1988: The Year of Dreams (in Photos)

Nune Hakhverdyan

Art critic, journalist

The revolution that started in February 1988 (the Movement really was a revolution, which in the living-in-agony USSR territory established new guidelines from the viewpoint of both political and human behavior) began spontaneously and festively.

Then it developed itself, had gains and losses, branched out, acquired the status of reminiscence, and ultimately, remained as a local, inspiring historical episode.

It was an episode that lasted two years, and though the political and civic demonstrations were sonorous and full of people, they didn’t become grounds for shaping civil society.

Photographer Zaven Khachikyan from his huge archival materials, which documented the 1988 Movement, created a story comprised of 10 images and framed it according to the principle of film editing.

The first demonstrations are the dismantling of Lenin’s statue, the thousands-strong Opera square frozen at the moment of waiting…

Here is us and our time, our city and our square, the faces and positions that are organically inseparable from each other. We are one body, one sky, one plane.

And that body is drowning, in the expectations, anxieties, hopes, and disappointments of Armenian society living today, in 2018.

From today’s vantage point, Khachikyan’s Movement has a visual finale that is bright and simultaneously overcast, it can even be said crystallized, almost attaining a degree of vanishing.

With Khachikyan’s image layout, the Movement recruits us, assimilates into history, and turns into pure abstraction (people and places are no longer discernible).

And then the monolithic, hard mass again becomes a fragile human crowd, again with the dream to be completed, to become an entity.

1988 was the year of dreams…

Nune Hakhverdyan

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