Where is here?

Cypriot Artists Performing Space

Retelling Place

Haris Pellapaisiotis


(Fragment from the publication “Re-Envisioning Cyprus”)


…Locating Phanos Kyriakou’s recent bricolage sculptures, his photographs of

found and unlikely assemblages of objects and his Midget Factory activities

one has to appreciate something of the spirit and tradition of resistance to

urban homogenization by avant-garde art and the ongoing need of artists to

produce new significations of city consciousness.

In Signs of the City, Marc Guillaume makes the point that, ‘in its attempt to be

functional, the city tends to become an homogeneous space. A redundant

sign system guarantees this functionality and fixes urban practices to

determined spaces, times and modalities.’ He goes on, ‘ as the progress of

functionality accelerates, every urbanite finds himself in a race to produce

significations, to position a few landmarks and to construct precarious shelters

and social networks.’1

Avant-garde artists have from the very beginning sought to resist

homogenization and to undermine conceptualized city space, the space of

planners, technocratic sub-dividers and social engineers. They have done this

by extending their art into public space, whether in the form of signs,

performances, disturbances or simple quotidian practices. For example the

Surrealist’s ‘deambulations’, a term referring to a state of consciousness

achieved by walking where the walker operates at the threshold of ‘conscious

life and dream life’ was used as a medium through which to penetrate the

‘unconscious zones of the city.’ Extending this practice further the Dadaist

called for direct intervention into public space demonstrating, early on in the

history of 20th century art, an attempt at alerting new consciousness about city

space and a desire to identify the 'new' in art, in the sense of looking forward,

with an anticipated sense of material change of space and place. The

interface between social space and the space of art is made the point of crisis

once more in the fifties with the Lettrists and the Situationist International

attempts at reclaiming city streets. Most known for their dérive activities,

which literally involved wandering city streets and recording urban spaces and

symbols into ‘psychogeographical’ maps.

By the late fifties a new generation of American and British artists were

responding to an evermore pervasive, corporate-driven consumerist culture

by appropriating, not only the symbols of the commercial world but also the

materials, strategies and modes of production into their art. Pop Art involved

an odd mixture of celebration of and sardonic comment upon urban life. Here

is Claes Oldenburg referring to his fascination with New York streets.

‘They seemed to have an existence of their own where I discovered a whole

world of objects that I had never known before. Ordinary packages became

1 Guillaume, Marc. [Signs of the City] 1986, Stratis, Loizidou, Koundouros,

Ioannides, eds. Mutating Cities, Nicosia: Architectural Press,1999.

sculpture in my eye, and I saw street refuse as elaborate accidental

compositions.’ 2

Oldenburg’s fascination with the street extended beyond objects, to urban

spaces. One of the most influential initiatives to come out of the early Pop Art

era and from Claes Oldenburg’s oeuvre was The Store. Once a warehouse

for furniture, which he renamed RAY-GUN MFG.CO, The Store was now

conceived as an open space, which undermined distinctions between

performing space, art space and street space. The artist incorporated into his

work found objects, ‘fragments of the ambience of the city, rather than specific

forms.’ Oldenburg was not attempting to replicate the landscape of the city but

as he explains, present ‘a more intense and vulgar psychological

representations of things which made up the city.’ 3

Echoes of The Store resonate in Phanos Kyroakou’s The Midget Factory

founded in 2003 - a former shop which is no more than a hole in the wall and

located in the heart of the old town. It is appropriately squeezed between an

abandoned house, which on occasion has been used as a brothel, a drive-by

- pick-up place for prostitutes and a barbershop where the ageing owner still

stubbornly tends to an ever-diminishing clientele. Phanos explains that one of

the things the Factory offers him is the opportunity to view work afresh in a

spatial context other than that of the neutrality of gallery space.

Characteristically the Midget Factory as a space is too tiny to accommodate

both an installed artwork and a viewing public at the same time. His installed

art-objects have to be seen, or are best seen, from the outside, from the street

– to be looked at in the way one takes in a vitrine display. The art-object is

therefore set to perform in a peculiar intersection of gallery / shop / street

space. Whether he is relocating his art-object or producing new work in-situ

for the Midget Factory, Phanos’ first concern is not to conceptually complicate

the viewing experience of the work but rather to test the authenticity of his

2 Finch, Christopher. Pop Art London: Studio Vista Publishers, 1973

3 Van Bruggen, Coosje. Cales Oldenburg: Just Another Room, Museum fu􀀀r

Moderne Kunst, 1991 gesture as an artist by spatially extending the theatre of art into the street. This is a deliberate undertaking on his behalf in an attempt at restoring to the

art-object its hybrid identity by allowing the aura of the street to once more

permeate the object. We may want to remember that in as much as the art

gallery is widely seen as the foremost space for promoting modernist art and

has become a symbol of modern culture - the culture of modern cities - it is

also the first depository where the art-object is isolated and absorbed into a

system of representation which divorces it from its social environment.

Phanos’ photographs taken in and around cities, not only Nicosia, of found

assemblages and unlikely combination of everyday perishable objects and

flotsam and jetsam are revealing reminders of the street as a source of

influence and inspiration for his sculptural constructions. These photographic

images emerging out of the city pay homage to a common spirit of

inventiveness and resourcefulness as well as non-conventionality.

