1980 - 1990s
Armen Vardanyan made his first creative steps in cinema, working at the Hayfilm studio as an assistant director between 1977-83. He produced an experimental photo-film called Music, which, in its format, is unique in the history of Armenian cinema. From the mid-1980s, Vardanyan was primarily engaged in art photography. The photographer's preferences were limited to portraiture and the nude. Working mainly in the black-and-white format, Vardanyan shot numerous female nudes, some of which were reproduced in Armenian periodicals of the late 1980s and the early 1990s. As Vardanyan wrote in his biographical sketch, his working method was experimental and that ‘everything comes at the moment of taking the picture, and then continues in the darkroom process. A journey during which the object is re-created and acquires new aesthetic faculties.’(1) This transformative intent is particularly notable in Vardanyan’s figurative photographs, which are typified by a lyrical eroticism and an unabashed idealisation of the feminine body. The photographer shows clear links in his works of this genre with the creative approaches of his contemporaries such as Artashes Babayan and Alexander Alajyants. Vardanyan's portraits are also notable for their streamlined modernism and the sophistication of lighting schemes. These photographs are not concerned with disclosing the psychological world of the individuals. Instead, the artist emphasizes the slippery ambivalence of the subject’s identity. In the mid-1990s, Vardanyan emigrated to France where he appears to have abandoned his photographic practice.
1) Armen Vardanyan. ‘Armen Vardanyan’ [in Armenian], Arvest, nos.2-3, 1991, p.25
USSR, Armenia, ArmSSR, France
Kochar, Vahan. Hay Lusankarichner [Armenian Photographers, in Armenian], self-published, Yerevan, 2007, p.335
Vardanyan, Armen. ‘Armen Vardanyan’ [in Armenian], Arvest, nos.2-3, 1991, p.25