Sarkis Zabunyan

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sarkis Zabunyan

Sarkis Zabunyan (born September 26, 1938 in Istanbul ), known by his first name Sarkis , is a Turkish artist and art teacher of Christian- Armenian descent who was naturalized in France . Sarkis can be assigned to the concept and installation artists .


Sarkis comes from a humble background. He was born as the son of the butcher Garabet Zabunyan, who fled Anatolia to Constantinople in 1915, and his wife Duru. He described himself as a very fearful, deeply religious and war-torn child. He later attended the French Lycée Français Saint Michel in the Pera district . In 1955, at the age of 17, while wrapping the goods in his father's shop, he accidentally discovered a newspaper page with a picture of Edvard Munch's painting “ The Scream ”, a decisive experience that led him to devote himself to art and his decisively influenced later life.

From 1957 to 1960, Sarkis studied interior design at the School of the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul. He married Isil Akyuz, a Turkish philosophy student, in 1960. Together they emigrated to Paris in 1964.

He took part in the group show “ When Attitudes Become Form: Works-Concepts-Processes-Situations-Information ”, which the exhibition organizer Harald Szeemann attended from March 22 to April 27, 1969, sixty-nine US-Americans and invited European artists to the Berner Kunsthalle , many of whom were presenting their work in Europe for the first time. Participants in the exhibition included the minimalist Richard Serra and the conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner , representatives of the Arte Povera movement founded two years earlier in Italy such as Mario Merz and Michelangelo Pistoletto , the pop art artist Claes Oldenburg and, last but not least, the action artist and Art teacher Joseph Beuys , under whose influence Sarkis' first installations were. Sarkis was a participant in Documenta 6 in Kassel in 1977 and also represented as an artist at Documenta 7 in 1982.

In 1980 he was appointed to the École des Arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg . After exhibitions in France, Germany , Turkey, Armenia and the United States, Sarkis showed his works in Paris in 2007 at the Musée du Louvre and Musée Bourdelle at the same time .

Sarkis has lived and worked in France since 1964 , where he set up his workshop in a former printing works in the Paris suburb of Villejuif ( Val-de-Marne ).


Work (selection)

Sarki's early work can be found in the early 1960s, when he initially dealt with gouaches, collages and canvas painting. From 1968 to 1976 - after meeting and influenced by Beuys - he created almost exclusively installations and sound integrations as well as sculptures from tapes . The following is a selection of his works:

  • 1966: Après Hiroshima , collage
  • 1974: Gun Metal , sound integration
  • 1982: Sculpture en bande magnétique , sculpture, tapes
  • 1988: The twelve knives. TREASURY OF WAR by Altkirch (private collection)
  • 1991: Scènes de nuit, scènes de jour , room installation
  • 2001: Designs for the leaded glass windows of the Cistercian Abbey of Silvacane


  • 1974: Sarkis. Musée d'Art et d'Industrie, Saint-Etienne
  • 1995: Sarkis. 9/26/19380. Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn
  • 1995: Sarkis. The light of lightning - The noise of thunder. Museum of Modern Art, Ludwig Foundation, Vienna
  • 2007: Sarkis: Icons. Sculpture Collection and Museum for Byzantine Art in the Bode Museum , Berlin

Publications (selection)


  • Jochen Gerz , Terry Fox , Dietmar Kirves (eds.): Sarkis Zabunyan. In: Art Information No. 7/1973, Düsseldorf 1973
  • Catalog for documenta 6: Volume 1: Painting, sculpture / environment, performance; Volume 2: photography, film, video; Volume 3: Hand drawings, utopian design, books; Kassel 1977 ISBN 3-920453-00-X
  • Catalog: documenta 7 Kassel ; Vol. 1: (visual biographies of the artists); Vol. 2: (Current works of the artists); Kassel 1982 ISBN 3-920453-02-6
  • Sarkis. 9/26/1938. Catalog of the exhibition in the art and exhibition hall Bonn. Cantz, Hamburg 1995.
  • Uwe Fleckner: Sarkis. The light of lightning - The noise of thunder. La lumière l'eclair - Le bruit de tonnere. Exhibition catalog Museum Moderne Kunst, Palais Lichtenstein, Vienna 1995, pp. 39–46.

Web links


  1. In London at the Institute of Contemporary Arts repeatedly under the title "Live in your head: When attitudes become form: Works-Concepts-Processes-Situations-Information"
  2. According to other sources, not sixty-nine but sixty-eight participants took part in the exhibition