Monday, March 26, 2007



Who Killed Bambi?

WHAT is it exactly that turns Armen Eloyan’s matchstick, inflatable figures, smoking cigarette butts, drinking beer or soda from cans, and wandering aimlessly, into such powerful mementos? Is it the emptiness that lurks beneath our corporate values of security, stability and state of mind? Eloyan stands out in creating a cartoonesque vision of a classless, ageless and ‘revolutionless’ society where free will is expressed by means of the remote control. His agitation with the universalising, egalitarian promises of anodyne peace, shows us a post-historic condition that is radically different from the one that was promised to us by postmodern theory.

Armenian painter Armen Eloyan’s star is rising fast. His first gallery solo show at Bob Van Orsouw in Zurich was astounding and at last year’s Frieze Art Fair in London collectors were cursing the waiting lists, desperate to lay their hands on paintings that were already shipping to faraway destinations. Eloyan turned 40, yet only recently has his career taken a definite turn through exposure at the Kunsthalle Bern and at Van Orsouw. Today galleries and museums are standing in line around the block of his Zurich studio.

Eloyan’s paintings draw upon the endless imagination of a fantasy world, yet they are dirty, loud and grotesque in every true sense of the word. If there were to be some kind of Dionysian moment identified in contemporary culture, Eloyan’s work would not be part of it.

He is able to appropriate and successfully manipulate all the identifications that such a recycling entails: scale, impasto, roughness, even machismo. Eloyan is definitely no Apollo with a brush either. There is an anti-puritan impulse that overthrows the romantic ideals of painting as a politically correct environment.
Canvasses range from small to monumental. One character has a dick-shaped nose and wanders around in a birch tree forest. Two guys in a living room, one wearing a high cap, the other one a cap with a flap sit back in a sofa staring at an empty television screen. Maybe there’s football on. References to television, art history, propaganda, advertising and popular music all have an equally important role in the shaping of his project.

Who Killed Bambi? is the title of a Sex Pistols song that was originally the title of the first ever Sex Pistols film to be directed by the legendary Russ Meyer in 1978. Meyer never completed more than a day and a half of footage, worth only a minute in the 2000 feature The Filth and the Fury. Much like Meyer’s footage, Eloyan’s paintings contain explicitly unseductive, overtly transgressive overtones. His tableaux are constructed in a relentless, grotesque way and they envision the subversion of the banal, founding fantasies that are constructed by mainstream ‘imagineering’. The benign, soporific creatures of animation movies and fairy tales, alongside the rock and roll heroes of juke box bars, conceal the often brutal and violent underpinnings of clichéd role models in society. Eloyan adds an interesting pitch in this relationship between a fantasy world and our own lived experiences. Could it be that he is denying the legitimacy of a fantasy world that is radically different from the one we are inhabiting?

Wim Peeters Is An Independent Curator And Critic Based In Antwerp


Anonymous said...

What a daft story.From Wim Peeters eh,an independent??curator and critic as well??

Anonymous said...

sounds very objective, isn´t it?

: said...

me gustan esas pinturas

cassperr said...


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