MODUS OPERANDI Modus Operandi 2017 (MO.17), deals with emerging artists under the age of 35, and during their early professional stage. It aims to present a matrix of practices, as well as their connections to local culture and the world, as they currently stand. The program aims to create the conditions for an animated and potentially, expanding archive that documents today, as well as in the long run, the artistic vigour of local artists. Taking the form of a publication, website and exhibitions, it allows anyone interested, on either a local or international level, to connect directly with artists whose work resonates with their interests. Consequently, the archive offers an overview of an emerging art scene in Cyprus, creating a place for meetings, discussion and exchange. Modus Operandi is a project realised by The Visual Artists Association (EI.KA), which was founded in 2006 in Nicosia by a small group of artists. Today, it represents a large number of professional artists and art theorists, who work for the promotion and progress of local art and culture. The aim of the association is to support the rights of artists and to create a legal framework for the status of the artist, including medical care, social security and pension allowance.
Photo from the workshop Beyond Event Horizon
IDENTIFYING AND DOCUMENTING PRACTICES OF NEW CYPRIOT ARTISTS The project MO.17 Young artists from Cyprus has been designed right from the outset as an open process that attempts to activate artistic and critical potentiality, to empower smaller groups and to allow voices which are just emerging to be heard. The work of the younger generation of Cypriot artists constitutes a privileged field of research, as it largely remains unknown and unexplored, theoretically and curatorially, not only for young artists who have just begun their quest, but also for preceding generations. The project focuses on an in-theprocess artistic reality, seeking to explore the dynamics and vitality of the younger generation of Cypriot artists, active both in Cyprus and outside. In a fluid landscape of intense sociopolitical transformations, this research attends to new perspectives, experiences, languages and possibilities, and to processes that shape the artistic present. It wonders about the trends and practices, experiments and pursuits, experimentations and orientations of young artists.Without predisposing conclusions or imposing a priori readings or predefined and closed formations, the project MO.17 asks about the unique features of contemporary artistic activity in Cyprus. Namely, how experiences of displacement, nomadic mobility, and practices of convergence between the local and global shape an artistic reality, both local and, at once, beyond the local. How do young artists position themselves in relation to issues around history, politics, and collective memory? Which concerns are central to a search and redefinition of an artistic identity? What do new artistic practices of exchange and self-organizing approaches in times of recession look like? The main focal point of MO.17 is to conduct field research. It is structured in sections and/or stages that are, on the one hand, distinct, and on the other, permeate each other, working as a mental map that determines different stages of the research process, the subject, the objectives, the methodology, the limitations and the possibilities in a dialectical and interchanging formation. Adopting a research orientation, MO.17 aims to surpass the shortlived character that respective curatorial undertakings which focus on momentum, usually have. It also seeks to create a foundation for research, which will constantly evolve and move beyond its moment of implementation, opening into the future. Tina Pandi Art Historian, Curator, Collections Department National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST)
COMMUNICATING VESSELS The title of the exhibition Communicating vessels is taken from a scientific experiment of the same name: in vessels joined by a tube, a gas or liquid passing from one to the other rises to the same level in each, whatever the form of the vessel. The metaphor is used in André Breton’s surrealist manifestation, Les Vases Communicants (1932). At the centre of the book lies the principal image of the dream as small blood vessels between the exterior world of facts and the interior world of emotions, between reality and imagination. A strategy that fits within the framework of psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud’s theories on dreams and the unconscious mind. This passing back and forth between two modes (or two communicating vessels) is shown to be the basis of surrealist thought. Breton states that surrealism strives to “cast a conduction wire between the far too distant worlds of waking and sleep, exterior and interior reality, reason and madness.” The importance of the “communicating vessels,” the swinging doors, and the connecting wires as images of primary importance are associated with Breton’s intense and unshakeable sense of the doubleness of everything. These contrasts can be bridged only by a sort of miracle. A point sublime where contrasts merge.
Casting a “conduction wire” and the literal interpretation of the title Communicating vessels underlies the concept of the exhibition. The artists of Modus Operandi 2017 tend to use the heritage and environment of Cyprus as a material (sometimes directly) in their work. More specifically, the use of ceramics and clay is a striking feature. This is a global tendency in the arts today, but in Cyprus there is an obvious connection with its Cypriot pottery heritage. Ceramics are perhaps the most ubiquitous of all art forms to have emerged from human history. Artists and artisans working with ceramics have steadily contributed to the art world for centuries. From prehistoric pottery to ancient Greek amphoras, from porcelain in Asia to the Arts and Crafts movement in England, ceramic traditions have long fascinated artists and infiltrated their practices. The vessel has a functionality in daily life (storage and transport vessels, jugs, cups, bottles and vases for luxury goods (oils, perfumes, flowers, etc.)) and in specific ceremonies and rituals, like funerary offerings. The vessel is intrinsic to human life and communicates social, political and economic meanings. Despite many new approaches within the ceramic discourse, most traditions, no matter where they are located, have as their initial premise, a connection with food, drink and storage. There is a consistent link of ceramics with
civilized life and the body. Furthermore, the body is also a vessel, containing the organs, bones and blood vessels. According to Breton, the dream belonged to the territory of the Capillaries, the smallest of a body’s blood vessels that make up the microcirculation. These microvessels, which measure around 5 to 10 micrometres in diameter, connect arterioles and venules, and help to enable the exchange of water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and many other nutrients and waste substances between the blood and the tissues. Many of the tenets of surrealism (seen in the Dada movement earlier), with an emphasis on automatism, experimental uses of language, and found objects are still seen in contemporary art today, and in the exhibition, Communicating Vessels. For the exhibition, the works made of ceramics, clay and other materials will cast a “conduction wire” between body and mind, ratio and emotion, fiction and nonfiction, inside and outside, functional and nonfunctional, and, the conscious and unconscious mind. In the exhibition, there are two ceramic vases in the shape of feet on display. The ceramic feet are made by Raissa Angeli and carry the mysterious title, Tom waz here! (written with a Z like in graffiti tagging). But one is left wondering: who is Tom? And where is Tom now? Tom has been placed in different exhibitions (like an exhibition in an apartment next to a TV), where Tom has left his presence. An expression that comes to mind when watching the sculpture is the English idiom, “feet of clay”: a weakness or hidden flaw in the character of a greatly admired or respected person. The origin of this metaphor is from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in The Book of Daniel, in reference to the statue of an idol: “His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay”. In the work of Angeli, which revolves around useless planes, sun bathing and burial sacrifices, faulty perception, values and valuation, tutorials and cosmology, one always detects a sign of the absurd. Even though the feet are not made of clay but of ceramics, one can imagine Tom as the hero with the hidden flaw who fell of his pedestal. Michael Charalambous takes his material and shapes from the urban and natural environment of Cyprus and transforms them into new sculptural forms and poetic narratives. In his work, he refers to Avant Garde cinematography, archaeological artifacts and everyday functional objects. In his most recent work, made of plaster, concrete, steel and clay, he uses two kind of vessels: the traditional Cypriot
