Exhibition views_Duo show Camille Lévêque & Lucie Khahoutian
Orchestrating a conversation between two voices, Camille Lévêque and Lucie Khahoutian narrate, exchange and dismantle their relationship to Armenia and memory. The former, French of Armenian descent, the latter, Armenian immigrant in France, they confront their stories and the way time distorts their memories, transforming their experience into romanticized tales.
In the shape of a diptych, this conversation highlights the melancholic nature of the relationship between a community and its heritage, mirroring a sometimes chaotic communication between Armenians and the diaspora. Akin to a conversation between oriental and occidental Armenian, we’re looking at a dialogue deliberately leaving room for inaccuracy, rewriting, and a subjective interpretation of collective notions.
Balancing somewhere in-between identity investigation and desire to widen the vocabulary of heritage, the exchange confronts archive, collage, photography, and video, made by both artists over the past few years, and engages in back and forth motions between the past, present, and future, but also between reality and fiction.
From the content to the form, the story told here follows the track of time, its impact on memory, and on truth. By rummaging through the story, inconsistency appears, accuracy weakens: this isn’t, in fact, a discussion but a monologue.
Camille Lévêque is the sole master of the operation here, allowing her alias Lucie Khahoutian - her grandmother in real life - a voice more light-hearted than her own.
Working on an investigative and inquisitive approach, Lévêque uses family archive and new technology to find answers to unresolved issues, while Khahoutian answers with a more joyful, kitsch-like imagery, filled with playful references to her cultural heritage.
At first resembling conflict - as it might happen when different generations interact - the visuals eventually resonate and answer each other by their fundamental meaning an urge to get rid of an overdue burden: the suffering of a community whose genocide (1915) is yet to be recognized by the Turkish government.
This internal dialogue, staged and developed as an imaginary conversation among several generations of the same family, illustrates the construction of a multi-layered identity, and the desire for a new semantic field to recount Armenity.
Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs, Vence
September - October 2019
Center For Armenian Heritage, Valence
June - August 2019
Patara Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia,
December 2019-February 2020