Yerevan Wine Days

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On May 5, 2017, Armenia has witnessed a wonderful event called “Wine Days”. In the capital of Armenia, Yerevan, “Wine Days” event was held for the first time. Yerevan turned into a real capital of wine where the participants received an excellent opportunity to enjoy dozen of varieties of the Armenian wine. More than three thousand people went to Saryan street, in the center of the city, where the perfect atmosphere was maintained by the beautiful music. The latter was completing the beautiful scene where people were being served with delicious dishes accompanied with the Armenian wine that create a perfect combination.

The “Yerevan Wine Days” was held in Armenia for the first time. It was mostly dedicated to the development and presentation of the Armenian wine. The “Areni” Festival Foundation in cooperation with the Yerevan Municipality organized the event, It was also said that the event was organized for promoting gastro-tourism in Armenia.

During the event, about 25 wine producers from Armenia and Artsakh presented their products to not only for the Armenians but also for tourists from different parts of the world. This was a great opportunity for Armenians to demonstrate the richness of the Armenian culture not only to the Armenians but to the world.

 

-Helen Khanoyan

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The Met Gala 2017

On May 2, 2017, Met Gala, one of the main fashion events of the year took place with the support of Farfetch, in New York. Specifically, there was a charity ball of the Costume Institute-Met Gala in the Metropolitan Art Museum where where you can see the most daring and incredible dresses from the top league.

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The Met Gala, which is known as Met Ball, is a fundraising gala. It is a huge annual fundraising fashion event for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. It indicated the grand opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit. Each year the event has a theme, and includes a cocktail hour and a formal dinner. During the cocktail hour, guests arrive and walk on the red carpet.

In this time, the Met Bal was dedicated to the creative and legendary designer and founder of the brand Comme des Garcons, Ray Kavakubo. Traditionally, most of the guests chose outfits inspired by the theme of the exhibition that has opened at the Metropolitan Art Museum.

The dresses were incredible and unique as always; every single dress differed from others with features, cuts, ornaments, designs and overall styles. Thus, this year the dresses were mostly designes with decors of all stripes, bold cuts, transparency of textures, and distraction of color combinations.

Along with the dresses,  there were other, the most unusual forms of clothing. For example, Bella Hadid appeared on a ball in the transparent overalls of Alexander Wang. Rihanna introduced a compound structure Comme des Garcons with patchwork elements, which immediately became a new meme on the internet.

Overall, this was the main event of the year in the fashion sphere and it marked the the grand opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit.

 

-Helen Khanoyan

Bridge Between Impressionism and Expressionism: Paul Cézanne

 

Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose works are thought to be a transition from the19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a completely new world of art in the 20th century. These two radically different worlds, the one that ends with an Impressionist movement and the other starts with the Expressionist one, made a completely significant shift in the art history and overall among the artistic and other spheres.

The Impressionist movement that was originated in France in the 19th century was a way to couple both emotions and specific realities of the time. Impressionism tried to capture the impression or the momentary effect of a scene, the impression of light in a scene. The Impressionists actually tried to create the feeling of movement by using long brushstrokes, loose brush strokes, sketchy lines to create the feeling of an impression.

While Impressionists were trying to combine emotions and reality, Expressionists were trying to heighten the emotions through art. The movement existed both in Germany and France and its was actually characterizes by distortion and exaggeration; this was done in order to create emotional effect. Impressionists were portraying subjective reality rather than realism. Artists who painted in this style might incorporate fantasy and violence in their subject matter in order to show the extremes of emotion.

These two completely different worlds that did not share their routs, finally come and meet at the same place, when Paul Cezanne comes forward. He was the one whose artworks can be considered as “mix” of the two worlds and contain characteristics defined for both worlds.

Paul Cezanne’s works are identified as the most dominant influence in the abstraction of the modern art. Cézanne’s artworks that were captured often with repetitive brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognisable. Impressionists were using long brushstrokes to create an impression but Cezanne was using small ones that build up to form complex fields.

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Cézanne is considered to be a man that has formed the bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the new different line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. Both Matisse and Picasso are said to have remarked that Cézanne “is the father of us all.”

-Helen Khanoyan

Naples: City Exhaling Energy

“Here we are at last. The Italian proverb says “See Naples and die” but I say, see Naples and live; for there seems a great deal worth living for.” 

