Soldier Deaths in Armenia: One Artist Tackles the Secret with Prostrate Bodies
“Over the past 23 years, a secret number of people, for secret reasons and in secret conditions, have died. These numbers represent people; the secrets withheld are lives.” Artur Sharoyan
Artist Artur Sharoyan consulted with many individuals and organizations before organizing this live installation in Yerevan targeting a very sensitive issue in Armenia – the number of soldiers who have died, either during combat or in circumstances that remain suspect, ever since the 1994 Karabakh ceasefire went into effect.
These were individuals and organizations that have tried to wring some information on army deaths from official sources, most notably the country’s ministry of defense. The information they have received has been incomplete at best.
Sharoyan had no idea how many volunteers would show up to participate in the installation portraying the deaths of soldiers whose number remains a state secret. Some eighty did show up, filling the floor of the hall.
Spectators had a hard time maneuvering around the prostrate bodies. The artist believes the condition mirrors the difficulties surrounding any public discussion on the issue, or for the government to come clean.