The Consumerism has changed the concept of happiness turning it from a neverending source of motivation into a one more "Must Have". A color to try, a device to use a shape to wear and a feeling to experience. The happiness in the frames of it has to suit certain rules. Anything Otherised from those rules may be excluded from its concept, denied and forgotten, because it creates a brick in the perfectly retouched consumeristic world.
Anything considered to be non happy will be excluded from the viewpoint of the consumeristic observator. Traumas in this world cannot be fully lived through and felt to their depht. Hurting is not treated as a step towards self revelation and healing, but as a negative point which should be hidden or re-framed. Trauma and everything close to traumatic, everything which may question the values and the system is being constantly denied by our society and replaced with the bright coloured and retouched illusions of reality. Forget your fears, forget your pains come here, where you can close your wounds with attractively coloured distractive filters.
After being diagnosed with bladder cancer Karen Khachaturov`s grandfather became hero of this visual story. Karen started shooting from the very first day of the diagnosis and captured 3 months of struggles of the hero, which ended up with death. The photo series are balancing between Karen`s desire to tell the story he has witnessed himself, and his eager to avoid cliched ways of visual approach.
As a photographer, who tries to tell a story «just like it happened» he is trapped in a desire to «tell the truth» or «transmit the reality». As an artist, who mainly works with pastel colors and pop-surrealistic entourages (with compositions which can suit any fashion magazine) he realises, that his existence already ruins the narration and injures the reality. He is just a viewer with an ability to document and he sees his own reality.
The story is already ruined by the existence of his view, which manipulates the situation. This is why he starts to intervene more and formally steps away from the documentary approach, choosing to veil the story of his grandfather with bright commercialized colors.
This makes the story visually appealing, we could also say «entertaining», but at the same time the main line is still there, because under those colors and those forms there is still someone, who was struggling for his life.
Karen Khachaturov (b. 1992, Yerevan, Armenia) is a photographer and visual artist.
Graduated from medical college and worked as a programmer, Karen career as a photographer started in 2014. He has been exhibited in different countries around the world and been published by international magazines and newspapers. His work was exhibited at Circulation(s) 2022 as part of the Focus section which featured emerging photographers from Armenia. In 2019, he published his first photo book Pastel Poetry, and Dystopia in 2021.