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Art Seen is delighted to present Vicky Pericleous’ solo exhibition titled "The Idle Fountain". The exhibition title is taken from Jorge Luis Borges’ poem ‘Elegia de un Parque’ (Elegy for a Park), from the collection ‘Los Conjurados’ (The Conspirators), of 1985.
"The exhibition is staged around a series of speculative acts, activated towards a spatial and temporal asynchronicity of hierarchies and narratives. Images and sites re-appear as excesses –performed spectres of post-historical presences?– caught in a contemplative and constant occurrence. An ever but not lasting return. In every return, appearances and proximities differ, destabilizing the – delayed-gaze from the body, which continues to perform in its temporal site. A situation, which might recall the experience of an after-image? Triggered by excess light, the after-image remains, only for less than a second, in the apparent –quasi– gaze that the nervous system produces, while the body is already somewhere else. Could it be then, when experiencing an accentuating situation that the idle gaze, shifts? Opening the possibility towards an-other synchronicity. Of returning in an evocative elsewhere or towards a different mode of engaging with the world(s) and its means of production. Is it not, after all that within these very means of production, certain pathologies can be emerged or be sensed? This rupture emanates from a variant of scenarios. Too much sun. The camera flash. In a Ballardian sense, the alluring blaze of an –imminent– collapse." Extracts from the artist’s notes
The exhibition highlights a series of tensions between narratives and contexts, while moving, neither back nor forth, looking neither near nor far, but simultaneously, in images, spaces and sites in and beyond the gallery space. Producing an overlapping of variant scenarios –and proximities– that could, or not, extend in and out of each work. These spatio-temporal acts set up a suggestive system of mobility across spaces and temporalities, as in a meta-geographical approach. The exhibition examines not only these spaces and their representation, but also the space(s) produced between them.
The work The Eternal Return of the Sun (2020, industrial tiles, ceramics), draws on the architectural forms of a geometrical pattern, which shapes the exterior floor space of what has been for years, one of the most high-profile business centres of Nicosia, just off the gallery’s space. Fashioned in an early 90s style, as with many of the architectural buildings nearby, the floor is rescaled and reconfigured in a new, site-responsive setting in the gallery space. Its curves are reversed on the walls, suggesting an –abstracted– image of the Sun, rising or setting, which expands on the gallery floor in a geometrical alignment. The image of what appears to be a modernist site of contemplation within the gallery context, nods at the viewer, while leaving or entering the world outside the gallery walls and sets the end-point or the horizon of the installation. An evocative –other– spatiality between the interior and the exterior is nonetheless, caught in between.
Anti- model for a Future (2020, fibreglass, fake gypsum, fake-mosaic), a sculptural model of a 1930s brutalist structure, which was demolished in the late 1970s, stands on a raised platform close to the entrance of the space. This fragmental re-configuration –in scale and materials– follows a 2D and 3D architectural (re)-drawing of a pool slide/ladder based on an archival image of it. The initial structure stood in Casablanca’s municipal oceanic pool that was built in the rocks along the road to Ain Diab. Once considered the longest Olympic size pool in the world, its seawater was renewed every day by the movement of the tides and the help of a pumping station. It was part of a much wider modernist complex of pools, under the name ‘Centre Balnéaire Georges Orthlieb’, (Bathing Centre ‘Georges Orthlieb’). The Centre, a design by architect Maurice L’Herbier, was inaugurated on 14 July 1934 and formed a major leisure and sports centre for the European elites and the Moroccans, within a colonial setting; being, by all means, a captivating example of Casablanca’s post-World War I architecture booming. Under the influence of European modernist’s architecture, followed by a mixture of Americanised and international styles, this main port city and its shoreline, were led to what seemed, as an accelerating economic and urban development. The name of the Centre was given after a French chief administrator, Georges Orthlieb, a person described as passionate with physical education. His passion was said to be further stressed by his sense of an imminent World War II; particularly as Orthlieb is said to have origins from the area of Alsace- Lorraine, an area whose most of its territory was passed by the German to the French under one of the treaties of the Peace of Westphalia. The demolition of the complex gave rise to the Hassan II mosque, the second largest mosque in the world. Pseudo-gypsum and pseudo-mosaic are applied on the model’s surfaces, following local architectural structures, as well as model-casting materials; re-defining both its sculptural sense and its readings. It expands from the platform into the rest of the installation space, in an almost, overpowering gesture. Blurring –further– the spatial and contextual sovereignty of each work. Moving the gaze towards a fluidity of readings and a wider –historical– analogies.