Phanos’ insistence on not just being a gallery artist but one whose aesthetic

presence is made apparent in the city is what distinguishes his work as

avantgarde. By choosing to operate within spaces that undermine orthodox

distinctions of where and how art should be seen and experienced he is

emphasizing and extending the possibility of art; art not simply as a unique

material object to be admired and consumed but as a means of producing

signs in resistance to the institutionalization and homogenization of city

representation. This is no more evident than in his A3 photocopied

photocollages which since 2003 have been sporadically appearing randomly pasted

on walls across the city, warning people to “Beware of the Giant Midget”,

2003, followed in 2004 with “The Death of the Joyful Dot”…and “Beuys is…by

Maurizio Cattelan” 2005-2006. An ongoing project with no fixed deadline the

purpose of which is to alert an audience to their urban environment. As he

points out, “ when I returned to Nicosia after my studies abroad I wanted to do

something which would energize this place into a city, I wanted to feel that I

was living in a city.”

Connecting to the city aesthetically does not mean aestheticizing the city.

Quite the opposite Phano’s activities indicate that aesthetically to engage with

the city means provoking public interaction, opening dialogue. This is best

demonstrated with another photocopied posters in 2007, which again

appeared throughout the city with the following request:

To: Everyone

From: Midget Factory

“ I’m looking for ANSWERS. Not questions. If you have any, please fill in

below.” *

…………………………………………………………………………………………

…………………………………………………………………………………………

…………………………………………………………………………………………





Public notes

Mapping Cyprus/ Contemporary views

Bozar Brussels



The artist skillfully plays with the multiple semantic levels of reality and the

way in which they are perceived by different people in different situations.

“I love Cyprus and Cyprus loves me”1 – which can be seen as an advertising

slogan – is actually a trap, a combination which encompasses both this

overused phrase – synonymous with the tourism promotion of a place –

and the famous 1974 performance “I love America and America loves me”

by artist Joseph Beuys. This ironic phrase – Beuys’ reaction to America’s

foreign policy, as a result of which he had arrived at the gallery in an

ambulance without having to set foot on American soil – is appropriated by

Kyriacou so that he can make a composite slogan, a criticism both against

the advertising consumption of the image of a place and the notion of

“rewarding” feelings. This neon light sign, discreetly placed on a wall, shows

with great detachment the stereotypes to which the Cypriot society gives

in. By introducing some form of lightness and at the same time a discontent

to the ambiguity of the message and the reciprocation of love, the artist

introduces with this slogan an intrusive weed-like element, which upsets the

familiar stereotype. The mapping is no longer related to the geographical

space of Cyprus, but it has to do with the spatial-temporal elements of a

society that quite often is consumed in slogans – sometimes void ones –

in stereotypical reactions and actions. Therefore, apart from the almost

celebratory light-hearted slogan, the artist introduces the imperceptibly

unfamiliar. Phanos Kyriacou introduces elements that make reality lean

slightly to the opposite direction, by creating both conceptual and verbal

traps and by bringing the inconsistencies of the Cypriot space to the surface.


Androula Michael, Curator






I am going to have to disappoint you

Phanos Kyriacou at Altes Finanzamt



Where has nature gone? It has certainly disappeared from our daily lives; it has

become the sublime we encounter when taking time off from the everyday.

It is almost as if we are seeking solace in the artificial; we look back with

nostalgia to that which is lost forever; life in the natural world.

What is evident in ‘I’m going to have to disappoint you’ is that these simulacra

point to the city and the degree to which it has separated us from nature: a fake

trunk made out of pretending‐to‐be‐wood plastic; a deserted room with a

wallpaper that hints at what we have forever deserted; bizarre encounters with

nature/borrowed memories, printed on mugs: a joke on the triumphant victory

of the digital era.

Do we experience disappointment in our day‐to‐day encounters with this

artificiality? Probably not, since artificiality has become so natural.

Kyriacou’s assemblage of materials and images that he encounters while drifting

in the city and along the information superhighways is unique, witty, but above

all, thought provoking.



eloise piere






APOTHEKE presents Phanos Kyriacou solo show under the title CRASH HELMETS MUST BE REMOVED.


Besides information's usefulness exists its multilayered uselessness. To deal with such a porous secret however requires a mature and continuous exploration of personal narratives. Phanos Kyriacou for his CRASH HELMETS MUST BE REMOVED show at APOTHEKE reveals rather than exhibits finds from his personal engagement, his dig, as an artist with objects and spaces beyond their functionality. Openings, nooks, doors, protruding fingers, hiding heads open portals to Phanos Kyriacou's ironic and Daedalic humour, a tool and a working methodology of the artist's sustained attempts at overthrowing usefulness. Performance relics, photographs of found objects and situations, a new sculptural piece diffuse and are trespassed by Kyriacou's humour differing his contextual position within the often disaster-inclined contemporary Cypriot art. His child-like behaviour, most obvious in the artist's video works at CRASH HELMETS MUST BE REMOVED, is nothing but a camouflaged aversion to the oppressive and grading worn masks of seriousness. An abhorrence to pragmatic realism. Alike the corpus of works by Phanos Kyriacou, his

CRASH HELMETS MUST BE REMOVED is a proposal for reviewing historical, spatial and objective information in opposition to desires and demands on art's conjectural lineage.


demetris taliotis















Something feasible

Terra Mediterranea / In Crisis

NIMAC

Curator: Yiannis Toumazis



Phanos Kyriacou is a bricoleur of objects and ideas, a conscious urban ‘pirate’ seeking to activate an almost utopian web of mutual understanding and participation. For this exhibition he creates three identical installations entitled consisting of a ‘street lamp’ and five incorporated chair that their top, made in a traditional Cypriot wicker technique.

