Hamlet Hovsepian
Tobacco Warehouse 1 & 2

Born in 1950, Ashnak. Lives in Ashnak.

Hamlet Hovsepian works with film and video, performance art, land-art and abstract expressionist painting. Having lived and worked in Moscow from 1978 to 1980, Hovsepian formed a close relationship with the aesthetic avant-garde of the Russian capital, and held his first exhibition there. However, since returning to Armenia, the work of this solitary artist has been based in and around his native village of Ashnak, not far from Yerevan, which for him forms both an experimental laboratory and a front against society's norms and pacified rules of conduct.
The oppressiveness of normality and everyday actions takes on an anti-humanist severity in Hovsepian's short films Thinker (1975-76), Yawning (1975), Itch (1975), Head (1975) and Untitled (1976), recording the simple actions of their titles. The approach is raw and direct, despite the fact that some of the actions verge on the absurd, or are presented in an exaggerated way. The rhythm and movement of the almost abstract presentation succeeds in revealing the limits of reason and existence, overcoming a seemingly peripheral temporal and geographical context with such vigour that, as the critic Georg Schöllhammer has commented, '[it] places Hovsepian in a genealogy in which the films of the New York underground are also inscribed'.