For A Place in the Sun (2015)




A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas (2015)




Circled Earth (2014)

Falling Tight (2014)



Self-Potrait as an Ottoman Woman (2012-2016)


The Suspended Real (Vladikafkaz) (2013)


A Little Bit too Much, A Little Bit too Late (2011-2013)

Who Doesn't Like a Good Old Story?
(2012 - ongoing)

Listening In (2012)


Notes on a conception of a film
(2010)

hi

I was born at the age of six (2011)


Once again fate acted alone...who will rescue me? (2009)

 

 

For a Place in the Sun, Photographic Installation, 10 Collages on paper, Detail, 27 x 45 cm, 2015


For a Place in the Sun


2015 - Photographic Installation - 10 collages on paper - Dimensions Variable
(Produced for the exhibition In Flux, Elefsina, Greece, 2015)

"Gegisian's work For A Place in the Sun (2015) draws on archival images sourced from tourist catalogues, specifically those from EOT (The Hellenic Tourist organisation), from 1972, the last years of the dictatorship in Greece. These images were seminal in constructing the now well-known tourist identity of modern Greece. Due to the time of their production the images have a totalitarian feel wherein the landscape is reduced only to the sun, which stands as a singular representative motif of an entire country. Gegisian plays on this idea of power by imposing her own censorship onto the images, changing their meaning. Black lines used to censor official documents are used here by Gegisian to cover up most of words to reveal the phrase 'Enchantment in our regional old Greece' referencing the construction of an identity based on a mythical, colonial gaze and past glories. These minimal images are complimented by images of the sun setting by the temple of Sounio, an important symbol in the national imagina- tion. The title of the work, For a Place in the Sun also holds a double meaning, in Greek having the possibility to exist under the sun means having the possibility to exist in the future. In this way the work references the past, the present and the future, in an attempt to restore the possibility of hope."

Shoair Malvian, Assistant Curator Photography, Tate Modern, for the exhibition In Flux, Elefsina, Greece, 2015

For A Place in the Sun, Photographic Installation, 10 Collages on paper, Installation Shot, Elefsina Cultural Center, Greece, 2015


For A Place in the Sun, Photographic Installation, 10 Collages on paper, Dimensions Variable, Detail, 2015

 


For a Place in the Sun, Photographic Installation, 10 Collages on paper, Detail, 27 x 45 cm, 2015

 

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A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas (The Sea of Passions, 4), Collage on paper, 28 x 43 cm, 2015


A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas


2015 - 65 collages on paper & 100 copies limited edition artist's book -
Dimensions Variable
(Produced for The National Pavilion of the Republic of Armenia - 56th Venice Biennale, 2015)

A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas is based on photographic albums of Soviet Armenia, Turkey and Greece dating from the 1960s to the early 1980s, collected over a period of 4 years. The albums sometimes acting as documentation of changing landscapes and other times as tourist catalogues function as nation building mechanisms: they narrate through photography an image of each nation. A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas assembles these heterogeneous images produced in diverse geographical, ideological and historical contexts into a series of collages and an artist's book that together construct a new landscape unearthing an invisible topography. The project offers a metaphysical and gendered reading of the nation building forces shaping the original material, a reading that both mimics narratives of cosmic inception (the birth of the nation) and echoes feminine and masculine metaphors (mother Armenia, the father of the nation). Divided into seven chapters that follow the logic of the Seven Seas (an idea used over centuries to describe a diverse set of geographical settings), the guide translates the narrative of genesis not as an evolutionary progression but as a circular and synchronous connection between bodies of water.

These seven seas (of echoes, reflections, passions, departures, actions, waves and images) also reflect on a particular moment in the history of photography, when printed images became a marker of modernity, aiding the development of a visual culture that turned the world into an image to be consumed. A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas is not the enactment of a type of visual archaeology were a series of comparisons unveils the connections between different sets of commodity images, but challenges the documentary value of images of the past through the layering of inappropriate symbolic references.

Following an essayistic logic were various thinking processes coexist, images of different sizes and textures are placed on top of each other creating frames within frames, sometimes building on repetitions and reflections and other times following formal patterns or the movement of people in the image. Similar to the interlinking of the seven seas that forms the new invisible landscape, the images are collaged as if interweaving bodies, inscribed by symbolic forces and multiple codes. Forcing past temporalities and geographies to collapse into a single space the collages bring together images that recognize each other. Communicating and cooperating, images find their perfect match, as if 'everything is in play and in place'.