These installations, under the title Something feasible, have been placed in three public spaces around the city selected by the artist. As the artist explains: “Yona Friedman has spoken extensively on the concept of “feasible utopias”: these are local utopias which are diametrically opposed to the idea of an established global utopia. This genre of utopia is based on communication between people and places, through the participation of the former in the design and implementation of the material and social structure of the latter. With this idea in mind, I proposed the design of urban lighting and seats, to be installed in different parts of the city. Conceptually, it’s about a place of social-political commentary and reaction to our space and time. On a practical level, the invasion of a new autonomous element in the urban environment differentiates urban planning and creates a- historically and aesthetically- detached landmark, capable of operating as a core of probability, encounter and communication.

In addition, at the courtyard of the Old Powerhouse, the artist creates a peculiar “bicycle stand”, like a circular wrought iron trellis for jasmine plants (like the ones that used to adorn the urban gardens of Nicosia) as an open invitation to the inhabitants of the city to come to the exhibition with their bicycles, providing both access and parking space.























Black Celebration Concept Store



The designers represented at Black Celebration are challenging the establishment and the mainstream and this has been the artist's main source of inspiration: to create a space which will do justice to their products and transcend the challenge to the visitor. The main objective was to explore the ways in which a store (host) can impose on the visitor (guest) a specific perception of mental and physical movement. This is why the window-case features no products. Instead, there is a wall of galvanized metal behind it and there is no store signage to inform the passer-by that this is actually a store. As a matter of fact, the first impression one gets, is that of a storage house or a garage. As with the designers hosted, those who want to visit it have to either know about it and look for it, or to be curious enough to push the heavy metallic door to see what is behind it. Once inside, the visitor has to adjust to a space defined by disproportionate volumes: the changing room is a big box reminiscent of a construction site's temporary office-cubicle, dominating the ground floor; as is the custom-made desk where smaller items are showcased - an imposing metallic box whose height is unexpectedly close to the low ceiling featured in that part of the store; the same applies for the modular unit that showcases some artwork, hard to find books, the vinyl collection and the turntable, which rises almost to the ceiling above the mezzanine. The corridors left for the visitor to move around these volumes, are narrow and at some points difficult to navigate, forcing the visitor to take a closer look at the objects show-cased along them. An intimate alcove underneath the staircase is not visible at first glance and has to be discovered. This has been transformed into an "altar" on which the owners showcase the products that they personally love each season. The mezzanine hosting the clothes, on the other hand, remains clear from clutter, with the exception of the black thin sheets of metal that lie on the floor as a basis that holds the clothes-rails. The visitor has to decide whether to step on them, or go around them in order to get a better look at the products. A light installation spreads blinding white light to the whole floor, catching the visitor by surprise.

Finally, the whole space has been stripped off any artificial elements that could be part of any contemporary store and has retained its original materials at the state they were found, all flaws included. Most elements and objects that have been designed and custom-made especially for the project, had all enjoyed a definitive presence in the local life of past decades and have now been transformed by the artist into ultra-modern volumes that occupy the space, while retaining an aura of familiarity that can be sensed immediately, yet remains unidentified until one really takes a closer look.









Statues in crisis



Τα γλυπτά ‘Statues in crisis’ παρουσιάστηκαν στο Κυπριακό Μουσείο σε

συνεργασία με τον Άγγελο Μακρίδη και το Κέντρο Τεχνών. Ενσωματώνουν μια

φυσική εξέλιξη του ενδιαφέροντός μου για την αποδόμηση της γλυπτικής φὀρμας

και ταυτόχρονα την αναζήτηση εναλλακτικών μεθόδων ενσάρκωσης της

διαλεκτικής σχέσης μεταξύ γλύπτικής και χώρου.

Κάθε προσέγγιση επιχειρεί μια διαφορετική ερμηνεία της ιστορικής μας μνήμης,

δημιουργώντας ένα πλάισιο μέσα από το οποίο ευδοκιμεί μια θέση αντίδρασης

και απομυθοποίησης της ιστορικής μας γνώσης.

Παρακάπτοντας διακριτικά το ιστορικό και πολιτισμικό βάρος το οποίο στοιχιώνει

ένα χώρο σαν το Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο, δημιούργησα ένα επιφανειακό κέλυφος

μίμησης. Το φαινομενικά αδιαπέραστο κέλυφος που αναδύθηκε στην προκειμένη

περίπτωση, διατηρήσε τις ισορροπίες, και δημιούργησε τις προϋποθέσεις μέσω

των οποίων θέματα όπως η βία, τα παιγνίδια εξουσίας και η κοινωνική/σωματική

βία, να υπαινίσσονται διακριτικά.

