the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art (ACCEA) has been responsible for the organization of the pavilion, as they were the only ones capable of raising the funds necessary for the exhibition. The founders of the center are Armenian diaspora who raised the money from other members of the diaspora. It was only in 2011 that Armenia’s Ministry of Culture took over the organization of the pavilion.

Despite the large amount of Armenian artists having exhibited at the Venice Biennale over the years, the Armenian Pavilion itself was never visible enough within the context of Venice. This is the result of the permanent lack of funds that are necessary to acquire a permanent exhibition space or even a place that would be easy to find in the labyrinth that is Venice. In previous years the connections of Armenian diaspora in Venice made it possible to find exhibition spaces free of charge, such as the Center for Study and Documentation of Armenian Culture at Loggia del Temanza, Mekhitarist Armenian Congregation at St. Lazzaro Island of Venice and Mekhitarist Armenian Congregation at Palazzo Zenobio.

The Venice Biennale seems to have become an important event for Armenia as its Ministry of Culture has taken on the responsibility of organizing the exhibition, even thoughit has to manage with even less funds than in previous years. The pavilion of the diaspora is here to stay, hidden in Venice as its constituency is hidden throughout the world. In between the many pavilions of the overly acknowledged nation states of this world, should the Armenian pavilion not embrace its history of proposing the smallest majority of artists as the largest minority in Venice?

Eva Khachatryan

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Pavilion

Organizer/Commissioner:
Ministry of Culture
Artist:
Ararat Sarkissian
Curator:
Arman Grogoryan
Open Call?
Yes

Curator

Name:
Arman Grogoryan
Gender:
Male
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Ararat Sarkissian
Gender:
Male
Born:
Armenia, 1956
Lives and works in:
Armenia
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Politics & Economics

State System:
Presidential parliamentary republic
Ruling Political Party:
Centre-right liberal, secularist, nationalist New Azerbaijan party
Population (World Bank, 2011):
3,100,236
GDP per capita (World Bank, 2011):
$3,305
Gini Index (Inequality level) (World Bank, 2010):
31.3
World Bank credit:
$512,230,000
Net OECD ODA Aid Received (2011):
$374,010,000
Military Expenditure (SIPRI, 2011):
$387,000,000
Expenditure of Ministry of Culture (2011):
$17,645,251

Alliances


IMF debt
World Bank debt
Non-Aligned Movement
Former Warsaw Pact
WTO

Conflicts

Country independent since:
1991 (from the USSR)
Last Major Border Revision:
Ongoing border disputes
Global Militarization Index (BICC, 2011):
23
Nuclear Force?
No
Ongoing Conflicts and Disputes:
Ongoing dispute with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is currently controlled by Armenian troops. Status: cease-fire since 1994. Ongoing dispute with Turkey on the recognition of the Armenian genocide and the delineation of Turkish-Armenian border. Turkey closed the border in support of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in 1993.
Participation in Multinational Missons:
NATO missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo. UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.