Exhibited in 2002 for the inauguration of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Island of an Island (1999-2001) was Melik Ohanian's first major piece of work. It depicts the birth of Surtsey island which formed off the coast of Iceland after a volcanic eruption under the sea in 1963. This sliver of land, supervised by the international scientific community and closed to the public, would become an exceptional observatory for studying the emergence of life.
Melik Ohanian hasn't looked back since in his examination of our relationship with the world, with memory, time and space. He shows us his thought process through an array of media (photography, film, video and installations for example). His work is complex and demanding, infused with philosophy, science and research, and can be interpreted as a laboratory of ideas that puts forth other hypotheses. His subtle and immersive showpieces usher the onlooker into a situation “of intense phenomenological experiences”.
Stuttering is a series of photographs taken in the botanical gardens in Palermo. Displayed on a plasma screen - just like an advertising light box – each shot, taken twice with variation in the point of focus, causes a sort of visual oscillation, a quivering sensation. The "stuttering" image blurs our field of vision, conjuring up the idea of a beating heart - perhaps the very heart of nature.
Melik Ohanian was born in 1969 and splits his time between Paris and New York. He graduated from the École des Beaux-Arts de Montpellier (1988) and the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Lyon (with a Master in Art and Media (DNSEP), 1993; and a further "Post-Diplôme" in Art and Media, 1994).
In 2004, he represented France at the 26th Biennale in São Paulo. He also took part in the Biennales in Sydney, Berlin and Pontevedra in 2004, the 8th Biennale in Lyon and the Moscow Biennale in 2005, the Gwangju (Korea) and Seville Biennales in 2006, the Gothenburg Biennale and 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007 and the Sharjah Biennale (United Arab Emirates) in 2011.
He has exhibited across myriad institutions, particularly the Galerie Chantal Crousel, Palais de Tokyo, the Yvon Lambert Gallery in New York, the Centre pour l’image contemporaine de Saint-Gervais, the Dvir Gallery in Tel Aviv, the Institut d’art contemporain in Villeurbanne, South London Gallery in London, De Appel in Amsterdam and the CCA Kitakyushu...
In 2006 the Institut d’art contemporain in Villeurbanne organised the first major personal exhibition on Melik Ohanian.
In 2008, 15 sites across the Parisian region showed his project From the Voice to the Hand at the same time (du Plateau/ FRAC Ile de France, MAC/VAL, Abbaye de Maubuisson, CentQuatre, Yvon Lambert…). In 2013, Ohanian was invited to create the Armenian Genocide Monument ("Les réverbères de la mémoire") in a park in Geneva. His work has been displayed at the Centre régional d’art contemporain Languedoc-Roussillon Sète (curated by Noëlle TISSIER & Ami BARAK. Summer 2014).
He is represented by the Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris.