Haig Aivazian


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Haig Aivazian, Tiles, 2016, Graphite on paper, Dimensions variable. Art Jameel Collection. Photo courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

Artwork Details


Haig Aivazian






Graphite on paper



Credit Line

Art Jameel Collection

Work Description

Aivazian approaches much of his drawing work as a conceptual practice. For Tiles, he appropriates the practice of replacing damaged ornamental marble cladding in Byzantine architecture using hand-painted reproductions. Rather than succeeding in replacing or repairing the original, the hand-painted slabs mark an absence of heritage, of labour and of a material witness. Tiles is Aivazian’s own reference to this impoverished form of preservation. It is an accumulation of framed graphite drawings that resemble marble in various shapes and sizes, leaning against the wall, overlapping one another and relating to the idea of the dispersal of the marble into the city.
Tiles, applies this restoration method to address a micro-narrative relating to musical modernity in the Middle East. Istanbul Radio was established in 1927 as a tool to shape a cultured Turkish citizenry around a collective act of listening; a way to transition from an Ottoman identity to a decidedly modern Turkish one. In the process of building the station, the vast Pangaltı Armenian cemetery was destroyed.
Its marble tombstones were dispersed and integrated into the city’s architecture. The destruction also made room for new developments, including Gezi Park, turning the area into the iconic centre of the new metropolis. In 2013, when bulldozers began to demolish Gezi Park to build a shopping complex in its place, they exposed remnants of the Pangaltı tombstones before being blocked by mass protests.

Artist Biography

Haig Aivazian (b.1980) lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon.

An artist and curator, Haig Aivazian creates sculptures, installations, drawings and performances that are a blend of his biological references and political reflections. His work delves into the way in which power embeds and affects people, animals, landscape, objects and architecture. Haig’s work has been shown at numerous exhibitions worldwide including Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2018); Tripoli Fair and Fort, Lebanon (2018); Wexner Centre for the Art, Columbus Ohio (2018); Nottingham Contemporary, UK (2017); Kadist, Paris (2017); Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut (2015 & 2016); and Seurasaari Museum, Helsinki (2016) among others. He has participated in the Montreal Biennial (2016); Marrakech Biennale 6 (2016); Istanbul Biennial (2015) and the 56th Venice Biennale (2015).

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