pottery and modern-day water storage vessels. In the exhibition, one may discover the concrete casts of water bottles, but other futuristic shapes are not easily recognizable. In fact, Charalambous took these geometric shapes from large water containers. The transformation of everyday (functional) objects and historical pottery into new playful and poetic installations show us their temporality and, at the same time, their timelessness. The practice of Lilia Chatzigeorgiou focuses on the concept of archaeology and the notions of deconstruction and reconstruction. In most of her works, she uses her body as primary material. As an archaeologist she makes specimens with cement, beeswax and plaster of her own body parts, as a way to reveal and confront her personal obsessions and fears. Chatzigeorgiou sees a link in our deeply rooted urge for excavations and archeological findings, as an escape from the temporality of our existence. In For the exhibition, Chatzigeorgiou presents a new work, an installation of a DIY diving board and old postcards from Cyprus. The work is accompanied by an absurdist instruction on how to make the diving board yourself, at any moment. Perhaps, a metaphor for diving into the unknown and confronting your fears, or as Chatzigeorgiou calls it, “exercises of bravery”. In the writings, storytelling and performances of Dimitris Chimonas, personal anecdotes and collective memories come together. His main interest of research is in the friction between the personal and the social. In his early performance, A Pigs Heart in your Box, he recited all the characters’ lines from Disney’s SnowWhite and the Seven Dwarfs, in front of a muted television, manipulating a number of objects, while sublimating and putting in perspective his relationship to the narrative of the film. For Birthday, he sang the birthday tune and blew out candles repeatedly for 24 hours, allowing a series of unexpected emotions to occur. Chimonas along with En.act theatre group will perform a performance that includes clapping and the participation of the audience. A clap is the percussive sound made by striking the palms of the hands together in order to create noise. When it’s done quickly and repeated, it will express appreciation or approval as with an applause, but also in its rhythm, as a form of body percussion to match the sounds in music, dance, chants, hand and clapping games. In the outside space of the exhibition, one encounters eight large inverted concrete holes made by Peter Eramian. The sculptures are part
of the Minimal (2016) series, where white concrete was poured into holes, which Eramian later excavated. The name of the work and the performative gesture make reference to dirty minimalism and land art practices. Eramian, himself, describes his practice as working with tensions between irony, representation, and affect. Through (site-specific) installations incorporating sculpture, light and text, Eramian uses irony and absurdism as tools to break existing structures and policies. Moreover, the excavation of the concrete holes can also be seen as a satisfaction (like squeezing a blackhead) or even sexual manifestation. Ancient Cypriot art in combination with the recent political corruption is the soil on which the work of Evi Pala takes shape. With a specific focus on her hometown, Paphos, having recently been defamed with multiple political scandals, is used as an example of corrupted political behaviour on the island. Pala constructs narratives through traditional means, by recording obscurities of recent political history and current events, mockingly “historicizing” them. The pseudo-historical vases on view in the exhibition do not aesthetically deviate from the familiar ancient artifacts already found. On a closer look, one sees a modern tennis player and a computer window carefully painted on the vases. By taking something that already exists and construing it to fit a different context, Pala mirrors a collective social structure in Cyprus that attempts to create a “legacy” for itself. The practice of Michelle Pandeli revolves around the concept of liquidity. During her research on water substance, she focused on its natural characteristics but also its intrinsic value: water’s financial value, its role and vital importance. In A Composition of Containers (2015-2016) she uses the green water container, which transfers water and is widely used in Cyprus, as the cause of a personal, rational and practical expression. Pandeli’s father used to travel for 80 kilometers each Sunday in order to supply his home with drinking water: from the green container to another jar and then in a glass which finally ends up in the body. Nayia Savva’s Bye consists of an adaptation of her previous work hi, a text originally published digitally by Radical Reading (Petros Morris and Evangelia Ledaki, 2016). Hi narrates the everyday thoughts and unanswered questions of a character, blurring the boundaries between himself, his home and the information he gets from the internet. Bye implicates the narration of hi recounted by Despina Rangou and a sculpture that acts as the container of the narration. The concrete prop that functions as an abstract stand-in for
the remains of a shelter will eventually remain in the exhibition, acting as a fossil. Savva’s earlier work was concerned with creating narratives through curating and abstraction. She explored systems of repetition and alternation applied to grids and selfreference, mainly through drawing, sculpture and language. Korallia Stergides explores the term utterance through her concept of “the third body” as the trace of a relationship in an exchange, by creating a parity in differences. Forms of hyper collage and editing are gateways between the Macrocosm and Microcosm, sieving autobiographical narrative and ecological fact to create new myth. By interweaving influences across disciplines, she extends her choices of collaboration and remoulding frameworks of experimental methodology that adhere to interruption and allow for a process led practice. The film on view is a poetic response to the Whale Skeletal Structures in The Natural History Museum Archives, exploring the space and bones as containers of liveliness and the phantom limbs that float within it. This footage is juxtaposed with video recordings of a Whale bone found in Baggy Point, Devon that has, on quite the contrary, fossilized in its exposure to life’s activity. The main practice, Maria Theodorou & Stefani Stylianou, (Dia.gnosis) is based on everyday life’s communication and struggle for interaction, as well as reaching a harmony of in human relationships. Their sculpture and video art installations come to life with the use of sound which compliments the work even more. Using the human body as their main “tool” to create their sculptures, they seem to emphasize the discord as well as the connection of humans throughout a life journey. A constant collision, converting space and time into an existing memory, which brings energy into play as the main element of the work. An energy that derives from two or more individual auras, forming one, which is seeks to explain the uniqueness of a moment. Sound is a voyage of an archive of memories that travel through time, and carry strong emotional charges within this sole act of rhythm between two vessels or two bodies. In their most recent work, they introduce a performance as one of three parts of their work while working on a larger scale abstract from sculpture and drawings. Artist and curator, Maria Toumazou, investigates migration patterns of modernist design items from luxury to utility and consumption. Mirroring social interpretations and the process of displacement from an imaginary public to an absolute private sphere. For the exhibition, the work Zoi (clay woman) and Golden award is on view.
