April 19, 2007 - Republic of Armenia Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - Sonia Balassanian
April 19, 2007

Sonia Balassanian

Sonia Balassanian</b>, Who Is the Victim?, Stills from a multi-screen, spatial video-installation, 2006/2007, Courtesy of the artist and the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art, NPAK in Armenian acronym, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia

Pavilion of Republic of Armenia at 52nd Venice Biennale-2007 
Sonia Balassanian-Who Is the Victim?

June 10-November 21, 2007

Opening for press and friends: Friday June 8, 2007 13:00-16:00
Palazzo Zenobio, (Collegio Armeno)
Dorsoduro 2596 T: 041 522-8770
Vaporetto No. 82: S. Basilio stop
Vaporetto No. 52: Zattere stop
For directions visit www.accea.info

Artist: Sonia Balassanian 
Curator: Nina Möntmann
Honorary Commissioner: Jean Boghossian

Organized by: The Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art Hosted by: The Mekhitarian Armenian Congregation

War has changed. It has ceased to refer exclusively to war between nations, but involves more complex structures and dislocations. The information content the ubiquitous media images convey concerning specific conflicts is thin, they present an unchanging picture of misery as a universal constant of global crisis.

Memory assumes a central role in the lives of people who experience war and henceforth shift between two extremes, the collective necessity to remember and the individual desire to forget. For those who have experienced war or live in fear of one, or who live with memories of a war they actually took part in and survived, the question who is the victim is never far from the surface in depictions of wars cruelty. But what is involved when a viewer of war images takes an interest in or empathizes with human suffering in far-off conflict zones? Not only those killed by war and their relatives are the victims, but all whom the fear of war afflicts. Compassion is an unstable emotion: Our sympathy proclaims our innocence as well as our impotence (Susan Sontag). In overcoming sympathy, a potential for action is released, a potential to lead-in to critical protest against an economy of global war.

Wars and crisis areas are a constant feature of Sonia Balassanians work. Her concern in her more recent video works are the ramifications of a general war (albeit never referred to as such) being waged against the individual. The images of Balassanians multipart video work Who Is the Victim? for the Pavilion of the Republic of Armenia at the 52nd Venice Biennale tap into this universalized misery and suffering of war.
–Nina Möntmann

Sonia Balassanian (b. 1942) is one of the most influential artists in Armenia, working in the fields of video, performance, photo-collage and writing. She lives in New York and Yerevan.

The Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art is publishing an artists book by Rene Gabri on Sonia Balassanian on the occasion of this project. It is also producing an accompanying Pavilion Catalogue.
Opening hours: Everyday except Monday, 10am 6pm

Press contact: info@accea.info

For more information please visit: www.accea.info

Republic of Armenia Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
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