Symposiums & Round tables

Performance Art and Armenian Contemporary Art Reality

ARé cultural foundation print


Having been common in the art world of the West since the 1960s, performances and performative acts have been developed considerably worldwide during the last decade. Performance art has now become part of the portfolio of many galleries and biennials, which would have never considered it a decade ago.

Anyway, even a slight glance at Armenia’s art history reveals little attention to performance art as a genre. The latter is currently the least developed discipline of contemporary art in Armenia.

The problems that Armenia has encountered in the development of performance art are mainly sociological, educational and economic. The main reason, anyway, is that Armenian society, in general, is still rather conservative regarding issues of the body, nudity, sex, gender or feminism as well as performance artists themselves, who always use their bodies radically as form, content and media. This state of things is also a result of an educational gap as performance art isn’t taught at art institutions till now.

In addition, the art market does not support the collection of documentation or relicts of performance art, as it is still mainly based on painting and sculpture. Even photography and video art still play a minor role in the local art market.

Since the end of the 1980s, a few Armenian artists began to concentrate their art practices on performative acts. Nowadays “ARé” festival has opened a new page in advancing this state of things by presenting performance art as well as theorizing the situation.

In the frame of round table/discussion, we will try to review the state of performance art worldwide and in Armenia by bringing together artists with different backgrounds. Besides presenting issues of the discipline, the symposium will also discuss the recording, presentation and archiving of performance art.

Our aim and hope is, the performance art progresses in Armenia and more and more young artists become interested in this field, getting inspired by their fellow forerunners, but especially follow the developments in the international art world, in which performance art is an important ingredient.