Καθοριστικός παράγοντας στην αποτελεσματική διεκπαιρἐωση του πλάνου μου

είχε η επιλογή των υλικών αλλά και η μεθοδική διαδικασία παραγωγής των

ἐργων. Για να επιτύχει ο ρόλος του κέλυφους θα έπρεπε η αποτύπωση της

λεπτομέρειας στην ανθρώπινη φιγούρα και οι αναλογίες της να ήταν όσο το

δυνατό πιο κοντά σε αυτές των εκθεμάτων του μουσείου. Έτσι, ως βάση

χρησιμοποίησα τα γλυπτά-σουβενίρ τα οποια βρίσκει κανείς στα καταστήματα

της «Λαϊκής Γειτονιάς». Κτίζοντας, προσαρμὀζοντας και αφαιρώντας

προσπάθησα να δημιουργήσω τις σύγχρονες εκδοχές των κλασσικών αυτών

προσωπικοτήτων. Η επιλογή οικοδομικών υλικών για τις κατασκευές

υποστήριξης των γλυπτών, σε χρωματισμούς κοντά σε αυτούς του μουσείου

ήταν επίσης ένα μέσο παραπλάνησης με σκοπό την ενίσχυση της φαινομενικής

αρμονίας του συνόλου, ένα είδος καμουφλάζ.

Καθοριστικό ρόλο όμως στην εννοιολογία του πρότζεκτ είχε το ενδιαφέρον και ο

προβληματισμός μου για την ‘μετα-ανασκαφή’ και την ‘μετα-ιστορια’ των

εκθεμάτων. Τα πλείστα γλυπτά που εκτίθονται στα μουσεία και απεικονίζουν το

ανθρώπινο σώμα, είναι διαμελισμένα. Από κάποια λείπουν τα άκρα από άλλα το

κεφάλι και σε μερικά η διάβρωση είναι τόσο έντονη που το σώμα μοιάζει να

βρίσκεται σε κατάσταση αποσύνθεσης. Πώς εμείς σαν παρατηρητές

αντιλαμβανόμαστε και αντιμετωπίζουμε αυτό το θέαμα? Θα μπορούσαμε να

ισχυριστούμε ότι η ιστορική αναφορά μας επιβάλλει πώς να αντιμετωπίσουμε-

και τελικά να αποδεκτούμε το θέαμα σαν φυσιολογικό επακόλουθο της τριβής με

το χρόνο. Ακόμα ένας λόγος όμως θα μπορούσε να είναι και ο καθημερινός μας

βομβαρδισμός από τα ηλεκτρονικά και μη μέσα μαζικής επικοινωνίας τα οποία

αναπαράγουν εικόνες και πληροφορίες, με έμμεσες η άμεσες αναφορές στην

σήψη της ανθρώπινης ύπαρξης. Η βία σε οποιαδήποτε της μορφή είναι πλέον

ένα φυσικό φαινόμενο στο οποίο αντιδρούμε παθητικά, αφού στο κάτω-κάτω,

όλο και από κάπου θα λείπει ένα χέρι ή ένα πόδι.



Φάνος Κυριάκου





Intimate long shot

Pop’ up kiosk, boulevard Beaumarchais, Paris

Kυπριακά περίπτερα

Γράφει η Χριστίνα Λάμπρου


Συνεχίζοντας την έρευνά του πάνω στις συμπεριφορές και τις ιδιομορφίες του αστικού χώρου, ο Φανός Κυριάκου παρουσίασε την προηγούμενη βδομάδα στο Παρίσι το έργο Intimate Longshot, στο πλαίσιο του ευρύτερου εγχειρήματος Pop up kiosque. Με το πράσινο φως να σηματοδοτεί

τη λειτουργία τους, τα περίπτερα, οι συμπυκνωμένοι αυτοί χώροι στην πόλη, αποτελούν στο σύνολό τους βασικό σημείο αναφοράς στη διεξαγωγή της καθημερινότητας αλλά και σημείο συνάντησης στον ιδιοσυγκρασιακό δημόσιο χώρο. Για τον Φανό Κυριάκου είναι ένας ολόκληρος μικρόκοσμος που λέει πολλά για το ποιοι είμαστε: “Νομίζω ότι το κυπριακό περίπτερο με τους πολλαπλούς τρόπους λειτουργίας του, την πληθώρα προϊόντων αλλά και τη συχνότητα που το συναντάμε στους δρόμους των πόλεών μας, είναι αδιαμφισβήτητα ένας κοινωνικός μικρόκοσμος που αντανακλά την ιδιοσυγκρασία μας σαν λαός.”

Στο πλαίσιο της έρευνας του Φανού Κυριάκου πάνω στις συμπεριφορές του δημόσιου χώρου, είδαμε πρόσφατα την σειρά εγκαταστάσεων / επεμβάσεων με τα λειτουργικά γλυπτά του σε διάφορα σημεία της Λευκωσίας [στο πλαίσιο της έκθεσης In Crisis / Δημοτικό Κέντρο Τεχνών].

