Photos: Pavlos Vrionides
Responding to Pylon’s invitation to think of ways to make contemporary art more accessible and relevant to a wider audience, curators Elena Parpa, Thalia Spyridou and Evagoras Vanezis present three exhibitions and a series of events under the title Safely Held with the aim to contribute to the public’s engagement with art and its practice. The programme unfolds throughout the course of seven months, from May to December 2023. The exhibitions’ overarching concept evolves in response to pylon, the chosen name of the newly-found art and culture initiative. There are structures in society and in governance, in education and in thought, in expression and behavior. Some are rigid, others fragile or defective. They could also be supportive, comforting, even protective. Irrespective of their properties, structures speak of the need for things to be arranged and held together. The three exhibitions seek to encourage the concept of structures being shapeable, permitting reconsideration of established narratives.
How to use the fragility and uncertainty of social conditions as a driving force towards a softer approach to contemporary experience, that opposes and challenges the rigidity of organized structures?
What are the urgent questions that animate our relationship to language, and how do artists explore them? The exhibition approaches the theme of cultural exchange by focusing on the practices of translation and rewriting as creative tools.
How does an artwork conceived for the Limassol Municipal Garden as a structure within a structure, challenge our understanding of memorial art and at the same time calls for an expanded concept of the function and structure of a public space that has been the subject of a recent controversy?
In seeking to engage the public with the ideas and questions explored, the exhibitions will be accompanied by a series of events within and beyond the exhibition space.
Αrtists: Phanos Kyriacou, Peter Eramian, Maria Spivak
Curator: Evagoras Vanezis
At Minerva Hotel, Pano Platres
6 August - 10 September 2023
06/08-27/08 Monday-Sunday, 28/08-10/09 Thursday-Sunday
Opening hours: 10:00-13:00 & 16:00-19:00
The Minerva Hotel in Pano Platres, lying dormant for some time now, hosts the project “Key Change”, where three contemporary artists suggest a series of sculptural gestures-installations that activate the space and the senses. Audiences are invited to approach these installations as elements of a dramaturgy where a suspended sense of time takes over. The protagonists of the story are unknown, but the imprints of their actions are everywhere to be seen.
The experience of entering the space and the fascination of tuning in to what came before, as well as our anticipated entanglement in what follows, becomes the setting of this exhibition. The title is borrowed from music notation. A key change marks both the transfer of a composition to another scale (both for re-recording and live performance) and also the differentiation of structural elements within the composition itself. Through this conceptual borrowing, "Key Change" focuses on the dynamics of shifting from one way of relating to our surroundings to another.
Through a sound installation that explores the space’s acoustic resonance (Spivak); sculptures and light installations which dissect the materiality of the space and its relationship to the outside (Kyriacou); a sculpture made with unconventional materials, based on a gesture of conceptual and material relocation (Eramian); the three artists invite alternative economies of sensing and politics of relating to space and place.
As memories intermingle with the present moment in the enigmatic enveloping space, dynamics of continuity and transition, overlapping and translocation are explored. Another way to approach the artistic gestures would be by thinking of them in terms of linguistic practices which play upon our expectations like irony and ellipsis, but also translation and rewriting.
Maria Spivak is a musician and sound artist based in Cyprus. With studies in architecture and creative media practice, she calibrates her methodologies through research on sound environments, spatial acoustics and sound as a cultural phenomenon. Her debut LP, ΜΕΤΑ ΤΟ ΡΕΙΒ (Ecstatic Recordings, 2020) is a blend of hypnagogic pop, smudged synths, and ambient electronics, infused with the spirit of the local DIY scene. Her tape release Rare Backwards, was presented as an addendum to the LP in the same year. Projects and features include Switzerland (collaborative LP Vinyl, Musée d'ethnographie de Genève, 2022-23), Alessio Natalizia’s album The Place I’ve Been Missing (Ecstatic Recordings, 2023), Short Psalm and Other Speakers (with Panayotis Mina, Volks, 2015). She hosts and curates the bimonthly show More or Less Future on Movement Radio and has guested on NTS, Lot Radio, Rinse FM, Kiosk Radio, Noods Radio, Retreat and Mutant Radio. Spivak is preparing an upcoming solo show whilst her new LP You Win Again (Ecstatic Recordings, 2023) includes a rendition of Christos Kyriakides’ poetry.
