-After relocating to LA just 10 years ago, Zadikian drifted creatively, spending time healing while slowly opening himself up to new ideas. Just as he escaped an oppressive regime in order to realize freedom of expression, Zadikian abandoned the charred remains of his east-coast oeuvre to begin working with gold thanks to his interest in the mystical transformation of matter.
"I have always been fascinated with gold," Zadikian tells Creators. "It's not about its monetary value. What draws me is what it represents. It's like 'Mother.' It's warm; it's giving, it just throws off energy. It's soft and can be stretched and molded. It's the perfect material for my obsession with the ancient and primordial, with the things that never die."
When making art, Zadikian makes sure to stay in tune with his body's need to create, which usually manifests with an associated non-verbal emotion that can turn into a question with a visual response. Aside from that, however, he tries to employ as little technique as possible, despite his classical training as a sculptor under the Soviet regime.
"When I cover spaces or pieces in gold, in a way I'm attempting to immortalize the work," he explains. "But for me, and what I hope the viewer feels, it is also a moment of alien space, the emergence of a foreign object that forces us to suspend our beliefs and just be enveloped by this 'generator.'"
"I believe we are all automatically influenced every day by each other's work," Zadikian says. "It changes our thinking and direction. Something happens when we show together and build site-specific works alongside each other. It's different than, say, a studio visit or viewing work at an opening. When we run together like a group of horses, we pull more weight than we can individually. There is a psychological strength in it. The hive mind. It's a dynamic process that sparks and sustains this incredible feedback loop."-
VICE/Creators/"Precious Metal Alchemy Transmutes an Art Space in LA" by Tania M. Laden/April 2017.
-Known for his extensive use of gold and other metal leaf to create surfaces that are aesthetically, conceptually, and even politically charged, Zadikian’s presence at the Produce Market has also manifested a sort of revisiting of his 1975 NYC “Gold Spaces” projects undertaken at PS1 and his Jay Street studio, wherein he gives the whole of the interior an impossibly lavish, sensual, otherworldly gold skin of fluttering leaf. It takes forever, advancing through the space like a fairy-dust glacier, wrapping every nook and pipe and brick and cornice in its fluttering, flirty, rococo embrace.
For Zadikian, gold paint and especially gold leaf is not an imitation or an image, it is something more direct. Both natural and unnatural, its rough edges are constantly animated by the slightest breeze and shifting ambient light. It speaks to eternity, but it changes every day as the patination of its copper oxidizes and slowly turns blue-black. And gold forms are also about surface, in that the light catches every nook, every so-called imperfection in its skin. As a formal choice, this is a flaw that Zadikian sees as a feature, creating subversion, drama, and passion in the dissonance. Besides the walls, the studio hosts a glimmering meteor shower of 1000s of gilded sculptures, peppered across a large central wall, contoured like geological faces, ranging in scale from quite large to as small as one quarter of an inch.
“I left the USSR 50 years ago,” shares Zadikian. “We went through Turkey, mostly on foot. Five of us set out, only 2 made it.” Lately he has been feeling the desire to reconstitute a crew for himself, operating as he now does along wholly other kinds of borders. “This project studio can start to make a difference here in LA,” he says, by promoting constant growth inside a working studio. Not quite a co-op or collective, operating outside the commercial but yet emboldening a revolution which may well include a new financial model, and with an empathetic camaraderie that is not quite a literal collaboration — as each guest artist retains their individual voice and works site-responsively in their own methods.-
Huffingtonpost/"WALLS: A quest for immersive space in DTLA’s newest collaborative studio/project, PRODUCE HAUS" by Shana Nys Dambrot/March 2017.