INTERVIEW WITH ZAROUHIE ABDALIAN
Zarouhie Abdalian was in Bergen to install her piece for the Material Information exhibition. We sat down and talked a bit about her project.
How do you normally work?
Zarouhie Abdalian: I make site-oriented installations; more specifically, I work with those features regarded as intrinsic to a site-as-system. This could be exhibition walls, lighting systems, or windows. These ‘givens’ constitute the basic material of my work, understanding that each of my operations on these elements doubles as a discursive act. The ‘readings’ thus prompted permit the spectator to reconsider those conditions amply repeated everyday experiences of similar and related sites.
Can you talk a bit about your project for Material Information?
ZA: This work intervenes into this underutilized space - the museum entrance or antechamber - by proposing a novel way for the viewer to use and activate it. By inserting magnifying lenses at the threshold, I propose an activity that is both about viewing and that also emphasizes the figure of the viewer in the space of the museum.
How did you relate to the theme of the exhibition?
ZA: The work responds to the decidedly more contemporary process of valorization under which distinctions between consumer and producer are collapsed, or in which cultural capital is generated by the mere endorsements of a privileged spectator. In this artwork, the focus is not so much on the objects in the museum but on the individuals who attend these collections and consume objects within the galleries (and shops) of the museum.