Yerevan can surprise the occasional visitor with its abundance of public art. One contemporary example is the spider statue in the city’s Charles Aznavour Square. Dedicated to the French Armenian singer Charles Aznavour, this square boasts a number of landmarks, including the Moscow Cinema, the Stanislavski Russian Theatre, and the giant spider.
Upscale and austere, the surrounding buildings contribute to the charm of this work of art. The spider is made of recycled gears, pipes, springs, bolts, and other mechanical items. Ara Alekyan is the artist behind this installation, and he is a master at welding scrap metal together to create something new and exciting.
Following the 1988 earthquake that devastated Armenia, Alekyan observed the buildings that collapsed and noticed that the rusted and contorted metal frames created broken and sinuous patterns. He was inspired, and soon afterward, he started experimenting with the medium of discarded metal in his artistic endeavors.
Alekyan has a signature way of unveiling his artworks: He sets them on fire. He reasons that iron is born of fire; it is by fire that it is given a certain shape, and it is also by fire that he assembles disparate metal parts into sculptures. It is, therefore, fitting that their new incarnation deserves baptism by fire.