THE FIVE CONCURRING ARTISTS
This is the essence of magic, which does not create but summons. (Franz Kafka)
We can recall this quotation and rediscover in Ohanjanyan’s work that path of hope toward a Light that nourishes and generates, inclined toward the infinite, that the artist always aspires to and seeks.
Since his childhood, Ohanjanyan tells he grew up with a vision that often keeps happening in which he imagines flying in a timeless and dark dimension, chasing a point of Light at a very high speed, so as to seem still. This speed is apparent to him only by the whistle that occasionally reaches his ears. Each time he surpasses himself, he realizes that the Light is moving further and further away, still beckoning him to perfect his journey.
Reflecting on his experience of Hope, Ohanjanyan would define it in essence as the Movement aimed toward a Threshold or Door which in turn sets into action another Movement and so on endlessly.
The desire and hope of achieving an objective, even without certainties, generates within him an action full of faith and trust, passion to the point of sacrifice, strength and constancy and the curiosity and humility to learn: the only possible means of arrival.
Therefore, Hope is a Threshold, a Source, as in the old German proverb ‘Die Schwelle ist die Quelle’ (The Threshold is the Source), which is also the title chosen for the artist’s work.
Ohanjanyan’s project is also created in contrast with the concept of Hope, which we can feel in much of today’s society is a passive hope, resigned and waiting upon the actions of others, a hope not experienced and perhaps not truly believed.
For the realization of the work, the chosen material is basalt, a volcanic stone, which like all kinds of rock, originates from the transformation of energy and keeps hidden within itself the time of the Universe, like a hermetically sealed book waiting to be opened and read.
The work consists of nine pieces of gray basalt derived from the cut of a single unshaped block, whose surface is crossed by oxidized steel cables that surround it and create deep furrows, as if to seal the integrity of the stone. The ‘closed’ block is cut in two, of which one part remains intact, while the second part is cut in half, then half of that half is cut and again the next half until one gets a total of nine pieces.
All nine elements – starting from the largest piece – are arranged in a spiral
on a pedestal.
The exterior surface of the fragments transversed by segments of oxidized cable suggests to the visitor that all are part of the One, from the same Origin, while the cut sides that have been separated from each other announce the Openings, the Thresholds. On the smooth surfaces, there is the inscription translated into Armenian: “The Threshold is the Source”, as though inviting the visitor on a reflective journey to a reading of the Thresholds-Hopes, infinite, half-closed in the same ‘One’.
The work is dedicated to the artist’s parents.
ItaliaMarco Bagnoli’s broad experience as artist has allowed him to confront a wide range of different ideas and concepts in his work with a consistently poetic approach. He finds inspiration in his knowledge of mathematics, mysticism and philosophy. His deep spirituality makes him an excellent candidate for the Enrico Marinelli Award as well as for the specific context of the Opera del Duomo Museum.
IndiaSakshi Gupta’s work utilizes a great variety of different expressions and media in objects that brings together different traditions, while also maintaining an individualized profile of distance. It expresses a strongly handmade quality as her vision grows organically from a minute particle towards a grander concept and design. This aspect of her work is significant within Hope, the theme of the contest. Her capacity to repeat and move from small gestures to create an arc-en-ciel, may work well within the architectural and museological context of the Opera del Duomo.
CamerunBathélémy Toguo works with a great variety of media as well as with different cultural traditions. We may see influences from Africa as well as inevitable aspects of Western culture, mostly due to colonialism. Toguo is well aware of contemporary issues and is not afraid of confronting what he finds ugly. He refers to the effects of immigration, epidemics, political conflict and personal tragedies, but in doing so he never slumps into despair and maintains a hopeful sense of balance. His social engagement towards Africa, along with his solid bond with the theme of Hope, make him a strong candidate for the Enrico Marinelli Award.
ArmeniaMikayel Ohanjanyan works with the rich history and myths of Armenia, his home country. At first sight, the aesthetic of his work is formal, its balance suspended in what seems to be perfect equilibrium. But this belies an underlying tension, both physical and philosophical. The beauty of his work masks subtle “problematic” elements that may even provoke us. The collision of aesthetic and philosophical ideas within Ohanjanyan’s work, therefore, enters into a fascinating dialogue with the theme of Hope.
ItaliaFrancesco Arena’s metaphysical attitude is his strongest quality and this has made him suitable for the Award. One of his outstanding traits has been an ability to maintain a coherent poetic and artistic language throughout the years. Francesco Arena is one of the most interesting representative of the new generation of Italians’ artists that will be involved in this first edition of the Enrico Marinelli Award.
THE WINNER OF THE AWARD IS MIKAYEL OHANJANYAN