“Zoi” is an ancient word and a common female name in Cyprus and Greece, which means life or creation. In some world religions and mythologies, a miraculous birth theme is the creation of humans from clay and water. Revealing and concealing comes to play in this installation, unraveling outlines of the body in the water and clay on the layered plastic bags, which resembles a shroud or a relic. Leontios Toumpouris moves between disciplines to investigate the appropriation of qualities, properties, methodologies, and gestures, and to invent ways to physically manifest transitions. In his recent practice, he conducted a shift from painting to its sculptural embodiment, while negotiating ideas of representation and abstraction. Departing from painting, A moment in remembering matter consists of a site-sensitive installation where clay goes through different stages of production in a non-linear manner to create a cryptic narrative. Chunks of wet, dry or fired clay at two different temperatures (1060°C and 1260°C) are arranged in the space to suggest a production process. Clay embodies transitions and narratives due to its origin. Its painterly quality and mutability allows the development of haptic relationships within making. It further allows Toumpouris to deal with the processual aspect of making, and the imprint of the human body in performance.
Julia Geerlings is a Dutch independent curator and writer based in Amsterdam and Paris. Geerlings studied Art History at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and at the Freie Universität in Berlin. She contributes regularly to magazines and publications, and was a guest editor for Metropolis M. Her curatorial work focuses on the presentation of contemporary art in unusual locations, such as churches, canal houses, garages, window shops, and former military forts. Her curatorial practice has been influenced by the notions of ‘context responsive curating’, in which location and context (social, economic and political) are considered. In line with these notions, she organized exhibitions and performances at Oude Kerk Amsterdam, Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen, Thomaskerk, HKU Media, Galerie van Gelder and Le Moinsun, and was curator-in-residence at Rupert in Vilnius and at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York. Geerlings is currently tutor at HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, advisor for the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts and CBK Rotterdam, and is curator-inresidence at Mains d’Œuvres.
‘Ecstatic Textures’ is a performative formulation that operates within the cultural form of the group exhibition. It attempts to celebrate the great diversity of artistic action, mediate the great multiplicity of gestures of young artists that are not governed by a single point of departure or arrival, and seeks to make space for the enunciation of new connections, cultivating a capacity of speaking-with-others that rests upon touches that fashion and perceive the qualities of ecstatic texturing - a texturing that challenges assumptions that touch upon the sensory aspect of the experiential and the experiential as a capacity that lends a new sense to cultural processes. For a younger generation of artists, which is responding to its own challenges, callings and experiences, creating work is also an issue of affecting the many differential chains of positioning in which they find themselves, negotiating ‘that-whichregions’ with the ‘pre-reflective ‘felt’ textures of praxis’ . The liveliness (or sense of urgency) that this affection carries becomes operative when it crosses the (cultural) demand of demonstrating its efficacy within material and symbolic flows. Such a flow, operating around a great concentration of artistic activity and in contemporaneity with many others, is the presence of artist-run spaces and independent initiatives in the country. Artists develop platforms that negotiate their presence in society and bring attention to conditions, as varied as the artist as a working body and the value of experimentation, affecting a mood generative of spatial and temporal textures, in ways that effectively blur and disrupt the discursive coherence between areas normally demarcated as “art production”, “the artwork” and its “reception”. In conjunction with the development of a digital world as a continuous flow of images operating on platforms that allow instant sharing of (art) documentation, giving it the quality of a symbiotic intensity, the shift towards process, participation, and the murmur of discourses that develop in communities that embrace multidisciplinarity and collaboration can be extended and become tangential to the subject matter and tactics chosen by artists. Using this context as a starting point, the social and political dimension that informs this regime of art production and exhibition on the island at this moment, is recognised as a chance to develop a tangential discourse which is focused on the tactics and materiality of artistic practices, which challenge both the conscious and unconscious registers of our being(with). To perceive this multiplicity of gestures requires the opening up of new synaesthetic paths. Artists inscribe the spaces and times of the works,
and the exhibition space, esoteric measurements that articulate the spacing of political and other bodies, the circulation of mnemonics of the self and their probing of (historical) time. These paths are negotiations that colour encounters that do not adhere to giving sense to demarcation lines; instead, they make thresholds pulse and push experience, with great speed (accelerating at a rhythm that surprises even the desire that gives it drive) into spaces that host unvoiced (or perhaps unheard) proximities and intimate distances. The exhibition space becomes an “…offsite diagram of a new collective spatial assemblage of enunciation” . Every work is a proposition to the senses and a challenge to rethink political, economic and art loops ‘in-between the lines’ and in a way that creates myriad idiomatic textures, by explicating the ‘… intensive local recording of the global expressivity-movement of the traits of expression’ . The work of Anastasia Mina is characterised by processes that (un)do the image. She chooses photographs which she then textures via labourintensive processes, like screenprinting and drawing. Often working in a larger scale, she frustrates our capacity to take in the whole picture and invites us into a game of decipherment, where contingent pictorial elements rise up, demand our attention and challenge the politics of visibility. Mina finds ways to investigate the assumptions that stick to (historical) facts by probing our sensibility to awaken to the intricacies of image-presence and its ways of lying, by revealing the image as a desiring-machine that attaches itself to the performative contradiction of ‘I am lying’. Of special importance to her is the effect of time upon the material surface. In Untitled IV (2017), she prints photographs from her personal archive on sandpaper, creating fragile imprints on a surface imbued with the capacity to host the traces of change: the desiring-machine assumes its material identity and enters the flow of time. Victoria Leonidou addresses memory as a kaleidoscopic mechanism that creates and substantiates personal and collective histories. In Fold (2016), she refolds the star (symbol of the Soviet Union, where she spent her childhood) and casts it in concrete, allowing the work to touch on memories of ubiquitous symbols that schedule the continuous refraction of symbolic efficacy, on a surface of an everydayness that could no longer be. The power of a material to elicit emotional responses, when it is paired with a history of monumentality and tied to a narrative of development that is currently being undone, makes operative the aporias of materiality in