In ‘Exercises on Elasticity’, (2017-ongoing), Proposition ??? (2020, collage, c-print, gold leaf paint), Proposition IV (2020, collage, c-print, acrylic paint), Proposition V (2020, collage, c-print, fibreglass, pseudo-mosaic, images found in the artist’s archival collection of a late 1960’s Greek Geographic Encyclopaedias, are re-proposed in anew, spatial representations. In a series of speculative processes, the images are re-composed in studio-photographing settings, and then re-worked in collage only to be photographed again. In what appear as minor gestures, new proximities are set in respect to the initial images and their contexts; extending towards –other– potentialities in how we look at –these– images today.
The work Casa (2020, coloured pencils, pastels on paper) –the Latin word for ‘house– follows the spatial representation of an archival image; that of a leisure day in the oceanic water pool of Casablanca. The brutalist construction of a slide/ladder that appears in the work is already presented as a sculptural model at the ground floor. A dazzling light overpowers and abstracts further the whole scene. A small figure can be slightly viewed at the end of the structure in an uninhabited space. A double afterimage? Of what could be an image caught in the eyes by the burning sunlight or that caught by the gaze of the imaginary? A return not to the mere ruin itself, but perhaps to a wider repetitive –historical- pattern that could be implied.
Idle Fountain (2020, clay, stones). A stone, found in Paramali beach (known as the Turtle beach), a product of a spatio-temporal interaction of nature with other, non-human organisms, –or is it, on a closer look, a burnt-clay brick?– is taken out of the artist’s collection and re-modelled anew, following its forms. This, results to a seemingly gestural abstraction of the found object. Nonetheless, in this minimum of task, the second object seems to be-coming imperative, as another –fragmental– construct of the show and its suggestive narratives.
In The Image’s Tail (2020, two channel video, sound) a re-assemblage of archival videos of the artist’s various occurrences with and within different environments, while travelling across her homeland, is presented not in the actual gallery space but on the gallery’s website during the exhibition dates. On one of the screens, the window of a Turkish-Cypriot building in Paphos, now used as an office by a Greek Cypriot, flickers its lights from time to time. The shape of the windows recalls the floor pattern outside the gallery and the pattern of the abstracted sun inside its space. On the second screen, a flow of various spaces are presented, from near the gallery space (a building façade with a pseudo-modernist exterior ladder, the business centre under which the geometrical floor patterns exists), or from across the island (a swimming pool hidden in the mountains, a rundown structure along a water pond in the winter forest, a seafront scenery of a beach town, a 1960s fountain that was never used). All these, are repetitively interrupted by scenes of a peacock moving on the roof of a house in a rural village of Cyprus, which the artist happened to stumble across. While moving towards the imaginary, these spaces converse in errant manners to the works presented in the gallery, setting a different trajectory of possible narratives.
Vicky Pericleous is a visual artist and assistant professor at Frederick University, in Cyprus. She has studied at Manchester Metropolitan University, Wimbledon School of Art, London, and the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. Pericleous’ work investigates her interest in examining and producing images where environments, gestures and encounters oscillate between the familiar and the alien, the ruin and the model, and notions of the near and far, in respect to postcolonial situations and geographical and cultural imaginaries. The idea of the fragment as well as spatiotemporal proximities and speculations are negotiated throughout her artistic oeuvre.
Her work has shown in exhibitions at various international venues including Espace Commines, Paris, Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenburg, Zahoor Ul Akhlaq Gallery of the National College of Arts, Lahore, Multiplied Art Fair, Christie’s, London as well as in various private galleries abroad. She has also exhibited in Evagoras Lanitis Centre, Limassol, and NiMAC –Municipal Art Centre, Omikron Gallery, Art Seen, Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation, amongst others, all in Nicosia. Pericleous exhibited in Monodrome, the 3rd Athens Biennale, and at Sanat Limani, as part of the European Capital of Culture Istanbul 2010. She has initiated and participated in the international visual-research project “Uncovered: Nicosia International Airport,” 2010-13. She has been an active member of the Noise of Coincidence Art Group, an international art group/platform that has organised several exhibitions, actions, happenings and talks in Cyprus and abroad.
The exhibition is made possible under the close collaboration and support of architect Eleni Loizou, for the architectural drawings of model / architectural drawings of installation (2D & 3D) of Anti- model for a Future, 2020, the architectural drawings of the installation and the supervision of The Eternal Return of the Sun,2020 and her constant feedback throughout the exhibition preparation and installation, ceramist Vasos Demitriou and Eleftheria Demitriou for making possible the ceramic work of ‘The Eternal Return of the Sun’, 2020, and director Panagiotis Charalambous for the audio-visual support of the work ‘The Image’s Tail’, 2020.
———Exhibition supported by the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture———
Due to the developing public health crisis, Art Seen gallery is temporarily closed from Monday the 16.03.20
We look forward to re-opening the gallery in the near future and welcoming you soon.
For additional information, please contact:
Maria Stathi, Founder & Director +357 22006624 | email@example.com