Database of Armenian photo-media practioners

Kamo Tumasyan

born 1950

1970 - 1980s

An established artist who has been exhibiting his neo-figurative and abstract paintings since the early 1980s, Kamo Tumasyan has also briefly experimented with photography. After graduating from the Fine Arts Academy in Yerevan in the 1970s, Tumasyan began working in a variety of mediums making, among other things a series of strikingly redacted black and white photographs of ordinary street scenes. Brought up to an extreme contrast, the backlit figures of workers and pedestrians in Tumasyan’s photographs, become mere graphical silhouettes reduces to abstracted visual signs. Though vaguely recognizable, the images lack narrative and ideological content. Instead they immediately call to attention their own formal qualities and the way they transform space into a set of relations between light and darkness, movement, stillness and scale. As Tumasyan himself has stated, ‘the real artist is already someone who abstracts… I don’t accept it when one begins to categorize: figurative, non figurative, abstraction and so on. I paint painting and not some stylistic movement.’(1)

In the same vein, the artist could be said to have been ‘photographing’ photography as a way of understanding what the medium ‘does’. Redolent of surrealist photography of the 1920s, as well as his own expressionist paintings, Tumasyan’s images explore the edges of perception, continually asking what the limits of representation are. Quite radical for their time, these early forays into experimental photography were published in the journal Garun (Spring), after which Tumasyan does not appear to have made any further photographs.

The artist emigrated to Germany in 1990, and currently shares his time between Yerevan and Frankfurt.

1) Lusine Stepanyan, ‘Vorkan Es Motenum em Arvestin, Aynkan Mardik Indzanits Heranum en’ [in Armenian],, 8.11.2012,





USSR, Armenia, ArmSSR


Yerevan, Frankfurt




analogue photography


Stepanyan, Lusine. ‘Vorkan Es Motenum em Arvestin, Aynkan Mardik Indzanits Heranum en’ [in Armenian],, 8.11.2012,


1988: Solo exhibition, 'Garun' exhibition hall, Yerevan