culture, monumentality and the space that the subject occupies within them. Ιn I only knew it was there II (2016) Sophia Papacosta treats the landscape as a field of material and immaterial traces. Continuing her exploration of drawing as a field marked by the erasures and subtractions of the images of memory, she negotiates the spacing of temporal distances that often appear small and yet are imbued with chasms whose proportions are difficult to fathom. Central to her practice is the effort to convey images that rest in-between the past and the present, expressing an atmosphere of phenomenological indeterminacy. The drawing thus becomes part of an exploration of the scale of natural elements when confronted with the lived measurement of the body. In the work of Evelyn Anastasiou, one finds a preoccupation with the textures of music and the experiences that adhere to it as essential binding elements of (sub)cultures. In A Shipwreck of A Man, 8 pm Tonight (2017) a photograph from the original performance of Benjamin Britten’s ‘Noye’s Fludde’  is printed in Prussian blue (a pigment used for expressing atmospheric distance, especially in landscapes and seascapes) using the technique of woodblocking. Detail is thus a matter of negative inscription and the audience can only work through the image via a confrontation with the gradients of colour. The experience of wholeness, elevated by the diptych’s pictorial composition, in time and in light reveals its lack of constancy, bringing our attention to the differential sensory effects of environmental and cultural relationships. In the work of Kyriakos Theocharous, an interest in technique meets an interest in scientific imagery. The round lens of the microscope becomes for him, a machinic eye with which one can discover more than meets the eye, allowing for a maddening crossing from macrocosms to microcosms. In Chromosomes (2016), he uses the technique of collography, adding textures to the invisible, allowing us to image/imagine the whirlwind of a world denied to us by simple observation. Playing up on the nature of printing to produce multiples, Theocharous’ series of Chromosomes highlights how printing processes often involve an element of mediating what happens in the space where things go awry and the duplication goes “out of control”. In the work of Adonis Archontides, one finds a preoccupation with the history of the name, Adonis, and the circulation of mnemonics of the self. Through his work, he effects a special type of handling cultural and personal memories, tinting the various
histories of the name with current political concerns. “What if the name is repeated not in order to be heard by the namesake, but to be set as a name by the speaker, by the actual bearer of the name?”  Archontides’ interest lies in the interplay of the (non)transparency of experience and the loop between the failure of intentions and of our political predicament, as creative forces that can be utilized. The condition of “living with names” is put to test, and expressed through the creation of gardens, whose life cycle acts as a metonymy for the cycle of human life, growth and death. Maria Andreou is interested in language as a material because of its abundance. Language is something that everyone can potentially use and its use by one does not exhaust its capabilities for others: a prime material for texturing, since it allows everyone to touch upon it. Language games also figure largely in her work. In Nicosia Green Earth (2017) she exploits the difference in phonetic repetition and continues to explore language as a groundless ground where processes of subjectivation meet the injunctions of commodified vacuums. By creating pigments with a distinct locality (like terra verde) she makes tangible the invisible topos of language. In many ways an allegory of crossings, Panayiotis Mina’s project Hawaaiprus (2017) elaborates via various media, the story of Polyhaos, a man who in the search for knowledge researched a place from afar and then, won over by descriptions, embarked on a visit. In the transition from the non-empirical to the empirical, Polyhaos’ knowledge is enriched by sensation and he started creating his own documents of knowledge in the form of music. His story is interrupted by his banishment from Hawaaiprus, but the crime is never located. In Artist’s Impression of Polyhaos (2017), Mina (re)creates from a matrix of possible descriptions, the polymorphic face of Polyhaos. Playing upon the trope of “artist’s impression”, the portrait is described by the artist as being in the vein of police sketches, drawn up from descriptions of the accusers. AnnaMaria Charalambous creates installations that aim to immerse the viewer into a liminal space of the unrepresentable-as-such. Charalambous is interested in the performative inscription of the artist in the time it takes to make the work, and, in this way, combines the pure fact of her existence with fiction, moving inbetween the two terrains to create visual cues that reveal as much as they hide, that aim to transform our experience in the gallery space from one of presentness to one of embracing the ambiguity of experience. Charalambous often works with sound installation, as a means of introducing the human voice (that remains disembodied) thus
creating an uneasy feeling of, on the one hand, being instantly comforted by the recognition of the voice, and on the other hand, being confused by what these voices say, as they speak from the liminal terrain of fiction/reality. Marina Xenofontos’s practice encompasses many mediums and processes. She has embraced a process of appropriation that she has developed through her work with an archive found by chance, operating under the title We are not alone, we are a fly in the milk of infinity. By combining her exploration of the current cultural landscape with the words of the diaristic entries of Christophoros Kyriakides, she has unleashed a process whereby the present is expressed through the enunciation of an appropriative principle that allows the ‘redistribution of the sensible’ . The sculpture presented here is a material rendering of one of Kyriakides’ sketches, with Xenofontos taking on the intense process of bringing to the fore, the symbolico-political stakes that kept Kyriakides “out of circulation”. In The Present Moment (2015-ongoing), a research project investigating the slippage between the performative into the experiential, Anthi Pafiou has been developing tools that allow participants of experimental workshops to explore intersubjective contours of the shared instant. Involving tactics such as rituals and methodological tools that focus on the disruption of the flow of language and gesture, Pafiou acts as a mediator of syncopal situations, leading us back into a consideration of how we interact with the many stimuli that are around us.  Rosenthal, Sandra B., Time, Continuity and Indeterminacy, 2000. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press  Alliez, Éric and Bonne, Jean-Claude, Un-doing the image Vol. 1, Falmouth, United Kingdom: Urbanomic Media Ltd, p.46  Alliez, Éric and Bonne, Jean-Claude, Un-doing the image Vol. 1,Falmouth, United Kingdom: Urbanomic Media Ltd, p.44  ‘Noah’s Flood’ is a one-act opera, written by Benjamin Britten (19131976) intended primarily for amateur performers, particularly children. First performed on 18 June 1958 at that year’s Aldeburgh Festival, it is based on the 15th-century Chester ‘’mystery’’ or ‘’miracle’’ play which recounts the Old Testament story of Noah’s Ark. Britten specified that the opera should be staged in churches or large halls, not in a theatre.  Janša, Janez, Collaterality And Art, Parse Journal, University of Gothenburg. Accessed online at http://parsejournal. com/article/collaterality-and-art/ [11.09.2017]  Rancière, Jacques, The Politics of Aesthetics, London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013
Evagoras Vanezis (born 1988, Nicosia) holds a master’s in Research in Art Theory and Philosophy from Central Saint Martins. He is an arts writer and curator working mainly within the tenet of post-conceptual art, the problematic of contemporaneity and the relation between art and biopolitics. Often working directly with artists, his practice develops through encounters with the conceptual bearings of each artist’s practice. Along with Evagoria Dapola (curator and writer) he founded Scale Appropriate, a curatorial initiative active in the field of exhibition-making and digital curation, mixing a discourse on the problematic of scale as a selfreferential node of positioning with a discourse on audience development. His essays have been included in exhibitions, catalogues and art publications. Recent writings include the essays, ‘Business Plan’ (for Peter Eramian), ‘Exhaustion’ (for Phanos Kyriakou), ‘A Land Rover Approached the Village’ (for Neoterismoi Toumazou) and two essays for the exhibition catalogue, Planetes, specifically, ‘The Gaze of the World’ (for Yorgos Petrou) and ‘Navigation within arcane signs’ (for Marina Xenofontos). Curatorial work includes the exhibition ‘Vanity: How to Enjoy Burning Bridges You Haven’t Built’ (Scale Appropriate, February 2017). He has worked with alternative education platforms in the United Kingdom and is affiliated with Visual Artists Association, Cyprus.