Phanos Kyriacou is an artist living and working in Nicosia. He works mainly with sculpture and film to suggest new relations between objects, information, and society. His ongoing research highlights nuanced understandings of the present through an exploration of found fragments and the everyday vernacular. Forgoing distinctions between art and craft, he often collaborates with local specialists to explore material culture and how memory is attached to the senses: not only images but also textures, smells and sounds. He is the co-founder and director of the artist-run gallery PARTY Contemporary (2018 – 2020) and founder of the project space Midget Factory (2003 – 2012). Solo presentations include People also ask, curated by Marina Christodoulidou (Rehearsal, Nicosia, 2022), The Other Sleeps In All Things Around (Wonnerh Dejaco Gallery, Duo show, Vienna, 2021), Now Dear Eyes, Dear Eyes, a Split (Eins Gallery, Limassol, 2021), at this moment, curated by Luca Lo Pinto (Macro Museum Rome, 2020). He co-represented Cyprus at the 55th Venice Biennale, Oo – The Cyprus / Lithuanian Pavilion, curated by Raimundas Malašauskas.
Peter Eramian is a sculptor/installation artist and curator whose practice revolves around the politics of matter, labour and the body. He is especially interested in the fading interplay between notions of nature and human activity. Peter holds a BA in Fine Art & History of Art from Goldsmiths College, UK, and an MA in Philosophy from Birkbeck College, UK. In 2018 he completed the Home Workspace Program at Ashkal Alwan in Beirut, where he primarily focused on the compounding properties of concrete and the sealing properties of plastics. Peter has been co-running the artist-led project space Thkio Ppalies together with Stelios Kallinikou since 2015. Previously, he was the founding chief-editor of The Cyprus Dossier and Shoppinghour Magazine. Currently, he is part of the curatorial team of the project The Broken Pitcher, together with Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Marina Christodoulidou, presented at Thkio Ppalies (Nicosia), Beirut Art Center (Beirut), GfZK (Leipzig) and Lenbachhaus (Munich). With LLC (an artistic duo between Eramian and Emidio Vasquez) he will represent Cyprus at the 60th International Art Exhibition – Biennale Arte 2024, along with Endrosia collective and Haig Aivazian.
Evagoras Vanezis is a curator and writer based in Nicosia. His research focuses on methodologies and politics of performativity. He organises various exhibitions, programs, and publishing projects in collaboration with communities and institutions. Through the mediums of project, exhibition, and text, his methodology incorporates events and ecologies from varied sources such as the history of aesthetics, queer and decolonial theory, personal and collective experiences. Recent projects include Anachoresis: Upon Inhabiting Distances, the Cyprus Pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale (co-curator, 2021), and Formworks, Thkio Ppalies Project Space (curator, 2019 – 2022). He is currently a fellow of A Natural Oasis?, Biennale of young artists from Europe and the Mediterranean (BJCEM, 2022 - 3).
 Books relating to the themes of the exhibition by Mouflon Bookshop, Nicosia.
[02-04] Peter Eramian, poet, 2023, papier-mâché clay with cement pigments, app. 100 x 200 x 35 cm, box with glass shards of Varotsos’ first iteration of The Poet, photographic print on 300g art paper. Shards collected by Raissa Angeli, photograph taken with Stelios Kallinikou.
 Images of endemic flora taken by Dr. Yiannis Christofides.
 Phanos Kyriacou, Public Note, 2012, neon light, epoxy, 170 x 8 x 5 cm
 Phanos Kyriacou, Illuminated Scene, 2013, metal, glass, light, 115 x 42 x 43 cm
[08 - 09] Maria Spivak, St Bartholomew's Church, 2023, copper tubes, iron, motors, amplifier, mixer, dimensions variable
 Phanos Kyriacou, Door Handles, 2020, bronze, pine wood, concrete 25 x 7 x 14 cm
 Phanos Kyriacou, Fig(ure), 2023, markers on paper in custom pine frame and tinted glass, 43 x 31 x 3 cm and Cypress Pine, 2016, pine wood, cypress oil, steel, 25 x 21 x 10 cm
 Phanos Kyriacou, Fig(ure), 2023, markers on paper in custom pine frame and tinted glass, 43 x 31 x 3 cm
 Phanos Kyriacou, Bar Stools, 2019, plywood, acrylic lacquered, steel, stainless steel, 104 x 34 x 7 cm