Everyone sees the unseen in proportion to the clarity of his heart, and that depends upon how much he has polished it. Whoever has polished it more sees more — more unseen forms become manifest to him. -Rumi, Sufi mystic*
An enchanting rhythm ensues as one chosen step is repeated over and over until limitations give way to bliss. With this one methodical step, spinning around themselves, they discover a unity from within, and like this, a path is opened to a rapturous state of rejoicing in their own true nature.
This is the dance of the Sufi.
The ascetic practice of renouncing worldly pursuits to achieve higher spiritual goals, in other words, the decision to have less in order to see and feel more, is the way of the Sufis.
So it is with the work of Armen Agop.
Renouncing all other forms in pursuit of the purity of one. Agop delves deeper and deeper into one form to discover it anew. Like the dance of the single step, he has chosen to harness a center energy, condensing it to a point instead of expanding it outward. In this way, the energy is unified and composed. The forms nearly vibrate with vital energy, and with the slightest touch, they open up and begin to move.
This movement is reminiscent of the balance of all life energy, the ebb and flow of the tide, the phloem in plants, the transfer of oxygen, the give and take, the increase and decrease, the positive and negative, the connection a nd balance of all things. Upon further observation, the energy in Agop's sculptures seems to expand toward the horizon while at other times it ascends toward the heavens.
Agop's countercultural approach may be due to the place of his birth and the roots of his Armenian ancestry. Growing up in the ancient country of Egypt enabled Agop to become intimately acquainted with the notion that with continuous repetition of form, be it a dance, a sculpture, or the single line of the dunes in the desert, the eyes open to see more. “It was in the desert,” he says, “where there seems to be nothing, that's where I learned to see.”
It is not only one form he chooses, but also one material. Agop himself cannot explain why he is fascinated with granite, whether it is the material itself or its will to exist. Koyadevel (ph.), an Armenian word meaning continues to exist, is a concept that every Armenian grew up with. So it is not surprising that he works with an ancient material that exists and persists, as his stone of choice.
A round form is not new; it too is ancient and enduring. It is also contemporary, and it will survive tomorrow and the day after. For his show, Agop shares with us his perspective to see it anew, keeping in mind his own approach that “New is a very old word.”
Like his forms, his intention is simple, that essence is found in the deep, not the broad. When seeking significance, when seeking the heart of things, go deep, remain, and go deeper still.
*As quoted in The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi (1983) by William C. Chittick, p. 162
By, Rebecca Bell