― Arthur John Strutt

Definitely! The capital of the region Campania, Naples, is the city that goes beyond the borders of the “beauty” and has simple uniqueness hidden in its every building, in every church, even in every tiny shop and pizzeria. Thus, every corner in Naples is a source of an undeniable inspiration that animates people and alleviates the ones who actually go deep into the beauty of the city and appreciate the little things that it brings out.

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We arrived at the center station of Naples. As soon as we get out of the train, the festive spirit wrapped us immediately when we noticed an old man playing a beautiful melody with a wide smile on his face in the middle of the station.

When we went out of the station, the very first view of the Dante Square, dominated by the statue of the renaissance poet, Dante Alighieri, warned us, “You are in Naples!”

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The square was full of cheerful children playing, jumping, running, shouting and spreading positive energy to every person passing by. The scene was very familiar but I hadn’t seen it for a long time. Nowadays, you will rarely meet children who spend their time on outdoor games. But you will, definitely, meet them in Naples. While children were playing, adults were enjoying their Saturday morning cappuccino with typical Italian breakfast that mostly includes either croissants, dry cakes, brioches, in one word, pastries or toasts with famous mozzarella cheese and sunny-side up egg.

The narrowness of the streets is also a typical thing that can describe Naples. The narrow streets are an essential part of the city. They make it seem warm, tempting and maintain the friendly spirit of Naples that follows you in every single corner. While wandering the streets, when you are very close to strangers, you are scared and delighted at the same time. On one hand, you unintentionally listen to some interesting stories of people, feel warm in the crowds but on the other hand you are frightened with the strange faces of Neapolitans. They do really seem very strange and scary.

Pizza! It is what first comes to your mind when thinking about Naples, as it is the city where the first pizza was ever made. In fact, the world’s first pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, was opened in Naples in 1830s. It is interesting to know that the famous pizza “Margarita” actually reflects the Italian flag; if we look at the ingredients, it can be noticed that basil represents the green color, cheese the white and the tomato sauce represents the red color.
Finally, the Italian proverb “Vedi Napoli e poi mouri” that translates as “See Naples and die” is a reference to Naples in a way that whenever you see it, there is no reason for you to live as you have already seen everything.

The animated city, that has also a long historical background, gives light, energy, and inspiration to every person who dares to wander and get lost in its streets.

-Helen Khanoyan

Firenze: City Frozen in Time

Firenze, as Florentines tend to call their small city with the huge history, is situated in the center of Italy, mainly in the region of Tuscany. In fact, Florence is the most artistic, cultural and historical city not only of Tuscany but also of all Italy. It has a physical elegance, which reveals and presents the city to the world in a very strong, yet very gentle way. A city is a place for inspirations, for the imagination that travels as far as it can; the city makes you want to delve deeply into art, architecture, culture and history.

I always heard the expression “breathtaking beauty” but have never thought it can truly exist. The feeling when you stand in front of the building and realize, it completely takes your breath. I never experienced it before, until I stood in front of the Piazza Del Duomo Cathedral and frozen for a long time. The melody “Tale as old as time” from the Beauty and the Beast cartoon, that was played by an old man in front of the cathedral, was making everything around inspirational, spiritual and the façade of the cathedral magnetic and breathtaking. The facade of the Duomo Cathedral of Florence grabs the attention of every single person passing; it is a harmonious and gorgeous combination of statues, incredible mosaics, and frescos of Gothic inspirations. This 15th-century work of art that truly takes your breath away thanks to genius architects such as Andrea Pisano, Giotto, as well artists of Renaissance period Michelangelo, Donatello and Lorenzo d’Ambrogio who rigorously worked to make every inch of the cathedral astounding and inspiring.

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The museum Ufizi, which is another breathtaking beauty located right in the heart of Florence on the bank of the Arno River, is a huge gallery, you can get lost in hours and hours. You can witness sculptures, paintings, frescos, and various artworks of different time periods and cultures. In the outside of the museum, can be found sculptures of Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Michelangelo and many other famous historical figures who had their huge contributions in the rise of the Italian art, culture, science and literature.

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Just two blocks down from the Galleri Ufizi, there is a fantastic gelateria where you can have your ice cream while enjoying the beauty of the Arno River and listen to talented street musicians and singers who besides making money, turn the whole atmosphere around you into a magic. Tasting gelato is one of the most important things that should be done during the trip to Florence. It is as important as seeing the Piazza Del Duomo, visiting Ufizi gallery and also seeing David’s original sculpture. However, it is not the gelato you ate in your country; the gelato of Florence is an artwork itself that sometimes you hardly eat it till the end.