Την προηγούμενη βδομάδα [11 και 12 Δεκεμβρίου] ο Φ. Κυριάκου, μετά από πρόσκληση του οργανισμού Chypre Culture παρουσίασε στο Παρίσι το έργο του με τίτλο Intimate Longshot το οποίο μεταφέρει αναφορές από το αστικό πλαίσιο της Λευκωσίας τοποθετώντας τις στο αστικό πλαίσιο του Παρισιού. “Η πρόταση που ήρθε σε μένα από την Άντρη Μιχαήλ και τον Ερωτόκριτο Αντωνιάδη ήταν πολύ συγκεκριμένη” εξηγεί ο ίδιος. “Επικεντρωνόταν στο περίπτερο και την εννοιολογική του διάσταση στην κυπριακή πραγματικότητα. Η έρευνά μου για το συγκεκριμένο πρότζεκτ επικεντρώνεται σε μια split screen βίντεο προβολή για την οποία κινηματογράφησα δύο περίπτερα με διαφορετικό τρόπο λειτουργίας, θέσης στον αστικό [κοινωνικό;] ιστό και αισθητικής. Η κινηματογράφηση έγινε με δύο διαφορετικές σκηνοθετικές προσεγγίσεις, η πρώτη με long shot και η δεύτερη με direct cinema αισθητική. Χρησιμοποιώντας διαφορετικές

κάμερες -standard definition και HD- και διαφορετικές ώρες της μέρας [μέρα/νύχτα], προσπάθησα να δημιουργήσω πολλαπλά επίπεδα πληροφοριών και κατανόησης του συγκεκριμένου θέματος”.

Με προσεκτική μεθοδολογία και τη φροντίδα του υλικού και των μέσων που χαρακτηρίζουν τηδουλειά του, ο Φ. Κυριάκου τοποθετεί τη μια τοπική καθημερινότητα [αυτή της Λευκωσίας] να εμπεριέχεται σε μια άλλη [αυτή του Παρισίου] σαν πρόχειρο πείραμα τηλεμεταφοράς και ταυτόχρονα σαν αυτοσχέδια εθνογραφία.








Gardening and morality / The man with no name



Αν και δεν αποτελεί εισήγηση του Μιχαηλίδη, ο κακτόκηπος απέναντι απ’ την

κεντρική λίμνη είναι ένα απ’ τα χαρακτηριστικότερα σημεία του κήπου1. Το

διαμορφωμένο τοπίο με τις ξύλινες φωλιές και την ενδιαφέρουσα συλλογή από

κακτοειδή χρησιμοποιήθηκε από τον Φάνο Κυριάκου για τα γυρίσματα ενός

βίντεο με αναφορές στην κινηματογραφική γραφή των spaghetti western. Ο

φακός παρακολουθεί τον πρωταγωνιστή –τον οποίο υποδύεται ο ίδιος ο

καλλιτέχνης‐ να περιφέρεται ιππεύοντας ένα ξύλο. Ο χαρακτήρας είναι

βασισμένος στον ήρωα του Sergio Leone the man with no name(απ’ όπου

προκύπτει και ο τίτλος του βίντεο), τον οποίο ενσαρκώνει ο Clint Eastwood.

Αναθεωρώντας το στερεότυπο του καουμπόι, ο Leone είχε προτείνει στο

Dollars Trilogy έναν άντρα απόμακρο, τραχύ, βίαιο, αλλά συμπονετικό, με μια

ιδιότυπη αίσθηση της δικαιοσύνης. Ο Κυριάκου περιπλανώμενος στη δική του

Άγρια Δύση εφαρμόζει κι αυτός ένα ανορθόδοξο σύνολο ηθικών κανόνων.

Κατεβαίνει από το άλογό του για να διαρρυθμίσει αυτά που συνήθως

απορρίπτονται (ξερά κλαδιά, χόρτα και πέτρες) σε εφήμερα γλυπτά, εγείροντας

το ερώτημα τι έχει θέση και τι όχι σ’ έναν κήπο. Αυτό που τον ενδιαφέρει δεν

είναι τόσο το αποτέλεσμα όσο η πράξη και οι αποφάσεις που την ορίζουν (τι να

πετάξω, τι να κρατήσω και με βάση ποιους κανόνες, αυτούς της αισθητικής, της

χρηστικότητας, της ηθικής;). Το βίντεο συνοδεύτεται από τέσσερις

ασπρόμαυρες φωτογραφίες, στις οποίες τα γλυπτά έχουν τώρα τον

πρωταγωνιστικό ρόλο ως αυτόνομες πλέον συνθέσεις. Σ’ αυτό το έργο, ο

Κυριάκου επεκτείνει σε ένα διαφορετικό πλαίσιο, τον προβληματισμό του γύρω

απ’ τη θέση του καλλιτέχνη στο ομογενοποιημένο αστικό τοπίο –ενδεικτική

είναι η δρατηριότητά του από το 2003 στο Midget Factory, αλλά και οι κατά

καιρούς παρεμβάσεις του στους δρόμους της πόλης. Ο κήπος αποτελεί ακόμη

ένα δημοσιο χώρο, αν και περιθωριακός –γεγονός που στη συγκεκριμένη

περίπτωση υπερτονίζεται εξαιτίας της συνοριακής του θέσης

μεταξύ Πράσινης Γραμμής, παλιάς και νέας πόλης‐, ο οποίος μπορεί να

μετατραπεί στον κατάλληλο τόπο για την ενεργοποίηση μιας νέας

συνειδητότητας. Τα εφήμερα γλυπτά του, όπως και οι αστικές παρμεβάσεις του,

αποτελούν μορφή αντίστασης ‐εν προκειμένω στους κανόνες που επιβάλλουν οι

επικρατούσες αντιλήψεις γύρω απ’ τη δημιουργία ενός κήπου. Αναφέρονται

επίσης στη θέση της γλυπτικής σ’ έναν τέτοιο χώρο, θέμα με το οποίο

καταπιάνεται πιο ευδιάκριτα στο έργο του ÅsΆτιτλοÅt (2010/11). Ένα γλυπτό σ’

