Yes, that’s true. I have been in Armenia during the communist’s rule, 35-40 years ago, for 15 days. It’s hard to compare that Armenia with today’s Armenia. I was limited that time. We were given a car with accompaniment - five men were watching for everything we were doing. They were showing us what they wanted to show. Everywhere we went, they were already prepared to meet us. Headmens were expecting us and greeting with vodka, etc. I wasn’t allowed to make photos of old houses, old villages. One time I was arrested when I was taking a photograph of the beggar. I was obsessed with beggars, poors that time. I was making photos of poor, wretched, blind, outcast. In Armenia at the market I was asked why I am doing it. I have explained that I have no bad intentions, and then some other men explained them that I am under the protection of the government.

For me, who came from Paris, that Armenia was a very strange country. I have seen at the market some people with one flower in hands. I was explained that indeed, they were selling that one flower. For instance, they have a one bush of roses at home, and it bloomed, so they cut one flower and go to market to sell it. I was very strange to me. Here, in France, it was ok to just throw out one flower. But there one flower was a luxury. Host of the house where I was staying, took one orange (it was also luxury in Soviet times) and told me: “this is from Moscow”. There were 5 people around the table, so he cut the orange to 5 slices and put one slice to the plate of each of us. In that small amount orange seems to be more tasty. I had an impression that country is very poor.

This time when I came, there was everything. It was possible to think that you are in a French city. A lot of construction work. Many people at streets. Many many people. I can see that everything moves forward.

“I like to be sad” - intervew with Jean Jansem (in Russian)

#ссср #cccp #ussr #Armenia #Jansem #armenian-painters #art #kgb #history #Yerevan #Paris #Hovhannes-Semerdjian

բնօրինակ սփիւռքում(եւ մեկնաբանութիւննե՞ր)