Trois jours pour avoir osé voler une rose
Ondine Bréaud-Holland
2016

Three days for daring to steal a rose
Ondine Bréaud-Holland
2016

De la confusion spontanée du savon dans les eaux tranquilles
Catherine Macchi
2016

Nous savons...
Alain Amiel
2015

Etre d’aplomb. devenir intranquille
Ondine Bréaud-Holland
2012

Crânes d’enfants et os iliaques
Ondine Bréaud-Holland
2010

An artist in the garden of
Epicurus

Jacques Leenhardt
2010

Une artiste dans le jardin
d'Epicure

Jacques Leenhardt
2010

Neery Melkonian
2008

L'inventrice
Ondine Bréaud-Holland
2008

Quelque chose de Pompei mine de rien
Sophie Braganti
2006

La disparition du modèle et sa reproduction
Enrico pedrini

2006

Pensées en cours
Frédérique Nalbandian
2006

Current thoughts
Frédérique Nalbandian
2006

Jeune liane en bande velpo
Joseph Mouton
2003

Le corps de sentir sous la coupe de voir
Joseph Mouton
2003

Le baiser, Saint Jean Baptiste et la femme assise
Dominique Angel
1999

Latence
Josph Mouton
1998

 

To locate Frederique Nalbandian's work in recent art historical context it helps to revisit Lucy R. Lippard's seminal essay from 1968 entitled "Dematerialization of Art." The observations Lippard makes about her contemporaries (LeWitt, Andre, Darbovan, Kawara, Nauman, Hess etc.) who were revolutionizing artistic practice at the time find their offshoots in Nalbandian's oeuvre. This lineage is only partially accurate though, especially since many of those artists have now been absorbed by mainstream institutions - the very system that they once rejected or exiled themselves from. A visit to the idyllic Dia Beacon in upstate New York is a testimony to the inevitable de-revolutionization of art as a lived experiment. What sets Nalbandian apart from her predecessors and positions her as a current revolutionary in art is her ability to internalize their accumulative knowledge - sum of the parts - which she then reconfigures and translates into a vision of her own. Take for instance the element of temporality or duration proposed by the older conceptualists - "ideas+actions" - which often manifested in serialized art objects, amplifying or repeating a detail of a phenomenon. Nalbandian, on the other hand, questions such purist-rational approaches which distance us by painstakingly crafting environments that favor the experiential, including the emotional. The asymmetry, messiness and fluidity of these contact zones she creates correspond to the disorder that structures contemporary life. Similarly, her use of certain reinvented materials, like dripping soap or thread-dipped in plaster, expand the vocabulary of the previous generation's exploitation of unusual materials to derive at new forms. Hers, however, are substantiated with potential narratives, or go beyond art for art sake. These strategies in turn rely on our intuition, not just intellect, to decipher them. In short, Nalbandian's inclusive approach is not built upon an urge to erase, displace, or uproot the old. "Newness" for her is in giving language to multiple forms of rupture. The artist's minimal application of colors, like gold and red, energize or transform her otherwise subdued environs into a sort of 'Theatre of the Ruptured'. Here, awkward materials, shapes, sounds and smells become the actors of a universal performance that is also linked to an autobiographical marking. Mediated through her multi media and multi layered, yet intimate, productions is the irrevocable loss of language due to the trauma of the genocide experienced by the artist's Armenian grandparents - whereby expression is also given to the effects of the suspension of mourning on a culture subjected to continued denial. Others have already observed how revealing the loss of a model constitutes the core meaning of Nalbandian's aesthetic meditations. While that is true, it's important to remember that she also offers us an anti-model as a viable means to new beginnings.

Neery Melkonian
2008 Independent Critic/Curator
New York City .