VARUJAN BOGHOSIAN, MASTER BRICOLEUR -
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exhibit from January 19 through March 4, 2017
to see the text in French and image click on the link below:
Born 1926 in New Britain, Connecticut, U.S.A.
An exemplar of the art of bricolage for the past six decades, I am pleased to present the work of Varujan Boghosian. The term coined by Claude Levi-Strauss in The Savage Mind (1962), exists in French with no English equivalent, and describes a high level of sophistication utilizing primitive materials and mythical thought.
As a practitioner of the modernist tradition of paste-ups in the wake of John Heartfield and Max Ernst, Varujan Boghosian speaks not only with things, but through the medium of found objects.
Boghosian was invited in 1956-1959 by Josef Albers to attend Yale University along with Irving Petlin. In 1966 he was an artist in residence at the American Academy in Rome with Philip Guston.
Boghosian showed with the legendary Stable Gallery, consistently between 1963 and 1966. The gallery showcased young emerging artists including, Joseph Cornell, Alex Katz, Joan Mitchell, Isamu Noguchi, Cy Tombly, Robert Rauschenberg and Larry Rivers as well as Andy Warhol’s first one-man show. The unorthodox and experimental spirit of this time has remained with Boghosian and informed his developing relationship with the appropriation of everyday objects and their subsequent plastic manipulations.
Boghosian adds something new to collage: erasure. Working with found photographs and drawings in an additive process that also involves used and unused paper, he sands away part of the image in a found photograph or a drawing. In the photographs, it is as if time has intervened, making a remote moment even more distant, like a lover whose face you cannot remember, much less describe to someone else. By using sandpaper to erase part of the image, he is accelerating the action of time as an agent of constant and irrevocable abrasion. Boghosian’s art draws inspiration from a variety of sources including literature, art, history and music. Allusions to myth and poetry pervade his work. Explorations of the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice, for instance, have been a central and continuous theme throughout his career.
Building upon the traditions of Surrealism and Dada Boghosian’s assemblages and collages playfully contemplate the boundaries between dream and reality. The images and objects that he utilizes often bear the mark of time and his creations frequently juxtapose groups of seemingly unrelated objects together.
Boghosian’s work began to be included in the thematic exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago as early as 1954. He has been an active member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters for the past 30 years.
The abyss is on the other side of us as we go through our day, but, as Boghosian also makes gently and comically apparent, it is also our destination, and we are headed downhill to get there.
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