Meeting Europe – Cyprus

2006 – 2007

November / December 2006 Strasbourg (France)
June / July 2007 Liege (Belgium)

Atesh KOZAL, « Wish you were not here »

Meeting Europe – Cyprus:

Visual Memories. Exhibition.
Projected visions– Chypre. Exhibition.
Memory. Exhibition.

Travelling exhibition Strasbourg (France) – Liège (Belgium)

“How can we meet Europe in all its diversity and with the plurality of its artistic forms of expression? How can we meet, gain insight into and understand the questionings of so many artists who are acting outside established systems, off the beaten track, and how can we share their visions with the public?

Meeting Europe is a cycle of events spanning the visual arts, which has been invented and set up by our association in an attempt to provide some answers and to point out certain paths towards understanding in the face of the complexity of Europe.

Therefore, before meeting current art in Cyprus, we attempted to establish a regular dialogue with historians, art critics and artists in order to decide with them on a selection of artworks that would significantly represent contemporary creation in Cyprus.

Pavlina Paraskevaidou, Marina Vryonidou-Yiangou, Elena Parpa and Daphne Nikita , who moreover is curator of one of the exhibitions, have contributed their razor-sharp views of relevant critical factors to help understand the artistic situation.
Young artists have been privileged and their works are shown through two important exhibitions “Memory” and “Projected Visions – Cyprus”. But we have also included works by artists of older generations with the aim of being better able to understand the evolution of creation during the last few decades and to gain a sharper insight into current practices.

In the same spirit and with the aim of broadening awareness to as many people as possible, we have designed an exhibition of photos from before the 1960s, “Visual Memories”, which puts the spotlight on the island’s cosmopolitan aspect and the strong links forged with other  European countries. Italian, British, Armenian, Greek and Irish artists have often visited the island and many of them settled down in Cyprus, producing astonishing work much of which remains unknown.

Through these different exhibitions, the issue of memory seems to be a recurrent theme and a central focus for most of the artists. Most of the works on display undoubtedly bear the marks of this questioning of the past and depiction of pages from personal histories, but also the history of the country, portrayed and treated in extremely different forms.

Furthermore, how can we ignore the tragic events of 1974, the year of the invasion of the Turkish army, when an incurable wound was opened between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots? The wall that still splits the town of Nicosia in two, as if to remind us of the harsh moments in our recent history with Berlin, stands witness to the great divide between the two sides.

In our way and at our level, we wanted artists from the two communities to be able to meet each other and work together on a common project. But we are well aware that we will have to invent the means of bringing them together and set up exchange systems on a permanent basis. In parallel to the short duration of an exhibition, it is necessary to set up sustainable systems of cooperation which will reinforce mutual trust and respect. Finally, these artistic communities urgently require new and optimistic perspectives which could be gained by integrating them into regional and European networks”.

Dimitri Konstantinidis
Director of apollonia, european art exchanges