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