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“Multiplicities” is the first exhibition to be hosted at the new cultural platform of contemporary art, Art Seen, in Nicosia. The founder and director of the project space, Maria Stathi, has invited and commissioned thirteen artists from Cyprus and abroad, to collaborate with her for this inaugural project. The artworks displayed, took shape after many visits to the artists’ studios, and through discussions on their ideas, methods and techniques. It is worth mentioning that the artistic medium of the limited edition prints and multiples, a common reference point between all the artworks, is a ‘new entry’ to the visual vocabulary of Cyprus.
The artworks seen here, ‘discuss’ with one way or another, the concept of the three-dimensional space. The human eye perceives and comprehends a three-dimensional space usually ‘without blinking’; it considers it, without hesitation, as a set of fixed points existing on a surface. The thirteen artists, doubt, oppose to and challenge the above principle, and seek to present the space they are investigating through re-imaginings and re-configurations, making it in this way volatile and polymorphous.
Substance, energy, light, shape and form, movement, language, colour, tone, the relationship between history and narration and historical fact…these are only a few of the ‘agents of change’, of the catalysts which are brought to the foreground by the artist and the viewer, so that the creative product which derives from the ‘making process’, is inevitably translated, in multiple and various ways.
In his photographic portraits Angus Braithwaite focuses on trees which, as he states, are the siblings he never had. Sensitive close-ups, lacking location, name and date; they claim new definitions using as their sole identifiable characteristic their appearance.
Gary Colclough, when he wants to be transported to better places, creates ‘portable escapisms’, “? Better Place to Live In”. The work takes its title from a 1955 cartoon called “The Hole Idea”, where ‘the whole idea’ literally transforms into ‘a hole idea’, from which the character jumps to different environments, escaping to unknown surroundings which promise him better tomorrows.
“A Way to Sculpture” by Maria Theodoraki is a series of photographs presenting ‘dispensable’ body sculpture, which is not ‘preserved’ after its serves its purpose, namely to be photographed. However, it will be misleading to call this a photographic work. The images and the title situate the artwork between mediums, and divert attention from the material object to the process of making. This shift is further encouraged by Theodoraki's remark that: “A Way to Sculpture is a series of photographs of sculptures that don’t exist”.
Eleni Kamma, in “Taking place (quietly in the middle of a fast moving world)”, plays on a mirror-like set-up of ephemerality of events and the making of history, and how these gain meaning. This series of silkscreen prints draws its inspiration from the protests that took place in Gezi park during the summer of 2013, as well as from figures of the traditional Ottoman shadow theatre, according to which figures are projected on a white muslin screen.
Time and movement sets the coordinates of Aldo Kroese’s sculptures and installations within which he conceptualises his DIY works. He combines everyday objects into “Exercises in Style” and creates a process that leads to partly controlled new compositions. Like pawns on a chessboard, the often playful works change from one state to the next in accordance with rules specified by the artist; and the owner who can re-structure the pieces depending on the space provided and his personal sense of style.
The fabric depicted in Eva Marathaki’s “Transformations” is of the highest quality; it is used for Archbishops chasubles during religious ceremonies. Such a fabric, which in this case is symbolically personified as the person who wears it, can be flawless or it may have folds, wrinkles and “dark areas”, in other words it transforms according to the wearer’s movement. The “Transformations” series is the artist’s personal interpretation of religion, religious politics and practices.
Working from his urban surroundings, Jost Münster uses shapes from fragments of facades, silhouettes and individual geometric elements. He strips away pictorial detail, flattens and collages surfaces with abstract, mosaic-like colour swatches and backgrounds. He experiments with colour and the painted surface to create a series of works that explore the reaches of representation.
Vicky Pericleous in “History Today”, pieces together archival images, as well as photographs from her personal archive, composing fragments into new environments which derive from post-colonial situations and geographical and cultural imaginaries. In these new environments, reality and myth, concepts of the familiar and the foreign, of closeness and distance, fall out of spatiotemporal definitions, creating new dialogues around the possibility of multiple narratives.
Lefteris Tapas focuses on the head, which contains the most mysterious human organ, the brain. Its function for the human being is explored; as a container of the mind, a sanctum which forbids entrance but also gives access to stimuli and information, as a chamber of ideas, fears, yearnings and repressed desires.
Amikam Toren transfigures verbal language, fragments, meaning and interpretation into visual language. In his work “A Users Guide to Married Life” he transforms the bland graphics of signage into an expression of the emotional values of a shared existence and guides the viewer during the ‘reading’ experience through symbols.
Alison Turnbull photographs botanical gardens; nature confined. At the same time, she makes diagrams, numerical tables, and architectural designs. She brings together the two in union and creates “A Garden of Numbers”. During this process of translating the disparate images into a homogenous readable visual language, the images lose their familiar ‘trademarks’ which up until this point were signifying their starting point, and end up in working together in present tense.
Marianna Christofides, in an elusive pursuit, photographically records ever-changing borders. The myth of Sisyphus, in the homonymous work, could be translated as the vicious circle of desire as a need and motivation, of painstaking effort, of devastating frustration and of the eventual return to hoping.
Savvas Christodoulides, in “The Remaining”, shifts his critical gaze towards burning issues which affect the Cypriot reality. The island’s nautical map is literally shred into pieces and then is ‘re-stitched’ using the method of collage. The process of the artwork’s production, the chopped up map, the ink ‘intervention’, as well as the suggestive title could be translated as a political comment.
“Multiplicities”; a title fit for purpose, emphasises on the artworks’ quality of existing and operating, being disseminated and read, in various ways. The visitor wishes that Art Seen, this new and much promising space, will offer him a multiplicity of experiences and understandings.
PhD candidate in the History of Art
The exhibition was inaugurated by the Mayor of Nicosia Mr. Constantinos Yiorkadjis on the 27th of March 2015.
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