Yervand Kotchar

Yerevan, September 23, 2003—In this autumn afternoon over 500 art enthusiasts, artists and dignitaries gathered together at the entrance of the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art (NPAK in Armenian acronym) to witness the unveiling of “Melancholy” a masterpiece by renowned Armenian artist, forefather of Armenian avant-garde art, Yervand Kotchar.

The sculpture is a quadruple scale bronze cast of the original work in gypsum (1957) kept at the Yervand Kotchar Museum in Yerevan. Together with the pedestal the complex stands 6.24 meters (20’ 6”) high.

Benefactor of the project was late Architect-Writer Rouben Avanessian (pen-name: R. Ben)..

The unveiling was done by Mayor of Yerevan, Hon. Yervand Zakharian, Yerevan Chief Architect Na
rek Sargsian and Benefactor Rouben Avanessian.The project has been initiated and implemented by the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art ("NPAK" in Armenian acronym).

Following is the statement of the benefactor 
on the occasion of dedication of the statue.

Kotchar’s “Melancholy” is most significant world-class creations. No sculpture has been able to display human depression in our dreadful life so comprehensively. With divided identity of dissected male and female bodies with spiral of venom wrapped around their neck, with absence of soul symbolized by an internal void where urban high-rises replace the heart, this by all measures masterpiece is indeed an ingenious work of art of international standard. Neither August Rodin, nor Henry Moor has created work of such a class.

We have an obligation to present this masterpiece, this gigantic work of our small nation to the entire world, in glorification of the Armenian talent. 

                                                                                                                          R. Ben

Address of Edward Balassanian 
Co-Founder of ACCEA/NPAK 
On the occasion of unveiling ceremony
Honorable Mayor, Reverend Fathers, dear artists, arts enthusiasts, fellow citizens and friends, when I was writing this address, inadvertently following verse of Yeghishe Charents (1), the avant-garde poet of the 30’s came to mind:

                                                               “Whatever the crazy masses would not do."
                                                                                                Yeghishe Charents

Indeed, more than four decades ago a crazy soul, created a rebellious work, and today his crazed followers, are paying crazed tribute to the crazy master...

Today we unveiled “Melancholy”, the masterpiece of the forefather of Armenian avant-garde art, Yervand Kotchar, and present it to our ancient city. The city, on the sidewalks of which, sometimes in melancholy and sometimes joyous, sometimes enthusiastic and sometimes depressed, and why not, sometimes rebellious and crazed, walked Charentses and Komitases (2) , Sevags (3) and Minasses (4) of our times, accompanied with the spirits of mythological David of Sassoon (5) and mystical Narek (6)... 

Thus, let the sincere and daring manifestation of the enormous cultural legacy of our talented ancestors spread with everlasting reverberation and resonance. 

This dream would not realize if it was not for 2 years of hard and selfless work of a group of dedicated individuals, who did everything possible for this proud moment to come true.

We thank the Honorable Mayor and Municipality of Yerevan for authorizing this project. Special thanks and gratitude to Chief Architect of Yerevan, Narek Sargsian, for giving us relentless support and assistance.

We thank Benefactor Rouben Avanessian for sponsoring this project.

Many thanks to heirs of the artist, Haykaz and Rouben Kotchar, for passing their intellectual rights to this project. Special thanks to Architect Haykaz Kotchar for developing the architectural arrangement of the complex.

Thanks to the management of Yervand Kotchar Museum and its Director Mrs. Lala Mardirossian-Kotchar, for cooperation and professionalism showed with respect to this project.

Thanks to Architect-sculptor Ashot Karapetian who meticulously and with utmost sincerity sculpted the quadruple size copy of the original work, and managed and supervised its casting in bronze. We are grateful to workers, artisans, and master-casters of the foundry for giving this work body and material existence.

And lastly thank you, our dear compatriots for sharing this proud and happy moment with us.

                                                                                          Edward Balassanian

    1. Yeghishe Charents (1897-1937) was a very popular revolutionary and controversial poet who is considered the forefather of Armenian modern poetry. He died in a Yerevan prison in late 30’s. His place of burial is not known.
    2. Komitas Vartabed (1869-1935) was an ethnomusicologist/clergy who transcribed and recorded Armenian folk music in classic terms. Komitas lost his mind after the 1915 Genocide committed against Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, and died in Paris.
    3. Baruir Sevag (1924-1971) was a popular poet, following footsteps of Yeghishe Charents. He died in an auto accident on the road to his parental village.
    4. Minas Avetissian (1928-1975) was a painter, who started a new wave of modern painting in Armenia in the 50’s and 60’s. He was killed by a run-away automobile while standing on the sidewalk in his neighborhood.
    5. David of Sassoon is a young mythological hero who stood up for independence of the nation of Armenia. His statue by Yervand Kotchar stands in the square across from the railroad station in Yerevan.
    6. St. Grigor Narekatsi, (951-1003) was a mystical poet, whose “Book of Sadness” of lamentations with God is one of the foundations of Armenian poetry.