An Alternative, Transparent, Gohar Smoyan

An Alternative, Transparentis an interactive project aimed at denoting the safe transparent space in cities of Armenia and building a dialog between people through art. The project suggests possible solutions to people’s social-educational and psychological problems. Often the inability to solve problems is brought about by an unrealistic attitude toward that incapacity which is framing the limits of the objectivity of consciousness and the emotional state arising from it. To render it real and visible Gohar Smoyan invites the public to leave a message on the walls of the cube.

Smoyan’s project as first conceived in 2011 with the opening of Museum of Contemporary Art in Gyumri, a portable museum breaking with the academic tradition, a new light structure with transparent polyethylene walls and aluminum fuselage, reminiscent of a perfect cube. Smoyan, together with some friends, built it to represent Gyumri Biennials’ museum archive spanning the last 12 years. Once built, the cube subconsciously led Smoyan back to childhood, to post-earthquake streets of Gymuri, full of Domiks wagon-like cubic temporary tin houses, an image that looped with nowadays reality of the city, isolated from the current world development process and where the post-earthquake present continues, twenty-seven years on.

This became a starting point for identifying new thematic lines of inquiry in Smoyan’s artistic thought, that she keeps researching today transparency of politics, national and regional belongings, mobility and migration, individual and collective memory. In her artistic practice she tries to use every project as a filter, “smoothing” or exacerbating those topics, trying to propose possible solutions.

In An Alternative, Transparentthe cube gives the public the opportunity to get out of apathy, moral or emotional anesthesia so typical for contemporary society of Armenia. This act of emancipation brings the participants to a moment of heightened awareness of feelings and the senses, regardless whether these are anger and powerlessness. The project helps to reveal a collective unconsciousness. Since the cube is transparent and mobile, it becomes a temporary alternative to the static iron houses and minds, combating for the new positive vision of future.

Sona Stepanyan
Armenia Art Foundation


Gohar Smoyan (b. 1978) ― artist, based in Gyumri, Armenia. The practices of Gohar include various techniques and medium in painting, graphics, installation, video-art, performance. The latest thematic lines in Gohar’s artistic thought are transparency of politics, national and regional belongings, mobility and migration, individual and collective memory.  Graduated from the Gyumri Academy of Fine Arts, Gohar works as researcher at The Gallery of Mariam and Eranuhi Aslamazyan Sisters and gives lectures at Academy of Fine Arts, department of Theory of Painting and History. Gohar had several solo shows and participated in many group exhibitions in Armenia (So as it wants, Gyumri, 2016;Building ruins, Gyumri, 2012 and others) and abroad (Balade Caucasie, France 2012; Borderland 02763, Germany 2014; Kurdistan, Turkey 2015; Alexandrapol- Leninakan-Gyumri, Russia 2016).