Jancou, Geneva is pleased to present Wings of Light, an exhibition of new works by Vahakn Arslanian. Born in Antwerp and raised in New York City, Arslanian began painting and working with glass at an early age, shattering glass objects as a means of expression. Almost entirely self-trained, Arslanian has developed this childhood propensity for destruction into a distinctive art-making practice without the benefit of extensive formal training.
Arslanian's work explores the equilibrium between destruction and creation. His prolific output of mixed-media works feature drawings and paintings of a fixed iconography that conjures a surrealist sensibility. Birds, candles, airplanes, and trains are recurrent subjects and are often manipulated in manners that articulate the artist's vision of beauty and absurdity - a plane with bird's wings, a candle with too many flames - and reveal a system of cultivated personal symbols and meaning.
Incorporating antique, hand-blown window glass - sometimes broken, sometimes intact - as well as found objects such as antique window sashes and hardware, the artist creates a unique picture-frame for each work. The use of these discarded objects into his pieces positions the artworks at the intersection between the precious and the ruined; the created and the destroyed.
Arslanian’s exhibition at Jancou focuses on the artist’s fascination with candle and bird imagery. Inspired by a photograph by artist Sarah Charlesworth in which a candle appeared to have multiple flames, Arslanian began exploring the nature of candles and the light they create through the employment of real candles as study objects. His use of bird imagery derives from a pair of white pigeons the artist once kept in his studio, having rescued them from a Chinese butcher shop. Arslanian constructed a large cage for them where they lived for two years, inspiring the artist to incorporate them, and later other birds, into his paintings through their postures, expressions, and the multitude of emotional and personal archetypes, often humorous, that he observed in their behavior.
Born in 1975, Arslanian lives and works in New York and St. Barth. His work has been shown at exhibitions in London (Mr. Big Ben), in New York City (Holy Heavenly, Ghost of a Plane, and Jesus Loves Captain Sully Sullenberger), and in Switzerland at the 2011 St. Moritz Art Masters. His collaboration with Julian Schnabel, The Ones You Didn't Write—The Maybach Car, was displayed on the Grand Canal during the 2011 Venice Biennale.