“Architectural Monsters,” Samvel Saghatelians’s (Sam Saga) evolving series of drawings, sketches, and paintings, is a study in the phantasmagoric mutation of the human form into architectural monstrosities. As it develops, the series will also comprise sculptures and installations. Saghatelian draws inspiration from the outrageous kitsch emblematic of the nouveau riche, particularly in developing nations, which often manifests itself in newly built palatial residences or commercial towers that scream power, individuality, and a scale that aims to eclipse the rest of the metropolis. In devising the central theme of the series, Saghatelian also taps into Japanese monster myths and horror movies featuring mechanical leviathans. Whereas architecture serves as a concretized expression of a given culture’s zeitgeist – its artistic aspirations, collective concerns, fears, and positioning vis a vis the future – the architectural monsters which Saghatelian references are disconnected from their milieus, pointing at a grotesqueness that both subverts and transcends prevalent values and delimitations. These monstrosities – the human machine bolstered by mortar and steel – ultimately come into being as statements of pure ego, intent on rocking the boat but also wrenching control of it. Saghatelian is interested in seeing the boundaries of respectability and taste being pushed as far as the imagination can accommodate, revealing a fascination with the sheer creativity involved in ostentation, extravagance, and garishness. Thus his architectural monsters can be not only ridiculous and pathetic, but at turns cute and even touching in their folly. Trained as an architect, Saghatelian also explores the possibility of actually building the monsters portrayed on his canvases. Were these human-shaped structures to be constructed in the real world, Saga believes that they would symbolize the essential, prowling monstrosity of the postmodern psyche: a state of sustained loneliness and uncertainty redeemed by selfishness and rapacity, often culminating in an unprecedented level of grotesque chic.