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Visual Arts

RAFFI MUSAKHANYAN – UNCERTAINTY. 2018-2022 /exhibition

From September 1st to 13th, 2022, the Armenian-American painter and sculptor Raffi Musakhanyan’s solo exhibition was held at HayArt Cultural Center, Yerevan, Armenia.
Born in Yerevan but living in Los Angeles for four and a half decades, the artist has become known to the American art-loving public with his numerous exhibitions organized in various US cities. Raffi also gained recognition as a set designer, taking part in famous Hollywood films (Starship Troopers -1997, The Lost World: Jurassic Park -1997, The Blade -1998, Deep Impact -1998, Flintstones Viva Rock Vegas – 2000, The Cell – 2000, Princess Diary – 2001, etc.). The title of the exhibition – “Uncertainty. 2018-2022” – suggests that the show includes works created during a specific period. But the first word in the title is “uncertainty”. That word refers to the feelings and moods we have all been overwhelmed by in recent years. And what kind of Uncertainty are we talking about in Raffi’s case? How does the artist work on the canvas with those feelings and moods? Art critic and exhibition curator Nazareth Karoyan writes: “This uncertainty appears to have been the kind of problem that for a long while had been determining the trajectory of his artistic output. Resorting to means of expression associated with Cubism, Surrealism or Abstract Expressionism, and opting to subject objects and bodies to drastic deformations, appear to be the artist’s endeavor to solve this problem, to overcome that state of uncertainty that had permeated his artworks, independently of his will, unconsciously, as an expression of human emotions. One day, however, the artist, in a moment of revelation and enlightenment, perhaps, begins to understand that it is necessary not to conceal this uncertainty under heterogeneous deformations, not to veil or overcome it, but to turn it into a principle, a subject to work with, to capture with, and to give it a plastically reliable and authentic shape, to petrify the fluctuations, with which he lives, the emotional experience that overwhelms him at a given moment, arresting both its material stimulator and its contemporaneity (that is, the position and the moment), regardless of either the size or the shape or the color or the caliber of that stimulator.”