A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas, Collage series & artist's book, Armenity, National Pavilion of Armenia,
San Lazzaro de li Armeni, 56th Venice Bienalle
, Installation Shot, 2015

 


A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas, Collage series & artist's book, Armenity, National Pavilion of Armenia,
San Lazzaro de li Armeni, 56th Venice Bienalle
, Installation Shot, 2015

 


A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas (The Sea of Passions, 2), Collage on paper, 27.8 x 42.5 cm, 2015



A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas (The Sea of Waves, 1), Collage on paper, 32.5 x 48 cm, 2015


A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas (The Sea of Images, 6), Collage on paper, 29 x 46 cm, 2015

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Circled Earth, 35mm slide projection, Installation shot, Tintype Gallery, London, 2014

Circled Earth

2014 / 35 mm slide projection / 2 min 20 sec

Circled Earth is a 35 mm slide installation projected in the bottom corner of a room and comprised of 20 fragments of images gathered from Soviet and USA photographic albums and magazines. Images of gymnasts, ballerinas and cheerleaders are brought together with airplanes, space shuttles and control rooms, alongside birds, the earth and the moon. The textures and materiality of the existing photographic images are collapsed into the slide projection and are transformed into a transparent light source that formally mimics the pages of the book. Moreover, the position of the project on the floor pushes the viewer away from a conventional viewing position and forces her/him to look down in space. The work mimics a stream of consciousness sensibility and builds a playful layering of associations, from flying with freedom, the virgina with giving birth, to the earth with the female body, and comments on the transformation of the collective into an institutional body.
Circled Earth, 35mm slide projection, 2 mins 20 secs, 2014

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Falling Tight I, Photographic readymade, 29.8 x 42.5 cm unframed, 2014

Falling Tight

2014 / A Series of 12 Photographic readymades
(Dimensions Variable)

Falling Tight is a series of photographic ready-mades gleaned from a heterogeneous body of material, including images of gymnasts and space missions, scientific illustrations of Einstein’s theory of relativity, flower patterns and autoerotic images from both Soviet and Western photo albums and magazines. In the series, the juxtaposition of different found material is expressed not as a traditional layering of fragments but as a type of de-collaging. The series repossesses pre-existing images and explores the cinematic logic of the jump-cut, which becomes a mechanism for reflecting on the constructed nature of representations and for alluding to a surrealist imagination.

Falling Tight sets against each other two nostalgias: the ideological conflicts of the cold war and the past of the photographic image.  This double mirroring is translated as the double movement of the female body, ascending and descending in space and fluctuating between different poles. The diverse photographic images placed side by side connect the female body with a series of spaces (from outer space, to natural world and dream space) and compose a continuous sense of movement that expresses a release and constructs a female experience beyond gender polarities. Moving between lovemaking and fantasy, the work both deconstructs and articulates female sexuality and questions how women are positioned literally and symbolically in the space of the future.



Falling Tight III, Photographic readymade, 44.5 x 61.5 cm unframed, 2014

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Self-Portrait as an Ottoman Woman (Version 1), Archival Postcards, Detail, 2014


Self-Portrait as an Ottoman Woman

2012 - 2016 / Work-in-progress / Archival Postcards
(Dimensions Variable)

Self-Portrait as an Ottoman Woman consists of a collection of popular postcards of women in traditional costumes and national dresses that geographically represents the whole of the post-Ottoman landscape but chronologically references various historical moments and ideological contexts. Rejecting archival classifications based on geographical and chronological taxonomies, the project is rather organised according to the position of the women in front of the static camera: the direction of their gaze, the types of shots and the particularities of posture and hand movements.

In the work the idea of the 'Ottoman woman' is constructed by the 'inappropriate' grouping of heterogeneous material that draw from Ottoman, Orientalist and nationalist perspectives and which reference diverse ethnic and social positions. In this inappropriate grouping the women become part of a new spatial framework organised into strips of movement that echo Muybridge's early photographic studies of motion. Although mimicking the grid like symmetry and sequencing of the motion study, the strips are punctuated by gaps that highlight their own incompleteness and are arranged into panels were overall movement is created not by homogeneous frames but through diverse women representing different visual environments. Unlike the gendered determined func
tion of Muybridge's work and the ideological role of the post- cards, these retrospective motion strips challenge the types of mobility available to women and disrupt the function of both orientalist phantasy and nationalist symbolisation.

With the creation of movement as its central organisational principle, the work formally plays with archival and photographic systems as it claims to produce a self-portrait. Combining representational strategies and addressing a collective body and action, the work complicates the indexical power of the photographic and the category of the Ottoman woman as a potential space for subjective identification. In turning photographic images of popular culture into new potentialities of movement, the project also destabilises technologies of movement. Making the case for an Ottoman woman that reclaims visual space, the work from the position of the female author also reclaims specific visual practices from their own western histories.




