Armen Agop, Ellipse Relief, 2014. Black granite, 80 x 9 x 60 cm. Photo: Stefano Baroni

Armen Agop


LKFF Art & Sculpture Projects

Materializations of pure thought, Armen Agop’s sculptures are charged with inherent monumentality regardless of their dimensions. His recent exhibition, “Emergence,” focused on an exploration of volume, with works unburdened by narrative or association that transcend solidity of shape to suggest potential energy. What comes into focus is line, suspended between exteriority and containment. The contrast between the serenity of rounded stone mass and the defiance of straight, angular line creates a new level of tension, emphasizing the vital quality of the forms.

Agop’s idea of a complete synergy of mind, body, and spirit comes to life in a long, contemplative process of creation, which is invisibly woven into the matter of the stone. Physical at first, his method gradually gives way to the intellect, decelerating toward the final touch. This meditative operation is repetitive, never-ending, based on an instinctual need to create. Removing all signs of gesture and intervention using both contemporary and ancient tools, Agop completes his works with a flawless finish. On the very verge of motion, these chiseled fragments of the monumental remain motionless, preserving an indefinable interior vitality. Utterly metaphysical, they mask the efforts of their creator with layers of universal meaning and assume complete autonomy as manifestations of an idea.

Agop has been honing his skills with black granite since 2000. Lustrous and immaculately executed, his sculptures testify to a remarkable mastery, while their aesthetic qualities reach beyond time and trends. Agop’s themes are as incessant as his working process. Rather than developing a single concept, he returns to a few timeless questions. Describing his approach as “cerebral” as opposed to conceptual, he emphasizes the importance of holistic harmony. He does not envision a series of works; instead, he develops an idea in a single piece, often returning to it again. Each sculpture offers a glimpse of related and complementary philosophical concepts.

Though stylistically comparable to the abstractions of Concrete art and Italian Minimalism, Agop’s work is quintessentially different. His original impulse is not to simplify the form, but to explore simplicity itself. Therefore, his sculptures are to be experienced viscerally, as iconoclastic reflections on the eternal and the human.

There is something permanent yet ethereal within the “Emergence” works, which evoke something of ancient Egyptian sculpture. Defying the ego, Agop releases his works into the world after erasing himself from them. For him, it’s all about temporal process; for the stone, it’s about endurance. Created in time, his sculptures are meant to resist time, vibrating at their own frequencies as an undying ode to life.

—Ana Bambic ́ Kostov