"Haghpat 1" and "Chain"

“Haghpat 1” and “Chain” formed a diptych, which was presented at the Armenian Pavilion at 47th Venice Biennale, 1997.
One of the videos takes place at the library of 10th century monastery of Haghpat in Northern Armenia. On the floor of the library space are buried urns, where the monks would ferment wine. In the video a naked man plunges into underground urns only to re-emerge, and to sink again, I sense a kind of rebirth linked/related to the Armenian saga.
In the other video, I recall memories of scenes of self-flagellation I witnessed as a child growing up in Iran.
These symbolic actions, gestures and rituals, echo the preoccupations, which persist in my psyche.
My images are intuitive explorations of cultures, which have profoundly affected me.

Sonia Balassanian