Attempts to Escape

March 27 - May 29, 2019 Curator: Maria Stathi
'Attempts to Escape' gallery facade. Mark Wallinger 'UN', 2010, compturer cut vinyl

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Art Seen is delighted to announce the group exhibition ‘Attempts to Escape’ opening on the 27th of March 2019. Participating artists: Spyros Anastasiou (CY), David J. Batchelor (UK), Aikaterini Gegisian (GR), Eva Marathaki (GR), Kyriakos Kallis (CY), Phanos Kyriacou (CY) Vicky Pericleous (CY), Société Réaliste (FR), Georgia Sagri (GR), Maria Theodoraki (GR), Diana Taylor (UK), Mark Wallinger (UK). The exhibition is curated by Maria Stathi and will continue until the 29th of May 2019.

The exhibition brings together a polyphony of critical voices and diverse expressions by twelve contemporary artists, working within a variety of practices and methods. The selections of works and their re-configuration in space, propose alternative situations. These situations form re-negotiations towards ways of being(s), or even set forth, devices of withdrawals from current socio-political conditionings and cultural conventions. The works could be therefore, perceived as ‘escape attempts’, of different scales, analogies and languages.

The exhibition expands towards a variation of critical approaches, touching upon themes of cycles of life and processes of living as reflected in the alchemical equation of matter and being (Spyros Anastasiou, Kyriakos Kallis), spatiotemporal quests in response to ‘situations’ (Aikaterini Gegisian, Société Réaliste, Vicky Pericleous), structures and synergies for patterns of thinking and modes of forming/making, (Phanos Kyriacou, Georgia Sagri, David Bachelor), agents of meaning and forms of translations (Diana Taylor, Maria Theodoraki, Eva Marathaki), self as mediator between identities and contexts (Mark Wallinger).

Artist Vicky Pericleous responds to the curatorial quest and further reflects the exhibitions motifs: “The works share a commonality in their persistent tempo(s) of responses and articulations towards alternative systems of thoughts that move beyond hegemonic narratives and structures of power and compliance; in respect to the cultural and the bio-political. As such, they could be thought of as extended spatiotemporal acts of resistance. Enacted, not as mere attempts to escape from the gloomy political ambience felt across the world(s). They rather constitute critical escape attempts from enclosed systems of various forms of production; and from prevailing spatiotemporal hierarchies that dominant rhetorics – as echoed through the rherotics of the current globalised crisis - impose or are plausible to do so, across geographies and histories. That affect both the individual and the collective. The proposed curatorial ‘escapisms’ come as a multitude of conceivable and therefore probable alternative possibilities to re-engage with, what Giorgio Agamben refers to as form(s)-of-life.”

Spyros Anastasiou drained attempt to perfectly curve by hand three different marble stone blocks into tear catcher vessels, becomes a repetitive act of meditation on life rituals.  The tear catcher has allegedly been used in funerary ceremonies, processions, relationship contexts, and others, though there is no evidence that either Egyptian, Greeks, Romans or Victorians used them to catch tears. They become personal alchemies within the circles and patterns of living.

Kyriakos Kallis Wasp Colonies, 2001 –now, develop as colonies of fungus within the gallery space - that weaken the notion of frame or empower the gaze towards the gap, the fluid space in between other works. These structures, as microorganisms, expand in various flows and dynamics, able to cultivate or vitiate.

The work of Société Réaliste revolves around notions of appropriation and distortion of the tools of communication of power structures such as maps, emblems, signs and architectures. They confront the concept of the ‘universal ideal’ as empowered within contexts of globalization. Through re-configurations, extrapolations and statistic interpretations, their works, subtly reveals historical evolutions and trends" and produce alternatives mappings for reading of the contemporary world. In this logic, they have conceived a software capable of calculating arithmetically the average of two music sheets. The artists have thus ‘composed’ a universal anthem resulting of the average of 193 national anthems of the U.N. member states. For the exhibition a speculative anthem of the island of Cyprus is presented, United Anthem for Cyprus, 2013 which is re-configured based on the estimation of the area in square kilometres of the North, the South, the UN Buffer Zone and the English base areas of Akrotiri & Dhekelia.

David J. Batchelor often ponders on – or thinks of - the experience of making, in the analogy of the experience of a ‘Freudian clash’: “I don't attempt to make a narrative, but it just happens. It verges on the chaos theory - making order out of the unordered." The works focus on the nature of our shifting perception and on the meaning and translation of contemporary structures. The postcard drawings, all of the same scale, are to be seen as something in between a sculpture and a recognizable image. The slippage of the painted structures are allowed to meander beyond the postcard’s frame purely to create a dialogue with the wall surface. Then consequently, to further animate the overall scene, leaving the viewer to contemplate on notions of a particular place; whether past or present.

Aikaterini Gegisian collage studies of the projectA Small Guide to the Invisible Seas’ 2015, are based on photographic albums of Soviet Armenia, Turkey and Greece, dating from the 1960s to the early 1980s. The collages, whether acting as documentation of changing landscapes, or as tourist catalogues, function above all, as nation- building mechanisms. They narrate through photography an image of each nation. The whole project as well as the book, offers a metaphysical and gendered reading of the nation-building agents; while re-shaping the original material and putting forth readings that both mimic narratives of cosmic inception (the birth of the nation) and echo feminine and masculine metaphors (mother Armenia, the father of the nation).

Divided into seven chapters that follow the logic of the Seven Seas (an idea used over centuries to describe a diverse set of geographical settings), the guide, translates the narrative of genesis not as an evolutionary progression but as a circular and synchronous connection between bodies of water.

Eva Marathaki’s video ‘The next Harry Houdini’, 20??,  is based on the famous magician's escape acts. Marathaki attempts a liberation both literal and metaphysical, as she alludes above all to the psychological confinement of (the?) Contemporary. Subjects question the innumerable social, political and financial pressures to which people are subjected. Marathakis’ neon installation ‘Called back’, 20??, is related to the American poet Emily Dickinson. The installation is an attempt to experience both, incarceration and release. The phrase called back is carved in Dickinson’s grave and has an ambiguous meaning; it is the return to earth, the ground and/or the recall of the spirit of Dickinson through her oeuvre.

In the work of Vicky PericleousFrom the Series: 'Operative Acts: Composition I’, 2019, a series of hypotheses are pushed forward to question the image’s status and locus within histor(y)ies; through an examination and re-assessment of the image’s own means, mechanisms and agents of production. Speculative tensions – that of representation and abstraction, reality and fiction, image and site, geographical and cultural imaginaries and occurrences - are performed and synchronized in a new space/ site. These operative actions re-configure a set of cultural and spatiotemporal hierarchies, to reflect on how they could consequently, overpower, re-locate or pacify both image and perception.

Mark Wallinger ‘UN-’, 2010 installation is based on his visit here in Cyprus in 2006,In the Green Zone you see the United Nations initials, black on white painted oil-cans. After a while I found I had started reading UN as UN-

The hyphen acts like a soothing balm to our sinful nature. Even if it never solved anything, even if redemption is a hangover from fainth, we couldn’t give it up.What has been done cannot be un-done. A list of nous, verbs, adjectives and adverts from the American publisher Funk & Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of the English Language, each beginning with the prefix ‘un-’ This reciprocity between mind and matter would characterize the work.” Mark Wallinger



Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 15.30 – 19.00 and by appointment.


For additional information, please contact:

Maria Stathi, Founder & Director +357 22006624 |