BUILDING DWELLING THINKING, 2017
In 2016, Karapetian traveled to see the routes her grandparents had taken when emigrating to America as political refugees and economic migrants. The journey, funded in part by a residency in Russia with CEC Artslink and in part by a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship, helped her to explore dueling and equally demoralizing relationships to the notions of walls: on the one hand, a need for housing, and on the other, isolationist political arguments the endgame of which is the building of walls between peoples. Returning to America after Brexit and before Trump’s win, Karapetian worked through her experience by creating sculptural negatives out of rebar in the shape of cinderblocks. Each photogram holds both the act of building and unbuilding. The silhouette of the rebar used to create the rectilinear cinderblocks reinforces the idea of construction, a construction of fact and fiction as much as of buildings. Collectively, though, their larger project is to demonstrate “thinking about building.” The artist considers the studio a site of ongoing experiment, and the exhibition as well as a site of inquiry and participation. The series takes its name from Martin Heidegger's, “Bauen Wohnen Denken”, originally published from a lecture he presented in 1951.
Further images available upon request.
Video of Karapetian's studio practice, with audio from Samuel Beckett's "Not I."