DISPLACEMENT AS A STATE OF MIND In the contemporary world, as defined by globalization, the intense mobility of people, goods, capitals, information and images, structures a global network of exchanges, diverse representations and discussions among participators of different cultures. Due to this rapid circulation of humans, things and data, the notion of displacement has evolved soon to become a way of living, which functions towards a twofold direction: on the one hand, it appears as an omen of a prosperous overcoming of space and time in regard to the limitless potentials of a global flow of goods and ideas; on the other, it strengthens, in many ways, the feeling of loss of the physical experience of space and meaning-making time, and challenges the ideas of locality, memory and identity. Displacement, either as a connection or disruption in the continuity of place, time, movement, relationships, reminiscence, history and identity is addressed in the work of contemporary artists in diverse ways. For the Modus Operandi 2017 program, a dynamic group of Cypriot artists of the new generation is involved with the theme of displacement as a common thread of the perception of a contemporary reality in constant flux, which influences their artistic practices and defines characteristics of their artistic language and its social engagement. The contemporary momentum of a globalized present time dictates artists’ positioning as “kaleidoscopes gifted with consciousness”, as participants and critical readers of this cultural interchange, which influences them with new aspects and perspectives, while in a “nomadic” movement in the quest for educational and professional openings in their country and abroad. Yet, their interest in this continual “rearrangement” of cultural material from one location or context to another derives also from their introspection of the past and the identity of their origin: Cyprus has over the centuries been an epicenter of commerce, travel and exchange of ideas, as well as a land where crucial moments in politics and history have formed different perceptions of the place.
In light of the above, artists participating in the exhibition Displacement as a state of mind employ displacement as a matter in their artworks in order to reflect on the current consciousness of this social phenomenon, in general. At the same time, however, they apply the idea of displacement to their language as a mode for (re-)constructing actual “unattended” narratives. What appears dynamically in their works is a search
and a focus on elements that belong to codified or fixed environments in order to approach them anew under the gaze of a critical overview. By mapping memory processes or moments of history, by engaging with the physicality of space and place, by localizing and contextualizing findings of certain loci or by re-appropriating found objects, the artists reverse the adverse effects of displacement and take advantage of it as a process, either for a new access or to return to additional knowledge, strong responses and interpretations on situations concerning space and time, landscape and memory, homeland, history and identity. Some artists show a specific interest in the idea of displacement of images and aspects of history and heritage, in an effort to re-contextualize them and to discuss their prevailing or underlying sociocultural narrations. Local Studies (2015-ongoing) by Stelios Kallinikou is a series of photographs of natural and urban Cypriot topography in which the artist blurs the boundaries between depictions of everydayness and connotations of ideologies and myths that define the island’s identity. Kallinikou captures rather abstract, yet symbolically strong narrative landscapes, which include objects or instances that highlight distinctive and noticeable characteristics concerning notions of birthplace, memory or national history. Either by visually bridging or by isolating his subject’s themes, Kallinikou documents both the natural – mountains, seasides, tree areas – and the urban environment – buildings, monuments, everyday objects – raising questions on how this environment is shaped via collective action and memory, and how it is critically approached via personal readings. Point edge (2017) is a site-specific installation by Yorgos Petrou in which clay objects and sherds collected within the outer perimeter of Cypriot archaeological sites are appropriated by the artist. By reenacting an “ancient setting”, Petrou begins a vivid discourse between contemporary objects and fragments deriving from the past. More specifically, he examines the impact of the island’s archaeological, historical and geological stratification and identity on the perception of the value of specific objects and places, as well as on how these become contemporary sites of memory, legend or trauma. As if an archeologist, he “excavates” elements that are considered common, therefore insignificant to archaeological knowledge. These found objects receive new meaning as he displaces
them from their origin and manipulates their historical substance and aura as remains able to initiate the life of a contemporary work. Marios Constantinides also treats the idea of displacement in his work, by combining disparate cultural elements and expanding their capacities as imageries with potential new meaning. Working as a freelance illustrator of antiquities, Constantinides has studied and recorded numerous patterns and symbols depicted on ancient Cypriot artworks. The detachment of these motifs from their initial environment and their use as design patterns for the body of his works, as, for example, In search of identity, reveals the artist’s aim to map these patterns as an evolving language with potential different narratives and meaningful combinations within Cypriot artworks from ancient times onwards. The Poster of Artist Book Expanded (2017), presented in this exhibition, sums up this quest for symbols in a fruitful dialogue that includes both interesting sequences and contrasts, as does every vivid historical narration. The artist book Memo-garden (2016) by Eleni Mouzourou reveals the story of a displacement of plants – the socalled “alien species” – which arrived to Nicosia’s Municipal Garden by different possible ways of migration to join the native species from its formation in 1901 and the following years. Mouzourou’s research includes the process of collection and manual imprinting of the individual plants; their botanical identification; and the trace of their origin. The outcome is an intimate, small scale yet multiply layered archive, which locates the characteristics, and sets in dialogue not only the history of a continuous remotion of plants but also of human activity and people, during different historical times. Able to survive in new conditions, the newly introduced plants are still part of the garden’s environment today: a territory of natural beauty and constant movement, also seen in its function as a welcoming public space for migrant communities in Nicosia, nowadays. The interest in issues of displacement and relocation are attached to Lenia Georgiou’s artistic expression and involvement with art therapy. Her work Poxiàs (2017), a painted cloth wrap, was initially created during an experiential therapeutic workshop (2014) in collaboration with the asylum seekers at the Reception Centre of International Protection of Kofinou in Cyprus. Poxiàs, which in the Cypriot dialect addresses the pieces of cloth which are stitched together in order to contain and
