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New digital projects developed in response to a tumultuous 2020 aim to bolster the event's long-term sustainability.

Armenia Art Fair Expands Online, Sidestepping Covid and Combat

Milos Peskir, Digital Fossil_Corrupt Galatian (2019). Video, 03:15. Open Space project. Courtesy the artist and Armenia Art Fair.

The Armenia Art Fair (AAF) launched its Open Space curatorial project online today. It features photography, video, and other new media works by 30 international artists from 19 countries. It will remain online until 30 January, 2021.

Open Space was established in 2018, the same year as the AAF, to provide a dedicated space for new media art. In 2019, the project was integrated into the physical fair in Yerevan, but holding the fair this year proved impossible due to the pandemic and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Instead, Open Space is now live on the AAF's new permanent digital platform, which was designed by Nouneh Khudaverdyan and created with funding from the International Relief Fund of the German Federal Foreign Office, the Goethe-Institut, and others.

Previously focused on art spaces and curatorial projects in Armenia and the surrounding region, this year Open Space extended the invitation to people everywhere. Participants come from as far as Brazil, Indonesia, France, and China.

'Getting in touch with all the selected artists and researching their work was a huge excitement for us, and encouraged us to continue thinking about Open Space as a growing platform with immense possibilities online and offline,' said Eva Khachatryan, Curator and Director of the Open Space project.

Aldo Gianotti, Steps (2020). Project by Juraj Carny.

Aldo Gianotti, Steps (2020). Project by Juraj Carny. Courtesy the artist and Armenia Art Fair.

Moving Open Space online is part of a broader strategy to increase the AAF's resilience, ensuring access to exhibitions and educational programs as well as making room to experiment with different kinds of digital presentation.

'A digital platform is an immediate solution for continuing our activities and mission in the context of the coronavirus outbreak,' said Nina Festekjian, who co-founded the fair with Zara Ouzounian-Halpin.

'It also adds long-term sustainability for us as a contemporary art organisation, since a permanent digital platform will enable constant public access to artworks and educational programs that will run in parallel with the eventual return of physical exhibitions and events,' Festekjian said.

Led by Juraj Carny, AAF Guest Curator and Director of Curatorial Studies Institute in Slovakia, a second online curatorial project will launch on December 20.

The project will explore art's ability to address socio-political issues without engaging in propaganda. It will feature works by Ilona Nemeth, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Koronczi & Martina Szabóová, Matej Kaminský & Martin Piaček, and Aldo Gianotti. —[O]

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