ένα πάρκο ή σ’ έναν κήπο, εκτός απ’ το να αποκαλύπτει τη συμβιωτική σχέση

μεταξύ τέχνης και φύσης, μνημονεύει συνήθως κάτι (το κλασικό παρελθόν, τις

ηρωικές στιγμές ενός έθνους, τους νεκρούς). Στο έργο του Κυριάκου, το οποίο

κατασκευαστικά παραπέμπει στη “φθηνή” αισθητική των τεχνητών βράχων,

αυτό που μνημονεύεται είνα η εμμονή μας να καταγράφουμε το πέρασμά μας

από ένα τόπο, η σύγχρονη διεκδίκηση του ÅsI Was HereÅt που στην περίπτωσή

αυτή διατυπώνεται σε μια αδέξια χαραγμένη επιγραφή με χιουμοριστικό twist:

ÅsI Was Here But I Disappeared Åt.


1 Η δημιουργία του πιθανόν να αποτελεί πρωτοβουλία του πρώην υπεύθυνου

του Δημόσιου Κήπου και γεωπόνου, Ανδρέα Σαββίδη.



Έλενα Πάρπα

Art historian, Curator






Everyone should walk

Specific objects / Salon Populaire, Berlin



The formatʼs idea is to gain insight onto the stories behind or before a finished art work. By inviting a guest to bring an object of his or her choice – a physical object like a book or a film or a non-physical object like Foucaultʼs figure of thought or even the inner city of Berlin – we hope to instigate and stimulate joint reflection and debate with the audience on modes of thought and on possible ways of making them visible or giving them forms.


#2 – Phanos Kyriacou: Everyone should walk.


If you get up early and watch the sky to the southeast about an hour to 45 minutes before sunrise, you may be able to see a star appearing close to the position where the sun will come up. It will be visible for perhaps ten days, but by early February you wonʼt be able to see it any more. In the last two weeks of

January, if you watch the sky shortly after sunset, you will see a bright star in the southwest. By mid- February, you wonʼt be able to see it any more. If you are able to get a good look at it on a dark night and notice exactly what the stars look like around it, and if you can repeat this on successive nights,

then you just might be able to see that it changes its position with respect to those stars, though it happens to be in a part of the sky where there are few bright stars.…_









 

Suddenly Emergent


Modernism, that discriminating appropriation of the conditions of alteration heralded by the

prolonged period of the modern, has established itself mostly via its architecture rather than its

revolutions. In a Gothic chapel in the castle La Sarraz, a few miles north of Lake Geneva in

Switzerland, under the auspices, and indeed after a direct commission from Mme Helene de

Mandot, Sigfried Gideon and Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, aka Le Corbusier, appended to by

two dozen others, canonised a manifesto and an association that still dominates our understanding of modernity. True nonetheless to the modality of revolutions, this first manifesto of CIAM emphatically stated as an aim the affirmation of 'a unity of viewpoint on the fundamental

conceptions', of its discipline, namely architecture. As with any purging orthodoxy, the proclaimed

modernism of CIAM defined the divides with its past but also within itself, thus activating the rifts

from where an other tradition was to mobilise the same historical and material conditions for .

Against the systematic standardisation of the building as object, later defended as The International Style, a view of the build environment as “a framework for the actions of men, a race of enactment and celebration, a theatre that makes action possible”1 was diffused giving rise to numerous local modernisms. Against mimesis, methexis. This transformative opening up of architecture as a critical, reflective act, in the context of its particular relations of production, rather than a regimented technological outcome, formed much of the local idiom of architectural modernism of Cyprus. The utilisation of vernacular methods and materials like the porous, dark-yellow limestone by Polys Michaelides either as load bearing material in his Bauhaus influenced designs for the Nicosia Orphanage building (1934) and the now demolished General Hospital (1939) or later as facade cladding, the use of sea pebbles by Charilaos Dikaios and Neoptolemos Michaelides in their mid-1940's concrete structures, and the later's attempts to incorporate adobe bricks in high-rises, are but a few examples of early re-arrangements of materials and techniques within the modernist tradition, rather than its mere stylistic adaptation. Such arrangements apart from setting up an active but critical relationship with the ideals of modernism, became, as any arrangement, a means of circulation, of transmission of these new conditions for architecture, uninterrupted by the complexities of technological or other fidelity. As a consequence newly imported materials and designs such as concrete, corrugated iron, aluminium and facilities for domestic sanitation were and still are thoroughly and unapologetically utilised en masse, beyond the formalised design. The city, the buildings, architectural modernism, is thus to be found redistributed not as remodelings of macro strategies but in “in a continual process of discontinuous transformation”. These discontinuous redistributions of knowledge and information, at the core of the project of modernity, have often been lost between glorified pageants of the 'favela-chic', the idealised accounts of ingenuity in a recent revengeful return of place and the resistant obedience of the specialist terming them as surplus, useless to its hagiographic historiography. This intricate

transformation of urban and architectural experience however reveal the incomplete process of

modernity by negotiating its formal limits allowing for a 'critical spatial practise' to emerge. Critical

spatial culture denotes a transformative rather than descriptive engagement with the varieties of

disciplines and issues operating diagonally across3 the conventional occupations and enactments of space4. Latent in critical spatial culture has always been a resilient transgression, the indisciplined5 affairs of art in and out of its outgrown boundaries.


