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 Gayane Khachaturian  (1942 - 2009)

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Lived/Active: Georgia / Georgia      Known for: classical, magical realism painting

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Gayaneh Levonovna Khachatrian is primarily known as Gayane Khachaturian

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Ad Code: 4
Gayane Khachaturian Urban distaff
"Urban Distaff" 50x70cm oil on canvas 2004
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Gayane Khachaturian, also Gayane Levon Khachatryan (1942-2009)

"I was born in a house where  the spirit of the oscillating spinning wheel of life and death dwelt; for the first time I fell asleep in the 42nd year on the night of May 9 in a circular room with the moon in my hands.  In the window hung a red sun ... I drove to the house where lions lived, across the bridge of glass cherry branches to the house where a voice could be heard bewitched by the sound of the violin " ??

Her father, Levon Hachaturov - Khachaturian and her mother, Hasmik Kalantarova arrived in Tbilisi in 1921 from Yerevan, along with their small son Hakob - Gayane's brother.  Her father, Levon Khachatryan, was from a family of a craftsman, a master blacksmith, who produced openwork grilles, cornices, awnings. ?? Her mother, Hasmik Kalantarova, was born in Agulis, came from an old aristocratic family, was fond of classical music, loved opera, fine art painting and encouraged her daughter's activities in art school. "As a child my mother took me to Mushtand to enjoy the splendor of the earth, the laughing and crying mirrors.  I began to ask questions of the mirrors.  My mother left me alone in the garden secretly watching me from afar ... " ??

Her maternal grandfather, Hagop Kalantar, was a native of Persia, from a wealthy Armenian family, which owned factories.  He was a charitable man and patron of the arts.?? Her brother Hagop was much older than Gayane.  At the beginning of World War II he was drafted into the army, serving as a pilot.  He returned from the front in 1945 and later moved to Moscow. ?

In 1949, Gayane came to study in the 14th district woman's seven-year school, where she graduated in 1955.  After graduating from high school, she continued her studies at the 101 high school and studied at the Art School with Guguli Kurdiani.  She trained with her for four years (from 12 to 16 years).  "Guguli Kurdiani, a graduate of the Moscow Art School of Architecture and Sculpture, has managed to awaken my natural talent. " ??From 1959 to 1960, she studied at the Republican part-time secondary school for young workers, and after graduating, became seriously engaged in creative work. ??

In 1962 she became acquainted with artist Alexander Bazhbeuk-Melikian, who helped in many ways to  develop her talent. "He did not accept any framework, considering them an infringement on the creative freedom of the artist.  This was contrary to the teachings in art academies,  where conservative and ideological training methods, in the spirit of the canons of socialist realism, prevailed. "

?She studied independently, Armenian medieval miniature Georgian fresco, the canons of classical European painting, was fond of literature, philosophy, poetry writing short stories, essays, beautifully composed. ? A huge influence on her was a great artist and teacher Elena Akhvlediani.  For 10 years, Gayane periodically showed her work for advice.  ??"I usually took my work to her.  The fact that she looked at it, was a big incentive for me.  In 1967, I met  Sergei Iosifovich Paradzhanov at her house.  Seeing my picture, Paradjanov, with his characteristic expression said: "Hurry, you are going to be noticed.  I want to see the rest of your pictures."  The meeting with Sergei Parajanov was of great importance to Gayane in later life. ?

In early 1967, Gayane's first personal (not official) exhibition took place at the Armenian House of Artists in Yerevan at the initiative of Parajanov.  Paradjanov tried several times to get her personal exhibition - in Kiev, Yerevan and Moscow but was opposed by party officials controlling the arts.  Paradjanov consoled her: "Gayane, it is very difficult to be an artist, but you have so many amazing powers.  I believe in you. "  It was Paradjanov who introduced Gayane to Andrei Tarkovsky.  Tarkovsky was struck not only by her paintings, but also by her extraordinary personality.  A creative communication and friendship developed between them. "Tarkovsky struck me deeply with his knowledge of painting, he felt and understood me like no other." ?  ??Gayane believed that creating art is not a profession but a way of life.  She never worked on just one picture, she always started working on 5-6 pictures and worked on them for a long time, sometimes up to ten or fifteen years, and only when she felt that one of them was ready - she fully concentrated on its completion.  Her canvases were her children. ?? In her personal life, she was devoted to ascetic creativity. ?

In her initial phase of creativity, Gayane has been associated with classical realism, searching for universal, fundamental cultures.  This period was marked by its pursuit of an appeal to archaic forms of artistic consciousness, which was fed by the simplicity and freshness of view of such masters as Marc Chagall, Henri Rousseau and Niko Pirosmani.  It was then that she created the many remarkable works which caused  excitement at her first exhibitions. ?? In later works, Gayane made a transition to magic realism.  With the help of magical realism, Gayane freely used a variety of materials (canvas, rustic clay pot, a metal sign, door glass).  In 1979, at the exhibition in the House of Justice, in Paris, Marc Chagall, seeing paintings by Gayane, remarked: "Gayane has overtaken artists by a century.  She is unattainable!" ??Her best work could only be seen at her studio, where she received supporters and many representatives of the intellectual elite.  True art finds its true value, regardless of public demonstrations and discussions. ?

The International Fund jointly with the Ministry of Culture of Armenia and the National Center for Contemporary Art of Armenia made Gayane's solo exhibition of paintings at the 53rd Venice Biennale possible.  This event finally presented Gayane among the most interesting contemporary artists.  "I always tried to show a world of magical realism, but the disease and nerves sapped my strength, my health.  The Venice Biennale, brought me great success, undeserved success, which came to me before my death, but I no longer care, because I myself think these paintings are not masterpieces .. . Tbilisi, April 14, 2009 " ??

Films about Gayane are: "Gayane" 1971 director Yuri Erznkyan, with a foreword by People's Artist of USSR Saryan: "Blue Wind, the smell of almonds "in 1978 directed by Ruben Gevorgyants; I - Gayane from Tiflis "in 2006 directed by Levon Grigorian. ??

Gayane has created about 700 paintings and graphic works, priceless records and sketches of her ideas, statements about art and literature.  Her literary talent deserves special mention, especially her amazingly shaped poetry.? 

Gayane Khachaturian died May 1, 2009 in Tbilisi after a serious illness.  She was buried in the Pantheon of the great Armenian cultural figures in Tbilisi.

Her paintings are in the permanent exhibition at the National Gallery of Armenia, at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Armenia.  Her works are found in many private collections around the world.  ???Curious, peculiar, unique, individual, perhaps misunderstood by many, she passed away, leaving a lot of questions, time for reflection and enjoyment of contemplation ...

Gayane Khachaturian Foundation

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