Three Men Allegedly Attempt Attack on Armenian Pavilion at Beijing Biennale

Luckily, no artworks were harmed.

Photo: Facebook.

Three men in dark suits visited the opening day of the sixth annual Beijing International Art Biennale and reportedly attempted to destroy several artworks inside the Armenian pavilion, according to Artforum. The trio were allegedly targeting works by Armenian visual artist and photographer Karen Mirzoyan.

According to Armenian Weekly, bystanders believed the men, who are reportedly of Azeri descent, to be Biennale officials of some kind. Once inside the pavilion, the trio began displaying “aggressive behavior” and allegedly attempted to destroy the artwork on display. The organizers of the exhibition, titled “Dreamscapes,” uploaded a picture of the alleged assailants to Facebook on September 24, and announced they would be closing the pavilion for the remainder of the day.

“For now, I can say that our team and the artworks are safe,” curator Anna Gargarian told Armenian Weekly following the incident. Luckily, none of the artworks on view were harmed.

Whether or not the aggression was intended as a protest action of some kind is unknown, but the “Dreamscapes” Facebook page has become a stage for debate about the clash between Armenia and neighboring Azerbaijan.

The Beijing Biennale is sponsored by the Chinese government, in part as a way to foster diplomatic ties with other nations. Armenia was one of five countries, alongside Chile, South Africa, Canada, and Ecuador, invited to participate in a special showcase at this year’s event. The honor comes during the centennial anniversary of the Armenian genocide. While the pavilion, which focuses this year on art that explores memories and dreams, is not centered on the commemoration of the genocide, there are several pieces included that touch upon it.

The curator insists that “it is not a political exhibit at all. It’s not an offensive exhibition. It’s about how memory is linked to space and the environments we live in.”

No further updates regarding the opening day aggression have been released, and it appears the pavilion is now open to visitors.


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