salvage necessities, is a symbolic work which resembles the cloth container of immigrants, refugees or asylum seekers. It symbolically reflects the personal microcosm of every exiled body and mind seeking a safe vessel to contain and preserve memories, actions, emotions and experiences, after cruel displacement and the elimination of a home. For other featured artists, the focus relies on the description and reappropriation of the landscape, so as to interpret it as a geographical and geological space, and as a container which originates meanings and effects. Ioanna Apostolou’s Transitions (201617) explore the notion of flowing and the reading of natural places as decoded spaces. Being both an architect and artist, Apostolou attempts to decipher and bring to the foreground the inner qualities of physical environments. In her landscape photographs, she manages to displace the boundaries of perception between the fictional and the real, as she juxtaposes the photographic depiction and mirror reflection of spaces, at once. A mental game which evolves into an experience also seeking for the viewer’s body engagement, as Apostolou designs further graphic routes for each space, not only on paper but also as a metal construction that welcomes human measurements and transits to different paths of mapping someone’s engaged time and position in it. Ismini Haholiadou’s series of Untitled prints on porous tiles (2017) marks her attempt to relocate and adjust images of emblematic or historically charged Cypriot mountains to depictions with “measurable” dimensions. Haholiadou parts the mountains and dislocates the hidden horizon from the limitless sky to a given ground. The printed mountains differ from any previous photographic depiction of them, as they lose recognizable elements, such as their three dimensional relationship with space, the colors or the texture of the land. As the characteristics of landscapes – mountains, streams, seas – influence our sense of integration into a certain space, Haholiadou’s work raises questions about the notion of belonging and of familiarity, by displacing nature’s creation to a human construction. Eleni Phyla’s If the sea had mountains (2017) is a series of 18 drawings created during a three-week visit of the artist in Crete. Presented in the exhibition, however, these drawings do not emerge as separate representations of unique landscapes; on the contrary, they appear united as the depiction of one landscape, even if in reality the “boundaries” of the drawings do not match. By rearranging the landscapes
in one subjective representation, Phyla refers to the notions of time and memory displacement, as well as to the process of reminiscence which refines moments and images in order to hang onto the most vivid recollection of an amalgam of time and space, defined many times only by the expressive power of the lived experience.
audience to participate in plays of signs, broken foreign-language skills, beer drinking and feet baths. In their effort to be themselves and become the other, the artist and participants share and exchange roles, become both spectators and spectacles, finding themselves in a constant shift into someone else’s position.
Alexandra Pambouka’s Continuous thread (2017) is a skillful installation made of crochet jude twine and branches, continuously changeable, as it occupies different spaces in inventive ways. The work highlights the expressive power of knitting, as a phenomenon found in patterns of nature, and a craft that initially aims to resemble and be inspired by the physical environment’s motifs. In nature, knitting and weaving are actions of a repetitive movement to reach a certain volume of material to be relocated and connected; in this way, the handcrafted work re-appropriates natural material, relocates and connects with thread designs that enliven images, words, memories, customs, traditions of nature and society, according to the needs or sentiments of the creator and its time.
For Efy Zeniou the notion of displacement reflects on her way of artistic living and understanding of identity. Since 2014, along with four artists, she started the leavinghomefunktion project, leaving behind her private structure and entering the reality of the public. Following a trip East to reach the West, on old Soviet motorcycles with sidecars, the artists aim to learn from the cultures found along their route. Zeniou experiences what she describes as a “process of transferring from individual to collective mind”, in terms of abandoning personal interest and making daily decisions in the context of the commons. Her work, Republic of Nonsense (2014) was created on the occasion of the group’s need to obtain Georgian IDs, while travelling in the country. During the video, an absurd loop sets in fast-forward rotation the IDs of the five artists, along with their photo images and language notes on the cards, indicating the concrete yet loose bonds between social, political and spatial constructs one confronts when becoming a “citizen of the world”.
Stella Christofi’s preoccupation with abstract painting shows her intense quest for the qualities of material, color and texture. If every canvas is considered a “topos”, the artist’s painting format creates continuous and yet, abstract boundaries between the inner world of the spirit and the emotionality of painting, and the possibilities of representation. In works, such as, Salt on canvas (2010) and Untitled (2014), where salt is used as paint, she explores the expressive shift from liquid to solidness, from smooth to grained texture, from a levelled surface to shallow anaglyph. At the same time, salt – relocated as a material to the canvas – encloses the essence and the characteristics of this natural element of the island, and epitomizes its significance as a Cypriot export commodity during different historical periods. Matters of identity – national, social or personal – and its displacement become a place of interest for a number of artists. Demetra Kallitsi works with personal and autobiographical elements, setting them as a prosperous field for the evolution of questions of identity. Among the purposes of her performance, Rückgeld (Change) (2017) is the displacement of the self, through the admittance in a world of ritual and “otherness”. Based on improvisation and interaction, Kallitsi revives experiences and memories from her former residence in Germany, and calls the
Charis Kanellopoulou is an art historian, independent curator and writer. She has curated exhibitions and projects in museums and institutions (such as, the Benaki Museum, Eugenides Foundation, ISET-Contemporary Greek Art Institute in Athens, Greece), as well as in public spaces. She is an adjunct faculty tutor of Art History at the Open University of Cyprus and at the Department of History and Archaeology of the School of Philosophy at the University of Athens, Greece. She publishes regularly and is editor of the collective volume, Kritiki+Techni (Criticism+Art) Vol. 6. Contemporary Art and the Archive: Archival Collections, Artistic Practices, Reflections (Athens: AICA Hellas, 2015). Her interests focus on modern and contemporary art; public art, and its social character; the relationship between artistic creation and the archive. She is a member of AICA Hellas (Greek section of the International Association of Art Critic) and of the Association of Greek Art Historians.