Self-Portrait as an Ottoman Woman (Version 1), Archival Postcards, 2014



Self-Portrait as an Ottoman Woman (Version 2), Archival Postcards, 2016

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The Suspended Real (Vladikafkaz),
Collage and photographic installation, 2013, Detail

The Suspended Real (Valdikafkaz)

2013 / Collage and photographic installation / Dimensions variable
(Produced in Vladikfakaz, North Osetia in August 2013)


The Suspended Real (Vladikafkaz)
is the result of archival research in the national library of North Ossetia. While investigating visual metaphors implicit in the construction of local national narratives, I produced a collage installation based on images from Soviet photo albums that are juxtaposed with my own photographs of decorative patterns and street furniture.

The archival images serve as a canvas for going back in time to a medieval visual imaginary and at the same time propel us into the present reality of the public space of the city of Vladikafkaz. The work attempts to describe a sense of unreality through the metaphor of suspension and the use of the ironic, the surreal and the absurd. The process of redecorating the images of the past is a way to domesticate the image and thus reveal a female subjectivity and the possibility of transformation inherent in the 'others' point-of-view
.


The Suspended Real (Vladikafkaz), Installation Shot, Vladikafkaz Fine Arts Museum, 2013

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A Little Bit too Much, A Little Bit too Late (Light), Collage, 32 x 51 cm unframed, 2012

A Little Bit too Much, A Little Bit too Late

2011 -2013 / Collage Series
(Photographic details shot in Armenia between 2010 and 2012)


A Little Bit too Much, A Little Bit too Late is a series of 40 collages. They are based on images of Soviet Armenia collected from commemorating photo albums and tourist guides (dating from the '50s to the '80s) and salvaged from flea markets and second hand bookstores in the capital Yerevan. The collages juxtapose archival images of the countryside and the city, with details of dustbins, lampposts, playgrounds, street signs and gas pipes (photographed by the artist) that furnish the contemporary urban landscape of the city.

As images of Soviet modernity have become, over the past 20 years, another modality in consumer nostalgia and are treated as 'exotic' variations of the modern, the collage works react precisely against this impulse to consume the 'world as image'. Instead, they reflect on the role of visual representations in the construction of historical memory and attempt through the juxtaposition of archival images with current details of the urban environment to visually articulate the process of post-Soviet transition. By bringing together the space constructed by the Soviet propaganda machine, with specific decorative forms that populate it, the collages produce another entry point into these photographic representations (another space) and highlight a series of cultural crossovers. The dustbins and lampposts that decorate the city become in the collages the tools for domesti- cating the image, acting as memorials that commemorate the modern as a distant past, as at the same time are turned into central emblems of a new landscape.



A Little Bit too Much, A Little Bit too Late (Space), Collage, 32 x 51 cm unframed, 2012




A Little Bit too Much, A Little Bit too Late, Collages, 33 x 25 cm each unframed, 2011- 2014




A Little Bit too Much, A Little Bit too Late (Rain), Collages, Variable Dimensions, 2011- 2012




A Little Bit too Much, A Little Bit too Late (Rain), Collage Series, Installation Shot, Kalfayan Galleries Athens, 2012

 

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Who Doesn't Like a Good Old Story (Thessaloniki)?, Diptych, archival postcards and inject prints, 200 x 135 cm framed, 2012

Who Doesn't Like a Good Old Story?

2012 - ongoing / Archival postcards and inkjet prints
(Various locations, between 2012 and 2013)


Who Doesn't Like a Good Old Story? is an ongoing photographic series, which interrogates the structure of the archive and the tradition of documentary and tourist photography. The series constructs alternative 'portraits' of cities in the periphery of urban modernity by juxtaposing different representational systems (for example the geometrical topology and the tourist postcard). These portraits confront the viewer with an 'incomplete' collection of images and an 'inappropriate' juxtaposition of forms, a confrontation that reveals the particularities of peripheral urban projects, highlights processes of transition and change and challenges popular narratives of modernist development.

For example, Who Doesn't Like a Good Old Story (Yerevan)? is a diptych that juxtaposes archival postcards of a manicured Soviet Yerevan of the early 60's, with a geometrical assembly of close-up of gas meters that are doted in the contemporary urban landscape. These gas meters are the products of the new energy infrastructure put in place after the fall of the Soviet Union. The work explores through a purely visually gesture the post-Soviet urban transformation and reflects on the complexity of transitional narratives and the ambiguity of mod- ernist projects.

