Armen Agop’s Sleek and Mysterious Egyptian Objects Arrive in Singapore
Artist Armen Agop sculpts raw material into elegant dark matter. His works are smooth objects of varying sizes and shapes that present themselves almost as pieces of negative space, or cuts into an unknown dimension. Carved and sanded from a unique dark black granite, their minimal shapes recall anthropological and art historical forms, both ancient and contemporary. This timeless quality has inspired “Transcontemporary,” the artist’s new exhibition at Art Plural Gallery in Singapore.
Agop’s sculptures share an ageless, abstract quality. The granite from which they are made has existed for thousands of years, and the artist’s process of painstakingly carving, sloughing, and polishing rough shapes into precise, convex or cone-like forms, seems to coax out an ideal quality or spirit from within the ancient stone. While Agop’s background is Armenian, he was raised in Egypt, and the rich history of his homeland has strongly influenced the presentation of his sculptures, which can be seen as updated versions of the omnipresent stone carvings associated with the culture of Ancient Egypt. Agop has adopted the Egyptian tradition of creating mystical, significant objects, but rather than presenting them as part of a greater ritual or worship, he allows them to stand alone. “Sculpture seeks no attention from the outside world,” the artist states. “It is content with its own being.”
With this in mind, Agop’s works, in their formal simplicity, seem to draw from the tenets established by minimalist and post-minimalist artists of the 20th century. They share an interest in the wide curves and dark descents associated with many works by Richard Serra, and their physically gendered presence, at the same time yonic and phallic, is reminiscent of certain marble works made by Louise Bourgeois. Ultimately, Agop has created transcendental objects through a harmonious synthesis of surface, form, and pure material.
“Transcontemporary” is on view at Art Plural Gallery, Singapore, Jan. 22–Feb. 21, 2015.