Director of the National Gallery Arman Tsaturyan, in his own words, being an expert in art can say that there is no specialist in Armenia who can come and look and see, for example, whether the canvases of Aivazovsky or Mark Shagal are original or duplicate.
“Aivazovsky has about 6,000 canvases,” he says, “but 12,000 canvases are twisting around the world. The great sailor has been falsified during his lifetime and there are copies of that period that it are difficult to distinguish from the original. ” Arman Tsaturyan does not exclude that there are fake canvases, about which the owners of the collection do not even know.
“I am the tenth director of this gallery,” says Tsaturyan, “and I cannot answer for the previous leaders who have worked here, neither do I want to cast a shadow. Among the leaders were Ruben Drambyan, thanks to whom we have this wonderful collection. The devotees have given life to this museum. And to say that there are many duplicates in the collections, or that gifts are given to officials, I can confidently say that today it is ruled out.
Yes, there is a defined order that the paintings of the gallery collections can decorate the walls of some state and administrative structures. However, he is personally against this order and especially the amount. But the president’s order is still valid. According to him, there is Saryan’s painting in the government, a wonderful job that would have been better to be returned to the museum, or Aivazovsky’s paintings that are in President’s residence. Paintings should be there, but but not that amiunt of paintings, it would be better to return the paintings to the gallery, finally they are public property, they belong to the people, and they have the right to see those paintings. Finally, it would be right the government to buy the picture which they want to hang in different government buildings.
When speaking about the NSS, Arman Tsaturyan mentions that he is not afraid of the NSS’s inspection, but of false news that affect the reputation of the gallery. “For three years, I have been working to raise the rating of the museum, and with one statement all the work can disappear. The museum has a century-long history, and I do not exclude that there were some dark things, but this hysteria is unclear,” he says. – I officially state that we are open for inspections. Let them insect. The NSS has hold inspections, both the Prosecutor’s Office and the PM’s control. There are 78 cameras and various security systems installed, and we continue the process to exclude such conversations.”
Arman Tsaturyan also encourages his colleagues to follow their statements and to convey accurate news. “My point, particularly, refers to the leadership of the Saryan House-Museum. Do not point at us, everyone knows everything,” says the director of the gallery.
The gallery is a great structure and there are many problems, the most urgent, according to the director, is the problem of the heat-resistent supply system. “It’s no secret that this problem comes from Soviet times, and if this continues we will lose our rich heritage. Yes, today we are trying to solve the problem as much as possible, but our forces are not enough. The issue with air conditioners will not be solved. And not in all of the floors. The centralized climate control system costs 300-400 million drams. There is a project, it has been made and submitted to the Ministry of Culture. ”
According to him, the number of canvases preserved in the funds are sufficient, but there is also the modernizing problem.
As for the new building, Arman Tsaturyan says that, according to their calculations, which was done with the help of Italian experts, the collection of funds allows the gallery to have an area of 40,000 square meters.
“The gallery has 15,700 sq. meters area and we are displaying ten per cent of our collection while presenting the whole collection would help the news on robbery to fade away.”
According to Arman Tsaturyan, the branches of the gallery cause a big problem. “There are 13 branches and are financially expensive and difficult to manage. The gallery collected money to buy a minibus for the transportation of paintings. In September, the renovated rooms of Saryan and Armenian classics will open, for which, according to him, the state did not spend a penny, they carried out these works solely by their own means. There will also be a cafe-book store. “Only on November 2 we will open a high-profile exhibition, I will not mention names, but I will say that this is an exhibition of the sculptor-painter who is equal to Michelangelo,” Arman Tsaturyan says.