Who Doesn't Like a Good Old Story (Thessaloniki)? juxtaposes a geometrical assembly of balcony railings in Thessaloniki, with two blown-up archival tourist postcards of arches (the Roman Arch of Galerius and the entrance to the International Fair). The variation and transformation of the metal forms of the balconies visually narrate the story of modernist development in the city, while their close-up framing and symmetrical arrangement infuses a sense of flatness that fences of perspective, creating a barrier. On the other hand, the scale of the arched forms contradicts the enclosure of the balconies, inviting the viewer to wonder into the space of the city. The relation between the private space of the balcony as enclosure and the public space of the city as trophy challenges the transitional nationalist narra- tive of the city and questions the successfulness of its modernist project.


Who Doesn't Like a Good Old Story (Thessaloniki)?, Installation Shot, Centre of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, 2012

 


Who Doesn't Like a Good Old Story (Yerevan)?,
Diptych, archival postcards and inject prints, 200 x 110 cm framed, Installation Shot, Kalfayan Galleries Athens, 2012

 

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Listening In
, Photographic Triptych, 65 x 44 cm each unframed, 2012

Listening In

2012 - Photographic Triptych - 65 x 44 cm each unframed
(Photographed in Armenia in 2011)

Listening In is part of a larger body of work that explores the post-Soviet transformation of the urban landscape in Yerevan, Armenia. Focussing on details of the infrastructure in the interior of buildings, the photographic triptych looks at the solemnity of the old and the dysfunctional, while the title alludes to the sound of the electrical hiss.


Listening In, Photographic Triptych, 65 x 44 cm each unframed, Installation Shot, Kalfayan Galleries, Athens, 2012


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Notes on a conception of a film, Installation Shot, Elefsina Cultural Center, Greece, 2010

Notes on a conception of a film

2010 – 190 b&w & colour photographs with drawing and text
(Various locations, between 2004 and 2010)


Notes on a conception of a film is a photographic installation that derives from a personal archive of snapshots collected in Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Belgium, UK, Germany, France, Holland, Spain, Mauritius, Canada and USA. The photographed spaces are presented with no identification as to the specific locations they were taken or any chronology. The combination of text and drawing infuse the photographs with emotional and psychological allusions.

Referencing both the filmic frame and a story- board and blending narrative and documentary, the notes explore narrative moments and attempt to construct the landscape of a personal geography. The hand-tinted process brings to mind the childlike activity of colouring books, as an attempt to make sense of space, colour, architecture and perspective, but can ultimately be read as the artist's attempt to question representation and to situate the photographed spaces in one's personal imagery.


Notes on a conception of a film, Installation Shot, Elefsina Cultural Center, Greece, 2010


Notes on a conception of a film, 190 b&w photographs with drawing and text, 10 x 15 cm each, 2007-2010

 

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I was born at the age of six, 6 b&w photographs with drawing and text, 10 x 15 cm each, 2011

I was born at the age of six

2011 - 6 b&w photographs with drawing and text - 14 x 10 cm each unframed
(Photographed in Yerevan, Armenian in 2011)

I was born at the age of six is a photographic work consisting of 6 b&w photographs with drawing and text. The basis of the work is a series of recent photographs of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. These images already holding the tension of a transitory post-Soviet reality are superimposed with dialogues from two Soviet Armenian films of the '60' and '70s.

The films - Barev, yes em (1966) and Chronicle of Yerevan days (1974) both directed by Frunze Dolvatyan - are examples of cultural texts of the period that mark a shift in the representation of the national and urban reality, introducing allusions to the Armenian Genocide and questioning the Soviet Utopia. The work starting with the phrase 'I was born at the age of six' (a line of the female protagonist in Chronicle of Yerevan days that become an orphan at the age of six) initiates a narrative that weaves together fragments, exposing tensions while capturing a moment of emotional fragility.


I was born at the age of six, 6 b&w photographs with drawing and text, 10 x 15 cm each, 2011

 

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Once again fate acted alone ... who will rescue me?, 3 Blow-up polaroids, 140 x 85 cm each, 2009

Once again fate acted alone...who will rescue me?

2009 – Photographic Installation - 3 Blow-up polaroids - 140 x 85 cm each

Once again fate had acted alone … who will rescue me? is a site specific photographic work, installed in an former Gallini Hotel in Kerameikos area of Athens, as part of ReMap 1. Balancing between the ephemerality of holiday snapshots and a scale that memorialises the image, the work questions the ways space is constructed and consumed. Playing with the tension between the visual and literal possibilities of meaning, the project presents a series of ambiguous images that attempt to inscribe the viewer in space.


Once again fate acted alone ... who will rescue me?,3 Blow-up polaroids, 140 x 85 cm each, 2009

 

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