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Florence is the city for people who enjoy art, architecture, museums, churches and templates, anything that will give you insight to the history and will give an inspiration to you every  day.

The present glory of Florence is its past. It has frozen in time and it is  a huge museum rather a small city in the center of Italy.

-Helen Khanoyan

The Art of the Movement

The lights of the hall were slowly flashing away. The darkness was only interfered by the light of dim candles hanged on the walls that let us detect the fancy decorations for the performance starting in few minutes.

It was the ballet “Masquerade” performed on the same stage for the second time after almost 30 years.

Suddenly, the crowd in the hall froze in the absolute silence when the orchestra started playing Aram Khachaturian’s magical melody “Masquerade”. It immediately occupied the hall, and everything became miraculous when dancers, in gorgeous dresses reflecting the 19th-century aristocratic society of St. Petersburg, appeared on the stage.

I can, definitely, tell the story of Lermontov’s verse play “Masquerade” and even make comparisons with Shakespeare’s “Othello”, in fact, their storylines are very similar to each other, but what grabbed my attention and grabs every time I watch ballet, is what kinds of stories tell the movements and gestures of ballet dancers.

With the combination of movements of the arms, feet, and body, dancers were telling stories to the audience, were communicating with each other and were expressing their feelings. With complete single, double and triple turns in the air, they were showing their madness and violence or, on the other hand, their joy and enthusiasm. With beautiful pirouettes, dancers were expressing their fear. While with quick constant repetitions of jeté, dancers were capturing the scenes of fights and struggles, the slow repetitions of battement tendus, were creating the love and care movements. With the up and down jumps that were beginning and ending in the fifth position dancers were mostly telling about something very joyful or, on the other hand, something dangerous or frustrating. In regard the movements of the arms, sometimes they were complementing the movements of feet; when the latter were expressing madness, the movements of the arms were becoming very sharp and quick. However, the arm movements were turning gentler and quite when dancers were showing love and care.

 While expressing their own feelings, dancers have that incredible ability to transfer their emotions and leave different impressions on the audience who truly value the art that they create.

While the artist creates paintings with the genuine strokes of the brush and the poet stamps his thoughts on the white papers and ends up with lovely poems, the dancer creates heart-touching dances through his graceful and delicate movements being in a beautiful relationship with the melody that makes everything around more inspiring and enchanting.

All these masterpieces create fleeting moments for you to feel completely alive and leave special impressions you will remember for the rest of your life.

-Helen Khanoyan

March 26, 2017

Surviving Through Art

The reality, sometimes, seems desperate and frightening. As we take a look how people treat each other, as we hear how they talk to and about each other, overall how human relationships are falling apart and how humanity is gradually giving up the moral values, we start to think about the world as a horrible place to live in. I will not prolong this paragraph, as I do not want to concentrate much on the rough side of the world, but to further disclose the idea that we can, sometimes, escape what bothers us in this world and create our own living space with our imagination.

For keeping the artistic mood in my all blog posts, I will refer to the art of a very interesting figure whose imagination and creativity helped him to overcome many difficulties. Someone once said, “Art is the only salvation from the horror of existence.” These words can totally describe the life of the Armenian artist Sergey Parajanov. Being condemned several times, Parajanov spent his years, surviving through his art and making collages, drawings, dolls and illustrations. During the harsh years of imprisonments, Parajanov struggled for conquering the horrific reality of the environment. “Several Scenes from the Life of Gioconda” is one of his works “inspired” by the life in prison. He saw a tattoo on the back of his friend; with every move of the friend, the skin was stretching and Gioconda’s facial expressions were changing. Parajanov captured all Gioconda’s movements and made an incredible collages and drawings.

“My art is a cardiogram of my heart,” said Parajanov.

And that is true. His art turns out to be a cardiogram of what he saw, what he felt and what he went through during his life; a tragic love story, harsh years of imprisonment and an incurable disease that eventually killed him.

While observing Parajanov’s works, we can find artworks with broken pieces of dishes, collages and illustrations with objects that no longer complement each other, asymmetric dresses and so on. The artworks of Parajanov create the cardiogram of his heart that was incessantly beatting and striving for a creative life.

Sometimes, we are looking for some kind of escape. Some people find it in art. They find relief in art.

Like I do, as well.

Helen Khanoyan

February 12, 2017