Phanos Kyriacou, an artist employing simultaneously the sensibilities and practises of an ikebana

arrange and of a punk film-maker, is one of the main Cypriot perpetrators of this transgressive

relationships of art. Phanos Kyriacou's practise is retrieved from the outskirts of craftmanship,

obsessive research and civic engagement. With his idiosyncratic, Daedalic humour he is acutely

aware of the intricacies of materials embedded in locations and structure. It is this attentiveness that persists in his varied output and which configures his re-arrangements of the factual, the historical. From objects to posters and from photographs to videos Kyriacou interstices our perception of space, problematising the notion of location, often via the already problematic local. Phanos Kyriacou's work inflates space, expanding our grasp of its particulars over and above the

demolishing silences of history and its monolithic orthodoxies. From the ridgelines of an

uninhibited art and an indisciplined architecture he rigorously transcribes, re-arranges, the anexact6 privateerings that continuously open up the in-finite conditions of possibility of the emergent in all its discontinuous disparities with the illustrations of programmatic predictabilities.





Demetris Taliotis

Cultural theorist

 

Intimate Long shot


Phanos Kyriakou's Intimate Long shot comes to materialize our initial idea of presenting a pop-up kiosk in Paris. And this idea was but a motive for coming up with a new approach toward the urban landscape of Cyprus, as well as a new re-signaling of that field. A kiosk is not only a space meant for selling products and services; it's also a semiotic indicator for the ways in which human beings live in and “use” their city. Spurred on by particular features, such as the green neon light – which, in the nighttime, gives the kiosk its very own visual intensity and, at the same time, places it in the framework of a theatrical set design – the artist arrived at the idea of the installation in an effort toward a more polysemic approach. Aided by the creative technique of collage, conspicuously present in his other work, Phanos Kyriakou reshapes old materials by creating a new, multilayered reality. The outer world is his constant starting point, a world which he always analyzes from a different interpretive perspective. The installation he envisioned for Paris was developed gradually, much like a living organism: one element calls for the other in an endless readjustment (réajustement), reconnection and dialogue. The artist's interaction with the wider space of the city, as well as with the architectural particularities of the exhibition space, followed a genetic process during which several unforeseen elements ultimately found their way into the installation: the result was a novel balance of the whole. The central idea for the installation has its origin in two kiosks in Nicosia: the first kiosk, located in his neighborhood, was already well-known to Kyriakou. The second kiosk is associated with the history and urban planning of the city itself: it's the very same kiosk that replaced the one in Solomou square, demolished during the square's reconstruction. The recording process resulted in filming both kiosks: the artist did this by using two distinct directorial and aesthetic approaches - that of the long shot and Direct Cinema. In order to do this he used two different cameras, a standard camera and an HD one. The result is a double, split-video image which – thanks to careful montage – was made in such a way so that the image of one video accompanies the other, and the sound of one video can appear as an echoing, interstitial element in the other. These unprocessed images subsequently became part of a fragmentary “narration” replete with continuous oscillations from one image to the other; according to the artist, this led to the generation of multiple fields of information and perception of the particular subject. This immediately brings to mind Roland Barthes' expression feuillété de significations – that is, layer upon layer of multiple meanings. The images running parallel to one another function as games – conceptual as well as morphological – of analogy and association. It's not a coincidence, for instance, that the shot of pencils succeeds, in the following image, the shot of a quadrillage on the floor. In like manner, the shot of a kiosk owner giving beer to an underage boy makes us think, perhaps, that he knows the boy's parents: who are waiting in the car for their son, perhaps. But what's for sure is that the artist doesn't shy away from commenting on this, indirectly and with much humor, with the previous shot of the words “Bad Boy” drawn on a motorbike! These examples show how the artist constructs the two parallel images and how he creates, by means of association, a kind of narratorial collage very much active on multiple levels and susceptible to a number of interpretive approaches: at the same time functioning – given that a narration, howsoever fragmentary, isn't absent – as a group of “micro-histories”. What's clear is the indirect reference to the daily relationship that people have with the kiosk and the city. Both from an architectural and functional viewpoint (its meaning for life in the city, for habits, for direct relationships and neighborliness, for transport and even the features of a people, i.e. the expressiveness of their gestures and their hospitality), the kiosk is a microcosm reflecting many of the features and habits of people living their lives in various areas of the city. But what's the meaning of the “local”? In addition, what will its meaning be once it's transplanted in another place, a place, most likely, where it will enter a process of being understood differently? Phanos Kyriakou's in situ installation brings together all kinds of elements related to the local: in such a way, however, that, once safely transplanted, they start to develop in an ambiguous manner with regard to their actual origin – the concept of the local and the global ultimately merge together, their mergence bringing us face to face with a new conceptual understanding. The kiosk video is not a documentary; its images reflect a Cypriot reality brought together with elements entirely alien to it. Seen this way, the poster Local Text functions as the installation's connective tissue. The title – which, by association, alludes to the idea of context – is purposely abstract: in the sense that it doesn't refer directly to a specific reality. But it certainly offers enough elements for one to reshape her understanding of the local. The image and the combination of motifs function as a visual aid for decoding. As the artist himself puts it, “the incapability of decoding locality is something I find extremely interesting. The poster states its existence through its absence – it predisposes but doesn't reveal. We could locate this in the video itself, understanding it through the