Opening: July 8, 2018
Artist: Karen Sargsyan

The exhibit “Rock Paper Scissors” by the international artist Karen Sargsyan, a world-renowned paper artist, is opening in July at the Tower of David Museum.

Sargsyan’s deep, multi-layered figures, which are based on impressive familiarity with the intricacies of anatomy, are built on a framework of wooden legs, a pelvis and a backbone. The figures exude three-dimensional, dynamic space, as if hidden within them is a man or scarecrow which, at any moment, could be revived. Specially for this new exhibition, Sargsyan brings to life the monumental personages of King David, King Solomon, King Herod, the Queen of Sheba, Cyrus the Great, and others, in order to conduct a gripping contemporary dialog between art, history and archaeology within the walls of the Tower of David.
Through 4,000 years, Jerusalem’s heroes have changed the face of the city and influenced generations. In the new exhibit, “Rock Paper Scissors”, Sargsyan uses the myths and history of the eternal city as a basis for his sculptures. The dynamic personalities are caught in the moment, whereas the scene itself relates to ancient history. Sargsyan’s exhibit features the varied heroes from the glorious past of Jerusalem – monumental statues of rulers: David, Solomon, Herod, Cyrus the Great, the Queen of Sheba, Queen Melisende and Suleiman the Magnificent, together with the modern personalities of Anna Ticho and Eliezer Ben Yehuda. This installation is presented in the spaces of the archaeological garden and in the ancient spaces of the citadel, against all the layers of history and archaeology. The surroundings dramatically pit the dynamic personalities made of fragile paper and aluminum against the solidity and permanence of the stones of the 2,000 year old walls.

Sargsyan sculpts multi-layered personalities with paper and thin aluminum and creates space and the feeling of three – dimensional, as if an actual, live person is hidden within , who will rise to his feet at any moment. He succeeds in shaping the sculptures not through sketches, but through intuition and mastery of paper cutting, with clean, perfect lines, sculpted with genius. One of the signs of his familiarity with the work is in the faces of each sculpture; those he creates in one swift motion with an X- actor utility knife. He adds objects to his figures which accompany them as part of the story, a unique element which ensures that each and every figure is completely different in its being, color and position. Also, when he uses different fragile materials one still receives the feeling that his sculptures cut the air, penetrating the element and emerging from it. Sometimes, he creates one dynamic element which moves, or a set of figures which sway via an electronic sensor. The rest of the figures stand as if frozen, but the viewer easily imagines that this state can change, and in an instant the personage will leave the podium, clap its hands or wander through the courtyards of the citadel and cross through Jaffa Gate.

About the Artist: Karen Sargsyan

Karen Sargsyan, who is considered one of the leading paper artists in the world, was born in 1973 in Yerevan, Armenia. He studied graphics in college and finished with honors. In 1998 he moved with his family to Holland, due to economic pressures and political instability in Armenia. In Holland, where he now live, he became interested in drawing and sculpting. He was accepted to Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, which only accepts a few applicants who exhibit exceptional artistic abilities. Afterwards, a leading Dutch gallery took Sargsyan under its wing and pushed him to meteoric success and a thriving international career. His works have been exhibited in dozens of leading European museums, such as Tate Modern in London and Centre Pompidou in Metz.

“These new works by Sargsyan, which were created especially for this exhibition, bring a unique, modern interpretation to Jerusalem’s historical figures,” states Eilat Lieber, Director and Chief Curator of the Tower of David Museum. “The figures add an artistic dimension which express, in a visual manner, the hopes, influences, plans and challenges which accompany the history of the city through thousands of years.”

Throughout the exhibit, there will be a series of activities and seminars for children, families and adults. Children’s activities will be offered during the summer months and will focus on various techniques for using paper, paper-cutting, collage and soft materials for creating multi-faceted shapes of different sizes. Sargsyan himself will present gallery talks and art seminars for the community which will focus on his work and art and on the messages he is conveying.