Seeing Through Cities
Get to know our 2022 Fellow, visual artist and cinematographer Suren Tadevosyan
March 30, 2023 | by Creative Armenia
Suren Tadevosyan, 2022 Creative Armenia-AGBU Fellow
When Suren Tadevosyan walks past the familiar doorway on Abovyan Avenue, he sees an angry and tormented man screaming at him. When he looks up at the buildings of Northern Avenue, a man and woman twirl around in a dance. For visual artists, the people of a city leave permanent traces of themselves everywhere, and
It is just as interesting to look at Suren Tadevosyan’s work, as it is to peek behind the scenes. Like his art, his creative process is layered and complex, every artwork emerging out of countless sketches, failed experiments, and abandoned curiosities. Read the interview with our 2022 Creative Armenia-AGBU Fellow and get inspired by his creative explorations, upcoming projects, and insightful discoveries.
"I find myself constantly inspired by the era we live in. Our century is full of monumental events that ignite our creativity and make history."
Tell us a little about how you began your journey of becoming a visual artist and cinematographer.
Visual arts have always been a deep passion of mine. In 1998, I decided to explore my skills in video production. From shooting music videos to working on TV, I was eager to immerse myself in the world of moving images. One day, Artsyom Melkumyan, a renowned Armenian cinematographer, offered to work as his assistant on one of his film projects. The experience was truly life-changing. The world of cinema completely consumed me and became an integral part of my life.
Tell us about your creative inspirations – whether those are people, things, or phenomena – and what you have learned from them.
I find myself constantly inspired by the era we live in. Our century is full of monumental events that ignite our creativity and make history. It's an incredibly exciting time to be alive, create, and innovate.
Many of your creative projects, including Biographia or X-Ray Yerevan, focus on looking beyond the surface – be it a person or a city – and present familiar subjects from unexpected perspectives. What attracts you to the subject matter? How do you know which ideas are worth following?
For me, deciding which ideas are worth following is an intuitive process. Some ideas just stick with me. As I work on them, they start to take shape and eventually become a reality. It’s satisfying to watch ideas grow and develop into something meaningful.
For the subject matter to attract me, I need to feel an emotional connection to it. Be it a human or an object, there should be a theme connecting us.
Your visual artworks are complex and involve many moving pieces, from sketching out concepts to working with models and exhibiting the work.
"For each film, I try not to chatter in the scene, be unseen, unnoticeable. "
I truly enjoy the initial stage of creating an artwork – the sketching phase. That’s when I can experiment and try different approaches until I find what feels right. Often this phase is full of failures. Sometimes things just do not work out the way you want. But the process is very creative and exciting for me. Connecting all the threads is my second favorite phase. That’s when everything is put together and ready to be exhibited.
You are one of the most prominent cinematographers in Armenia, whose cinematic language is instantly recognizable. What do you think makes your approach special? How did your experience as a cinematographer shape your work as a visual artist?
For each film, I try not to chatter in the scene, be unseen, unnoticeable. I choose a distinct size for the scene and a distance that best suits the film.
I have a hard time connecting my career as a cinematographer with the visual art I make. Currently, they are more separated for me, than connected. As a cinematographer, I create in a team, working with the provided idea and script. For my projects, I am one who decides on the concept, identifies problems, and gives them an artistic solution.
What is your long-term vision for your creative career?
My long-term goal is to delve into the world of multimedia exhibitions and use a range of techniques to create art that speaks to contemporary social themes.
What did you accomplish in your Fellowship year and what are your next big milestones?
During my Fellowship year, I was able to create a catalog for my X-Ray Yerevan multimedia series, which is currently in production. I also received invaluable advice from mentors, who provided guidance and support as I worked on my new project – Thermocity. Moving forward, I aim to bring Thermocity to life and exhibit it in different countries.