YEREVAN—Armenia-based photographer and artist David Galstyan’s latest exhibition Nebula is “a story of alchemy: how the mundane transforms into a cosmic phenomenon,” in his words, offering a unique take on the so-called mundane, everyday elements of life. On the day of the opening ceremony of the exhibition on October 28, the moon was passing into the earth’s shadow, creating a partial lunar eclipse. This coincidental alignment made the exhibition even more enchanting and magical, leaving the guests in awe of both the artworks and the overall atmosphere at Latitude Art Space in Yerevan.
Running for two weeks, the exhibition contains over 40 scanographies, each one containing a piece of the home of the Armenian people. As Galstyan put it, the components of the artworks are “anything that is gathered from the ground. I have found these things in my own land. They represent my culture in its most grounded and physical way.” Although each art piece is open for interpretation, abstracted elements of fire, dirt, tree branches and more can be found in them. “To take something unimportant or something ordinary and to showcase it for it to gain life and form and for others to see. Something you step on – to see its beauty,” the artist reflected.
Born and raised in Yerevan, Galstyan studied acting at the State Theatre Institute in Yerevan. It did not take long for Galstyan to find his calling. “After serving in the army, I changed my path and began to express myself through photography,” he said. “I changed my path and found photography more close to my heart.”
For over a decade now, Galstyan’s works have been exhibited both locally and internationally, including at the Emerging Arts Exhibition in New York in 2012, the sixth Beijing International Art Biennale in 2015, the “Hello World. Revising a Collection” Berlin exhibition at Nationalgalerie Hamburger Bahnhof-Museum fur Gegenwart in 2018 and more. Galstyan was also the cameraman for Lucine Talalyan’s experimental film Post DIY, Adrine Grigoryan’s documentary film Bavakan and the Turkish documentary film A Piece of Armenia.
“Art allows us to raise questions that otherwise we cannot. Art allows us to raise questions that other fields may not allow,” Galstyan said regarding the role of art in society. At the core of his beliefs, he thinks that in many ways, art reminds people not to think inside of a box. Reflecting on Nebula, the artist admitted, “I cannot say what the influence will be, because we have to allow people to integrate and process that which they saw.”
Galstyan’s technique for the exhibition was scanography. For the creation of each art piece, the artist used a basic scanner, but with a slightly different method than the norm – he chose not to close the top of the scanner. By leaving the scanner open, the information that each piece contains is infinite. There is no limitation on what each piece represents or how it is interpreted. “Because I cannot limit myself to a specific niche, this is an expression of this period of my life, as simple as something that reflects my current times,” he said.
Galstyan’s studio is at the Art Factory, which is in the same building as the Latitude Art Space. Latitude is an Art Space by the Yerevan Biennial Art Foundation (YBAF), whose mission is to showcase and support Armenian art. Galstyan is the newest member of the foundation, and this was his first exhibition with YBAF.
Latitude Art Space invites everyone to come and check out this exhibition, “where the mundane transcends into cosmic marvels, inviting us to ponder the magic within the every day.” It will run until November 11, and visitors can view the exhibit between Thursday-Saturday from 2:00-7:00 p.m. All the artworks featured in the exhibition are for sale, and a portion of proceeds will go to help families in need from Artsakh.