Inspired by the plight of political prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Armenian artist Karen Sargsyan's Prisoners of Conscience turns paper into sculpture rich with political and historical connotation.

The artist's work has slowly developed over the course of six years. Sargsyan draws from Khodorkovsky's rather unlikely shift from Russia's richest citizen to an outspoken free speech advocate. His story involves a rigged trial, incarceration, and, ultimately, a psychological transformation.

Through costumed sculpture, Sargysan dramatizes the former oligarch's narrative with a dynamic installation of layered and painted figures. Built from folded paper, sometimes with metal framing, Sargysan's sculpture bare anguished looks functioning to express the human condition. While we generally think of paper as flat, he's able to imbue the material with lifelike gesture and emotion, giving dramatic voice to static objects.

Sargysan studied in Amsterdam, where he currently lives and works.

Prisoners of Consciousness is on view at Ambach & Rice through December 28, 2011.

Ambach & Rice, 6148 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Check out the full installation of Karen Sargysan's dynamic sculpture.