The exhibition dedicated to the 60th birthday of sculptor Rafael Arutyunyan is being held at the Sakala Centre. It is possible to see 111 sculptures which are the work of Arutyunyan from over the last 30 years.
While entering the hall the most natural reaction is amazement – so versatile and full of details is the exposition. It reminds you of Gunter Grass who saw in writing down memories a way to bring the past into reality again. Rafal Arutyunyan’s exhibition leaves the same impression.
The range of topics handled over thirty years is of course very wide and it is clear that it is not possible to fit it in one hall. However, it has been done in practice and this confusion makes it complicated to concentrate on single works. But he who is able to do it will not regret it.
The groups of current political topics, e.g. “It happened in Chile” and the sculpture on the earthquake in Armenia are mixed with idyllic figures. The artist himself says that he depicts what he has survived himself. Emotion is like a disease which I cannot get rid of until I have graved it in sculpture.
A lot of different emotions have been left in the hall-full of sculptures made over thirty years and of course it is not possible to understand it at first sight. At first it seems to be grandiose chaos for the understanding of which one must have good concentration and an ability of imagination. However, when going more deeply in it, one can have an idea of the thirty years of life and creation of an artist which is really the purpose of the exhibition.
The exhibition is also very variegated for styles and the use of different materials. Rafael Arutyunyan: every idea prescribes the use of the material, but of course it is also influenced by real possibilities. If the material situation does not allow, it is not possible to work with Italian marble. I have used stone, wood, plastic, paper and others.
Rafael Arutyunyan was born in Baku where he lived until the moment when a friend told him that in Estonia there are better possibilities to study art than anywhere else. The year was 1958 and since he was not accepted to the Moscow art school, the artist left for Estonia. Now he is called an Estonian artist of Armenian origin.
What makes an artist Estonian artist? Is it graduation from an Estonian art school, social cognition or a way of thinking? Nobody knows but it is not probably the most important fact in case of an artist. More important is that the artist knows where he belongs and this Arutyunyan seems to know by saying: I am at home in the workshop but at home I am like a visitor.