„I’m unwelcome. I can’t go easy on them. It’s like I’m a burden.“

I’m unwelcome. I can’t go easy on them. It’s like I’m a burden. I’m not at all dissenting. I had to get out of the way. And so it happened.

Sergei Parajanov

Photographs of works by Sergei Parajanov and thoughts about his life and his works

Rarely does a museum dedicated to a person achieve that one is suddenly drawn into this imagined life. The Sergei Parajanov Museum in Yerevan develops a suction from which the visitor can hardly escape.

For me, it is above all the collages made of drawings, photographs, objects, packed in boxes and cartons. Dolls, parts of typewriters, feathers, sheets, there was nothing that Parajonov could not transform into something completely different, surprising. The many self-portraits stand for a man who had to look at himself again and again from the outside to assure himself of his place in the world.

The approach to Sergei Parajanov’s cinematic work is not very easy. His entire oeuvre turns against a prosaic interpretation of reality. It is firmly rooted in the myths, legends and fairy tales of the people living in the Southern Caucasus. The surreal and anti-realistic nature of his film art is the reason why Moscow set out to control, hurt and ultimately destroy his life. Many lives were destroyed easier and faster in the Soviet Empire. Parajanov’s life was publicly dissected.

In my opinion, ‚The Color of the Pomegranate‘ by Paradshanov is one of the best contemporary films that impresses with perfection and beauty.

Michelangelo Antonioni

In the temple of film there are images, light and reality. Sergei Parajanov was the master of this temple.

Jean-Luc Godard

On December 17, 1973, he was arrested in Kiev. In April 1974 he was sentenced to five years in a strict camp prison for ‚homosexuality‘, ‚pornography‘ and alleged ‚homosexual rape‘. Federico Fellini, Roberto Rosselini, Michelangelo Antonio, Sergio Leone and many other colleagues from European cinema protested. Louis Aragon travelled to Brezhnev in Moscow. None of this helped.
Parajanov endures the years in prison by making art there too, by poetizing life among prisoners. The texts, letters and notes, are deeply disturbing. He creates drawings and collage works for his fellow prisoners and himself.

Four years in prison, finally released, moving to Tiflis and again one year in prison. To break him for good, that seemed to be the declared aim.

I remember the films of Sergei Parajanov, which I love very much, always with great gratitude and pleasure. His way of thinking, his paradoxical poetic… ability to love beauty and the ability to be absolutely free in his vision.

Andrej Tarkovsky

The retreat into the poetic may have saved his life in the end. And the efforts of the friends who tried, again and again, to protect and save this very vulnerable man for a lifetime.

In the courtyard, the table, which stands for a life surrounded by guests. For a life that might not have been able to be alone. Above is the famous photograph in which Parajanov stretches through a barred gate with heavy hands and his dark, open eyes.

All photographs were taken in the museum in Yerevan set up for Sergei Parajanov. The museum was founded in 1988, when Parajanov moved to Yerevan. Parajanov himself chose the location (Dzoragyugh ethnographic center in Yerevan) and this accompanied the building project of the museum. Due to the earthquake in Armenia in 1988 and socio-economic problems, the museum was only opened in June 1991, one year after the death of Parajanov. https://parajanov.com/museum_info/

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