DISPLACEMENT AS A STATE OF MIND
BEYOND EVENT HORIZON As writer and curator Irit Rogoff says, there is a recognition “that the subjects and the forms we have inherited neither accommodate the complex realities we are trying to live out, nor the ever more attenuated ways we have of thinking about them.” Contemplating the community of young artists from Cyprus, the myriad of situations, localities and subjects present a constellation of materials and ideas that, as Rogoff says, play out our complex realities: appearing intricately entwined even as they exist seemingly amidst contradictions and impossibilities. Looking towards a dialogical praxis where “art as a material practice be[comes] inseparable from art as discursive practice”, the work created by this community can be seen as an elongated conversation and a locus for generative activity. Expounded beyond a set framework, the inheritance of place is contextualised within the ever increasing transient and globalised world of artistic production. Embracing a durational, open-ended collaboration in which authorship is suspended, the gallery is introduced as a the site of social production and a place in which the material presented remains fluid “deftly avoiding the stillness of an… exhibition through an evolving rehearsal of the objects themselves.” Bringing together these two states – a constellation of conversations between the young artists of Cyprus and the practice of exhibition-making as a collaborative and experimental process – Beyond an Event Horizon seeks to open up the context of place and identity in the formation of an artistic community, and to consciously question if the distinct social, political and physical landscape of Cyprus has an innate influence on the participants’ collective practice.
Over three days the artists shared their work and were invited to think through the transition from singular to collective: the ‘singular’ as individuals and the singular artwork (each participant was asked to bring an artwork for display), and the ‘collective’ as a group exhibition as well as collaborative process. This movement itself is not necessarily experimental, and the format for the workshop of Beyond an Event Horizon was not particularly radical, following traditional forms of organisation, introducing an idea/concept, and “getting to know each other”. A loose format to follow included artists’ presentations, open discussions which explored dialogues between practices, and the practical application of those dialogues through the placement of works. There was no /motive/objective? to establish a “final” presentation, and to focus? on reaching conclusions, the only aim of the workshop was an attempt to create a space for fluid relationships and horizontal creation. Exhibition-making by its very nature is experimental, a compilation and convergence of materials, ideas and spaces arranged in order to make visible tangible threads that bind us, things or
ideas together: dialogues carried out between the animate and inanimate within a specified time and space. As they encounter each other, as well as the viewers – who bring with them their own sensibilities and contexts – an everevolving and unique set of ‘interference patterns’ occur, “which, as physicists experimenting with wave forms explain, can be both constructive and destructive.” As a collective endeavor by participants (facilitators, artists, curators), there was no absolute knowledge of what the outcome of the Beyond an Event Horizon workshop would or could be – an act of creation or corrosion.
involved in moving and re-moving works was still only a construct as opposed to a real exertion, and the slight fuzziness of an idea had not yet gestated to the point of being discarded or becoming too solid to yield to any changes. At this point, if we had all put down what we were working with and walked away, perhaps what would remain would have managed to retain the amazing atmosphere of the amassed potentiality created. However, as with all things, with creation comes destruction, and in this case, it came with the equally galling and contradictory aim of “presenting” without resulting in a “presentation”.
Naturally evolving from the relatively brief presentations proposed, artists extended these into more of a studio critique. This natural navigation echoed the “nonconclusive” nature of the workshop, as criticality, put by Rogoff, can be seen as “a state of duality in which one is at one and the same time, both empowered and disempowered, knowing and unknowing, thus giving a slightly different meaning? to Hannah Arendt’s notion of ‘we, fellow sufferers’… So, you might well ask, what is the point then? Well, I would answer, the point of any form of critical, theoretical activity was never resolution but rather heightened awareness and the point of criticality is not to find an answer but rather to access a different mode of inhabitation.”
As the potentiality became reality, and the theoretical was challenged by practicality, the limitations of time, equipment and energy left many formations unexplored: minds were sore and bodies were ready to go home. The “rehearsal of objects” was put on an indefinite pause, as if frozen in a game of musical chairs – stuck in a peculiar moment of the individual and collective, people and the objects, the space and the duration. Finally, embracing our failure to not do so, we have made a “presentation”. Equally, ruminations regarding the context of place on practice may have perhaps transpired implicitly in the conversations during and alongside, but did not emerge as an explicit topic. This potentiality still exists, I hope, to be drawn out through the expanded MO17 programme, and, in the imperfect realm of a perfect future, where the music still plays, we can see the many layers of what could have been, what may be, and the space left for what is yet to come.
From personal histories to socio-political narratives, from painting to performance, the inherent problematics – conceptual or pragmatic – of bringing together a group of artists with no pre-determined subject or theme, could have instigated the futility of a senseless cacophony. On the contrary, it offered an opportunity to embrace the idea of failure, on some level, as an inevitable outcome. In this way, the workshop was a risky proposition, requiring participants to not only resist the urge to flee from failure, but also fight against the desire for autonomous control and to relinquish ownership. Within this unsettling space, the artists were to seek out new ways of seeing their work and heighten their awareness of their own position(s). From the expanded overviews of their work, artists moved into a narrower exploration of the individual works which they had decided to contribute, only to broaden perspective? again, as discussions turned to the elusive quality of how context and placement exert their influence on individual perceptions of art and artworks. Presentations rejected by one are absorbed by another; peripheral threads in one work are raised or diminished by proximity to the next; architecture bends and shapes our readings and navigation. Here, the potentiality of formations and reformations of these works, together and apart, were still theoretically perfect – pragmatic considerations with equipment were only just on the periphery of becoming an issue, the actual labour
Graduating with a Masters in Curatorial Practice from Glasgow School of Art in 2016, Emily Gray combines an independent research-based curatorial practice with over eight years experience of arts programming and management within the visual arts sector. Her interests focus on the curatorial constellation, phenomenological approaches to exhibition-making, and examining the contemporary condition in association with sound and film theory. Previously, she was Associate Director of Salem Art Works and Curator of Scottish Sculpture Workshop; currently, she is Curatorial Assistant for Cooper Gallery at Duncan of Jordonstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee. Recent projects include the weight of things, Glasgow School of Art Graduate Degree Show, William Hunter to Damien Hirst: The Dead Teach the Living, Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow, Platform: 2015, Edinburgh Art Festival, and Natural Bennachie, Year of Natural Scotland 2013. In Since July this year she is undertaking British Council UK/ID Indonesia Residency with Platform3, Bandung, and will commence her PhD candidacy in Archives and Contemporaneity in partnership with New Contemporaries at Nottingham Trent University starting October 2017.
