Tasnerku + 1
Thirteen sculptures, measuring approximately 36 m in length
Twelve elements, each: 45 x 43 x 26 cm, disk 120 cm ø
Thirteenth element: 110 x 90 x 53 cm, disk 245 cm ø
Basalt, Corten steel, steel cables, 2015
Compared to Tasnerku (Twelve) presented in Venice, for his solo exhibition in Milan, Ohanjanyan has added a 13th element that is much larger in size and set outside the diagonal line formed by the twelve elements.
The thirteen basalt stones each rest on a Corten steel disk; the disks that are set out diagonally – almost like a sequence of pages – are engraved with the verses of Aravot Luso, a hymn composed by Nersēs Shnorhali, a 12th century theologian and poet and Catholic Patriarch of Armenia, whose poem invites us to contemplate Christ through nature.
Ohanjanyan’s work, on the other hand, focuses on the writing of the hymn, whose thirty-six versus all begin with a letter from the Armenian alphabet: so they are more a tribute to the unifying language of tradition than the actual content of the poem itself.
According to musical theory, although the interval in the thirteen chord contains all the different notes, it is absolutely dissonant, symbolising a transition, a door.
Tasnerku + 1’s rhythm is an echo of the 223 basalt megaliths found on the archaeological site of Karahunj (Carahunge) in southern Armenia: dating back to the sixth millennium B.C. This location probably owes its name to the words kar (stone) and hunge (sound) and would , therefore, appear to allude to “talking stones”, possibly due to the sound the wind makes as it passes through the holes in the Menhirs.
80 megaliths inside the complex have circular holes in their top section and this, as in the case with the stones at Stonehenge (from a much later date), meant that many believed it to be the world’s oldest astronomical observatory; it is actually more likely to be a huge and highly elaborate necropolis, whose holes would have the symbolic value of providing a passageway to some intangible reality.