Haig Aivazian lives and works in Beirut, LB
On a dark night, illuminated only by stars, a cartoon owl is perched on the branch of an old tree in a graveyard. Its eyes, open wide, scan left and right, then blink at shutter speed. Underneath, two bony hands emerge from the dirt, latch onto a tombstone, and pull the rest of the skeleton up to the surface. The skeleton sits atop the tombstone like a gargoyle and stares me dead in the eye. Suddenly it pounces, the darkness of its open jaw swallowing me up. As I pass through its cranium, down its open throat, and through its ribcage, long shadows pass over me like a conveyor belt. Now I am a car driving during a blackout. My headlights animate the city, the shadows of its extinguished streetlights dancing on the facades of dilapidated buildings. The city is a processor, organizing the flow of all things living and dead. Pulsating light brings objects to life; everything is in motion. The architecture is smooth, liquid, smart. The city is also a grinding halt, screeching brakes, and burnt tires. It is smashed windows and broken teeth, lockups and lights out. The relationship between artificial light, motion capture, and crowd control is, like so much hard science, phantasmagoria amok. This is a film about the alchemy of light and the rhythms of things made to flow. Here, ghosts chase cops out of town, and labor and leisure shadow one another in elaborate labyrinthine infrastructures.
Soft Water Hard Stone, 2022, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City (US)
All of the Lights, 2020, The Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Chicago (US) (solo)
Rome Is Not in Rome, 2019, Collection SFMOMA, San Francisco (US) (solo)
La Biennale de Montréal: Le Grand Balcon, 2016, Montreal (CA)
56th Venice Biennale: All the World’s Futures, 2015, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice (IT)