Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris, France
French-Armenian artist Melik Ohanian assumes a politically minded, multidisciplinary approach to art making. Although his various conceptual films, photographs, and installations tackle a broad range of subjects, they generally deal with current events and political communities. Ohanian’s 1997 film White Wall Travelling, for example, focuses on the Liverpool dockworkers' strikes, and the Isle of Surtsey—a relatively new island formed by a volcanic eruption off the coast of Iceland in 1963—is a recurring topic throughout several of the artist’s works. Surtsey is a particularly telling interest of Ohanian’s. Through its sudden appearance, the artist is able to tour themes of nature, evolution, and territorial politics.
Ohanian is careful to characterize his films as documents, as opposed to documentaries. Indeed, the artist considers his work to be artistic gestures, wherein conceptual concerns explore time-space relations, rather than follow straightforward narratives. Seven Minutes Before from 2004 optimizes this strategy: across seven screens, multiple single-shot scenes unfold, depicting disparate people, places, and events—wandering musicians, a car explosion, a moving roadside, and a caged wolf—all from different perspectives.
Ohanian has exhibited at South London Gallery, Performa, the Sharjah Biennal, the Isreal Museum in Jerusalem, Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, and the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, among countless other shows the world over.