BEYOND EVENT HORIZON
PERFORMANCES AT NEOTERISMOI TOUMAZOU
Anthi Pafiou for Ecstatic Textures
Dimitris Chimonas with en.act theatre group, for Communicating Vessels
Dimitra Kallitsi for Displacement as a State of Mind
October 2016 Meetings with art historian, Tina Pandi, research collaborator of MO.17. Composition of research proposal and presentation, open to the public, at Phytorio. The suggestions and proposals of the participants are documented, and discussion begins about how the programme and its scheduling will proceed. December 2016 Open call to young artists from Cyprus. Design of an online platform for the submission of material coordinated by our colleague, Evagoras Vanezis. Research and processing/preparation of material by Maria Loizidou, Evagoras Vanezis, Natalie Yiaxi. May-July 2017 Invitation to curators, Emily Gray, Glasgow, Julia Geerlings, Paris, Charis Kanellopoulou, Athens, and Evagoras Vanezis, Nicosia. At a first stage, the curators processed the material and then visited Nicosia to meet the artists at Phytorio. For the artists not living in Cyprus, online meetings were arranged. Coordination: Maria Loizidou, Evagoras Vanezis, Natalie Yiaxi. During their stay in Cyprus, the curators visited the exhibition venues selected in Nicosia: Thkio Ppalies, Garage, Korai, Neoterismoi Toumazou, and Phytorio. Through the communication of curators, the artists they met, and the work artists’ submitted by means of the online platform, the curators arrive at the sections and subjects. The distribution of artists and spaces develops, without being strictly defined or to the exclusion of other orientations. In addition, after an invitation by the Association, art historian Christopher Marinos, Athens, visits Phytorio in June and meets and talks with the artists of MO.17. September-October 2017 Theorists visit, discussions and collaborations with other institutions and art spaces on issues that concern MO.17 occur: Maria Petrides, Independent writer & editor, Chrystèle Moulun Casanova, Art Director and Founder of Element.a, Paris (in collaboration with Artseen), Socratis Socratous, visual artist. The online archive of MO.17 is completed and presented. The two publications of MO.17, designed by Nico Stephou, are launched at Phytorio. Since October 2017, Leontios Toumpouris has been the coordinator of the project. Workshop and Exhibition openings. The proposals and artists hosted at each space are:
ECSTATIC TEXTURES Curated by Evagoras Vanezis Hosted at: Garage Participating Artists: Evelyn Anastasiou Maria Andreou Adonis Archontides AnnaMaria Charalambous Victoria Leonidou Anastasia Mina Panayiotis Mina Anthi Pafiou Sophia Papacosta Kyriakos Theocharous Marina Xenofontos DISPLACEMENT AS A STATE OF MIND Curated by Charis Kanellopoulou Hosted at: Korai Project Space Participating Artists: Ioanna Apostolou Stella Christofi Lenia Georgiou Ismini Haholiadou Stelios Kallinikou Dimitra Kallitsi Marios Constantinides Eleni Mouzourou Alexandra Pambouka Yorgos Petrou Eleni Phyla Efy Zeniou COMMUNICATING VESSELS Curated by Julia Geerlings Hosted at: Thkio Ppalies Artist-Led Project Space Participating Artists: Raissa Angeli Michael Charalambous Lilia Chatzigeorgiou Peter Eramian Dimitris Chimonas Evi Pala Michelle Padeli Nayia Savva Korallia Stergides Maria Theodorou and Stefani Stylianou (Dia.gnosis) Maria Toumazou Leontios Toumpouris Performances by Anthi Pafiou, Demetra Kallitsi, Dimitris Chimonas Hosted at Neoterismoi Toumazou. BEYOND EVENT HORIZON Curated by Emily Gray in collaboration with Leontios Toumpouris Hosted at: Phytorio Participating Artists: Adonis Archontides Lara-Sophie Benjamin AnnaMaria Charalambous Michalis Charalambous Ioanna Cheimona Eirini Constantinou Demetra Kallitsi Maria Kofterou Victoria Leonidou Anthi Pafiou Alexandra Pambouka Korallia Stergides George Themistocleous A three day workshop facilitated by Emily Gray with the assistance of Leontios Toumpouris, precedes the exhibition.
PROJECT COLLABORATORS AND CONTRIBUTORS
Visual Artists Association Cyprus, (EI.KA) Board of Directors 2015-2017 President: Maria Loizidou Vice president: Natalie Yiaxi Treasurer: Marlen Kartelidou Secretary: Michalis Papamichael Member: Athina Antoniadou Planning and Organization Maria Loizidou Natalie Yiaxi Curators Julia Geerlings Emily Gray Charis Kanellopoulou Evagoras Vanezis Invited Guests and Speakers Chrystèle Moulun Casanova Christopher Marinos Maria Petrides Socrates Socratous Research Fellow/Collaborator Tina Pandi Coordination Leontios Toumpouris Evagoras Vanezis Design Nico Stephou Photographer Yiannis Zouris Web Developer Nicholas Chrysanthou Editing and Translating Maria Petrides Communication Kiriakos Spirou Images are courtesy of the artists. They have the responsibility for the copyright permission. We regret any omissions. © 2017 Visual Artists Association Cyprus EI.KA All Rights Reserved
Visual Artists Association Cyprus