Nur: No self-respecting artist will ever support any administration

Nur: No self-respecting artist will ever support any administration

We spoke with Nur on “ABC Interview”. Sculptor, painter,
designer Arman Nur does not lack new ideas and creative projects. As he noted,
times and situations change, giving new reasons to create. Nur exhibits his art
all around the world, presenting Armenian contemporary art to art lovers.

– How well do people abroad know Armenia? Don’t you think
that our country should be reintroduced to the world?

– We have not had a coherent branding strategy for Armenia.
We have not thought about how to brand Armenia before the world. We have
branded it only as an old, once fairly powerful state, as a genocide survivor.
Yes, that was of course necessary, but it is also necessary to show the Armenia
that exists today. My meetings with representatives of various nations have
revealed that for many of them, Armenia is left in the past; present-day
Armenia does not exist for them. That is why I try to present today’s Armenia
to the best of my abilities, not only through my own works, but also through
other talented artists who attend various exhibitions with me. We show the
world that we exist, that we are present, we ask them to pay attention to us.

– Today, Armenia is facing a myriad of problems. Can’t art
become the instrument through which we can decide some of the issues related to
social consciousness?

-Sad to say, Armenia is going through a cultural crisis
today, because the vocabulary, the language used today both by state officials
and by ordinary people, are nothing short of a disaster. Our biggest asset is
our language, and when we distort it today, by turning it into God knows what,
disaster befalls us. We should put the brakes on this process. I would even
support the idea of censorship in this regard.

– Has it ever crossed your mind to leave today’s Armenia,
beset with problems, and to become part of the “society of winners”, in other
words, to live in a country that does not have any serious problems?

– No, nothing like that has ever happened. There have been
moments of weakness, for example a desire to stay somewhere abroad a little
longer. I have received numerous offers throughout my life. If people learn
what offers I have received, they will think I have been crazy to pass up such
opportunities. I am trying to gain Armenia victory the way that I can. That is
my mission and I have been carrying it out.

I view my homeland as my parent; it is this homeland that
gave birth to me. We do not get to choose our parents. Moreover, my homeland is
going through the most difficult chapter in its history; I cannot abandon it.
How can one abandon his parents in need?

– Today, the enemy has claims not only to our territory, but
also to our culture: music, carpet weaving, cuisine, etc. Do you think our
response to this is adequate? 

–  I do not fight it myself. Why, you may well ask?
Because I surely know what belongs to my nation and to me. 

– But won’t our failure to fight cause outside observers to
doubt as to whether it all belongs to us or not?

– What really matters is not to allow this doubt to appear
among us. If we are confident in what we have and continue to create, both what
we created in the past and create now will automatically become ours. For
example, if we continue our carpet weaving traditions and develop it, no one
will doubt as to whether what we created in the past belongs to us or not.

– Should the truth be above all else for an artist?

– No self-respecting artist will ever support any
administration. I don’t accept the artists who support any administration and
start praising it. There is no need to praise; if they have done something
worthy of praise, that is quite normal, and there is no need to talk about it.
That is the way things should be. But when there are problems, they should be
raised. I believe that no government can guide an artist. Art is free.

– Do you think the role of the Armenian woman in culture has
been appropriately studied?

– Women in Armenia probably receive the most lavish
attention. We say Motherland; Land is our mother, while the country is our
father. For Russians, for example, Homeland is mother. Thus, those ceding the
land, cede their mother, so that they know. Women occupy a major role in our
society. For example, 10 years ago swearing in the presence of a woman was
unacceptable. Merely for that reason I can call those times wonderful. Now,
unfortunately, even women swear. There are no swear words in the Armenian
language, and the ones used today are borrowings from other languages.

– Do you think it is right to talk out loud about love for
the Motherland and for women?

– I rarely use that phrase, “I love you”. Frequent
repetition devalues it, as love is not a mere word, it suggests an action. As
for words, one can utter them and move on… I am happy because I love and am
loved, but if we constantly talk about love, we will diminish its importance.
The same holds true for patriotism. One cannot merely say that he loves his
homeland and then leave for another country. That is not love: to go live in
another country and long for your homeland. That cannot be called love. Why are
you suffering? Come back! To live somewhere else, to do nothing, and then to
say that you love your homeland — that cannot be called love.

– Is the truth one for you?

– Lying is disastrous for me. The worst thing is when you
lie to yourself.

– I could not help asking this question to an artist. Who do
you consider beautiful?

– Will my answer be way too simple if I say that beautiful
person for me is the one whose soul is beautiful? This may be a hackneyed
phrase, but that is not the case. Not only the beauty of the soul is beautiful,
but also that of the mind, knowledge and wisdom, as wisdom is the antidote to
knowledge. The balance between wisdom and knowledge makes one beautiful. A
person with encyclopedic knowledge is dangerous if he does not have the wisdom
to use that knowledge. When one is intelligent and wise, it can be seen on his
face. Artificiality is not beautiful either. I say, recently I have been looking
for an individual, as individuality is getting lost under those artificial
faces. Now, individuality is important to me: natural, genuine, simple… It is
the best type of plastic surgery: Just gain knowledge and wisdom and you will
look beautiful…


Interview by Lena Gevorgyan