Mekhitar Garabedian is of Armenian origin, spent his childhood in Syria and studied in Belgium. Coming from this hybrid background, identity forms a key issue in his practice. Whether he explores his own identity
by researching his ancestry, inspired by history and recollections of his past, or whether he interrogates more generally the processes of subject formation, his work always probes the place of the individual in a contemporary world shaped by migration and diaspora. He examines the ruptures caused by migration using diverse media, and examines how the linguistic domain structures our psyche and position in the world. Just as his personal diasporic history is layered, Garabedian’s work echoes with a multiplicity of references to literature, music, philosophy and visual arts. Cinema often forms a frequent reference point in his work. Shown in the exhibition are two text works, Lettre d’Alex, from Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (1991) (2013-2014) and Lettre de Michèle, from Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (1991) (2013-2014). Both are taken from the film Les Amants du Pont-Neuf by Leos Carax. The texts
refer to the amorous relation between the two main characters. These works represent an investigation into the special character and peculiarities of handwriting, where form and content are an expression of the same sentiment, in this case an unrequited love. Un bel été quand même (2014) is the optimistic but bittersweet title of an installation consisting of a publication in the form of a series of copies of a suspended 16 page newspaper. The title is taken from an inter-title of Les Carabiniers, a Jean-Luc Godard movie about the atrocities of war. The newspaper features texts from the film that refer to the futility of war, juxtaposed with images of ancient sites and monuments in Syria.
Le cinéma, ça sert à ça, Exergue (Pour C.B.) (2015) is a new production for the Thessaloniki Biennale, a live performance, which will take place unexpectedly, over time, in the exhibition space. A guitar player walks
through the space as a troubadour and sings two songs over and over again in different moods. The two songs refer to film scenes. Parce que, originally sung by Charles Aznavour, is from a scene in Mauvais Sang
of Leos Carax, and Allo, tu m’entends sung by Guy Béart is from a scene in Jean-Luc Godard’s Weekend, which also evokes a popular version by Dalida. The work is part of a series of works investigating cinema
(as a guide for life), as well as a meditation on desire, nostalgia, longing, and finally existence itself.