transference and exchange of information between the two shots. Thus we could say that the poster refers to something it doesn't specify: the poster reminds us of a kind of Cyprus – the fruit, the colours, the vessel; Ι've tried to bring together some elements which semiotically refer to a superficial image of locality. I wanted the images that make up the poster to function simply as points so that, in its totality, the poster can then function as a map of sorts, something which can designate the system of allocating various meanings in the installation itself.” Of particular interest in the image of the poster is the happy occasion where two different possibilities/realities happen to meet in the margin of daily life: the encounter of the yellow nails with the fruit brought forth the poetic alchemy of transference – one's vaccination, as it were, by the other without any existent intention or previous directorial preparation. If the poster functions as a “map of allocation”, a synthetic element of the whole, the connective tissue of the installation itself is the concept of architecture and design: not only as operational instruments, but also as specific ways of constructing the world. By multiplying the references (from Dan Flavin to Bauhaus and all the way to the Cypriot kiosk), Phanos Kyriakou mingles the uses of various objects, thus creating various hybrid formulations: among which one finds, for example, the luminous sculpture that completes the installation. With the green neon light, Kyriakou makes a semiotic reference to the flashy, garish lighting particular to Cypriot kiosks, and which accompanies, in the installation, the image of the kiosks themselves. But it also functions as an entirely independent element that carries no local reference whatsoever. The same thing happens with the “constructivist-type” stand for postal cards, which shows both their functionality and their reference to architectural models of a constructivist nature. All these elements function semiotically and are offered in the form of fragmentary information which the viewer is called upon to put together. From this point of view, the architectural perception doesn't arrive at a finished, monumental edifice, but a group of constructive elements and concepts to which it is constantly subjected throughout a process of construction and deconstruction; a process based on a repertoire of forms, motifs and ready-to-use concepts. In this case it's about a repertoire made up of different forms of a kiosk – intricate, expressed in the various stages of its possible development: the real kiosk that we see in the video, the model of a kiosk, the panels and architectural lines of a deconstructed kiosk... all these are essentially about the “development” of the concept of a kiosk: from reality to utopia, from utopia to a final deconstruction – and all of it taking place in a process of infinite possibilities. Thus making away with the concept of a definable kiosk, the artist makes it possible for the viewer to (conceptually) define it on his /her own.It's interesting to note the artist's way of seeing the installation as something that has already finished rather than something that's just about to begin: “I started thinking about the kiosk – as well as its presence here – as an over-and-done. Notice the way the pencil lines go down and resume their course, the motifs a reference of sorts to the patterns in the plan – there's always a continuation going on around, a resumption: we're talking about a kiosk that we're unable to define. But that's where the various references come in: so that the visitor can construct the kiosk on a conceptual level of his/her own. The way the installation has been set makes it possible for us to isolate each of its elements and thus locate the references scattered around it. From the video to the print, from the lighting and the sculpture all the way back to the video. We're dealing with a kiosk whose form refuses to be defined. Thus I offer the viewer a wide range of unprocessed but also extremely constructed information so that, with the video as guide, can mentally create his/her own personal, “local” kiosk.” The architectural plan of a hybrid kiosk and the intricate nature of the wooden planks arranged on the floor or placed on the wall – things that look like shanties and have nothing to do with the present kiosk – bring about a multifaceted reading of the installation. As the artist puts it: “on the printed plan we're dealing with a three-dimensional plan of a contemporary kiosk and the dome of an Ottoman kiosk of the “German Fountain”.So there are also the parallel ideas of a modern and a historical kiosk, the two of them bringing forth a framework of possibilities energized through their historical and functional refutation.” Phanos Kyriakou is throwing bridges across the past, thus sustaining a ceaseless negotiation with history: both on a macro and micro level. A tireless wanderer of Nicosia (but also of every city he happens to visit), Kyriakou retrieves and stores various materials and objects, thus creating a personal record that's taking shape gradually yet effortlessly: and without the taxonomic rigor of an ethnologist. Objects, images, books and all kinds of materials create an inexhaustible bank of forms and meanings that the artist always taps into when in search of the materials needed for his work.In the artist's chosen path we can certainly detect an anthropological vein: in the way Hal Foster sees it, who considers the artist as a kind of anthropologist. But Foster notices that the creative desire – or intention – of an anthropologist to work as an artist has been reversed: indeed, henceforward it is the artist that desires to take the position of the anthropologist. By referencing the recent past – and particularly the colonial and post-colonial period – Phanos Kyriakou treats society and history as an infinite matrix of artistic research. With much care and sensitivity, the artist activates memory and cultivates a living relationship with his artisan predecessors – people who carry in them the entire history of their craft – thus finding a way of defining his own work. The works of Phanos Kyriakou can't be “interpreted” so easily. If his early work was often seen to move in the domain of the familiar/real and the unfamiliar/mythical (in Freud's term, a kind of inquiétante étrangeté), his more recent work is certainly taking a different turn: thus inaugurating a more philosophical and social dimension, but also incorporating more and more conceptual layers. The artist pays particular attention to a dialogue with history and the individual's interaction with his/her surroundings. His work thus assumes the characteristics of a monument-palimpsest powerful enough to transcend the personal and strike up, with much energy and vigor, a straight path to the collective.


Androula Michael, Art Historian\ Curator

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