Bizarre or trending subjects, catch a break with our curiosity of the week. Photographer Karen Khachaturov merges together utopia and dystopia in his pop, pastel universe.

Born in Armenia, Karen Khachaturov, 27, turned to photography in 2014, after spending many years wishing to be a compositor. His creations quickly stirred up interest among the art world, and two years later, his work was exhibited in Tbilisi, then Cuba, Beijing, Israel and New York. The artist has been developing a conceptual and pastel universe, inhabited by strange beings. “My approach to the medium is surrealist, sarcastic and colourful at the same time”, says the artist, who has meticulously built his own world, a timeless place whose colours – although they are not edited – are reminiscent of a disappearing retro era. In his artificial settings, men and women appear here and there, their faces covered by numerous accessories.

Going beyond the world of dreams

“The colours composing my scenes symbolise utopia, and these strange characters, dystopia”, Karen Khachaturov tells us. Though the simplicity of the compositions incites an easy understanding of the images, these quirky details invite illogicality into the narration. This gap, this border between ordinary and absurdity fascinates the photographer. A disturbing strangeness which seems to inspire our subconscious. Who are these anonymous women hiding their heads in tubes? What do those animal masks represent? The artist does not wish to answer these questions, as he would rather give the viewers the freedom to let their imagination run wild. Turned into curious creatures, the figures occupying this pink and apparently innocent theatre dare to go beyond the world of dreams, entering our reality. A false lightness the author also uses in another project, dedicated to his grand-father, suffering from cancer. In these pictures, he directs him with humour, thus demystifying the notions of fear, old age, and mourning.

© Karen Khachaturov