Tsolak Topchyan | Universal Pink
October 26 - December 9, 2023
New York, 2023 — Atamian Hovsepian Curatorial Practice is pleased to present a solo exhibition featuring recent works by Berlin-based artist Tsolak Topchyan. Topchyan was born in Gyumri, a city rich in history. He grew up during an uninterrupted succession of disasters, including the 1988 earthquake, the collapse of the U.S.S.R, and the wars for Artsakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In 2011 Topchyan left Armenia, joining the ever-expanding Armenian Diaspora and lived in several countries, including South Korea, Belarus and Brazil.
Topchyan's work is immersive in every sense, for both the artist and observer. The loose-hanging cotton fabric, suspended from the ceiling, can be seen from all sides. The two sides of the artwork, with pink embroidered dots scattered across the canvas like stars in the sky, mirror each other (Pink Dots, 2023). Yet, what is seen on one side of the artwork remains concealed on the other, highlighting the paradoxical relationship between the visible and the invisible. On another canvas, by repeatedly piercing the fabric, Topchyan merges the fibers together, forming grids and circuits, thus establishing a radical artistic movement that has no beginning or end (Pink Running Stitch, 2023). The interplay of patterns created can be interpreted as mapping conflicts. The loose ends imply that the conflicts may last forever or, conversely, that someone may find a way to tie them together by finding a solution to the conflict at hand. These dualities reflect the complex elements of everyday life: outsider and insider; diasporan and native; neighbor and enemy; perpetrator and victim. They form a Hegelian dialectic, whereby conflict–both real and artistic–can lead through sublimation to a peaceful Weltgeist or universal spirit.
The pieces in the exhibition argue for peaceful coexistence and for embracing difference. The repetitive nature of the work, whether it involves counting the stitches or drawing fine lines and intricate shapes, creates time and space for contemplation. In the process, Topchyan asserts that art can be both healing and ultimately redemptive. The softly colored pink paper balls (Pink Spheres, 2023)–amalgams created by repeatedly crumpling paper–can be seen as artistic doppelgangers for the conflicts encountered in everyday life.