On this day - Jun.15, 1899: avant garde artist and sculptor Yervand Kochar was born
June 15, 2020
On this day in 1899, Yervand Kochar was born. An avant garde artist and sculptor, Kochar was an integral force in the development of 20th century art, founding the Painting in Space art “movement”—in its most literal sense.
Combining painting, graphics, and sculpture, the revolutionary movement shows how a sculpture is not just a sculpture, but a painting in motion. The documentary, “Yervand Kochar's Painting in Space,” directed by Kochar’s son, Ruben Kochar, explains how the artist “expanded the possibilities of visual thinking, introducing motion into frozen forms, blending painting with the plastic of three dimensional (3D) geometric forms and breaking the boundaries of time and space.”
Like many promising Armenian men of his time, such as the writers Gabriel Sundukian and Hovhannes Tumanian, Kochar was educated at the prestigious Nersisian School in Tiflis. Much of his formative artistic years were spent in Paris, where his works were showcased in exhibitions alongside Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Joan Miro. His move to Armenia during WWII was tumultuous—following an imprisonment based on political motives, he was later released due to his Nersesian connections.
He later went on to sculpt one of Armenia’s most iconic statues, “David of Sasun,” which depicts the eponymous hero who drove invaders out of Armenia in the medieval national epic poem, “Daredevils of Sasun.” His prolific career came to an end with his passing in 1979 at the age of 79.
Nearly half a century later, his works have been a recurring presence at major art exhibitions throughout the world, including the Venice Biennale; his “Painting in the Space” sculpture rests at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and one can view many of his sculptures in the Yervand Kochar Museum in Yerevan. In 1999, UNESCO marked Kochar’s centennial as an “outstanding date” in the art world.
Today, we commemorate the birthday of this great artist, whose efforts and brilliance continue to inspire generations to think “outside the space,” including our own graphic below!
To view a short version of the documentary listed above, check out the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNc-NwGP0rU
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Few artists have been able to transcend ethnocultural borders and earn worldwide name recognition: Arshile Gorky is among them. A key founder of abstract expressionist art, Gorky (born Vosdanig Manoug Adoyan) was a prolific painter whose tragic personal life influenced and elevated his art to uncharted heights. A survivor of the Armenian Genocide, he sought safety and peace in the United States, achieving the former but not the latter, tragically taking his own life at the height of his prowess. As contemporary British art critic William Feaver stated, Gorky’s death left the field open for his now more-famous rival, Jackson Pollock. Despite his early departure, Gorky’s artistic legacy lives on today, with many of his paintings and drawings hanging in the world’s most prestigious museums and galleries