The Mediterranean Basin Emerging Artists award’s finalists will be exhibiting at the Artcurial Auction House
Pauline Simons founder of the HYam association
In 2014, HYam, with the Foundation Jean-Luc Lagardère, created an award for emerging artists from the Mediterranean: this prize was granted to a young Greek artist, Maria Tsagkari, chosen by an international jury among four finalists. Their work enlightened the diversity of the young Greek Cypriot scene, from the aesthetic and the ideological points of view, with “the past for only future” as a guiding thread. HYam developed its structure ever since, more so with the opening of a new subsidiary in Greece, necessary to realize in-situ projects in Hydra. The association is now preparing the second part of its project to support young artists from the Mediterranean scene: the showcase of the four finalists’ works – Rania Bellou, Marianna Christofides, Maria Tsagkari, the laureate, and Athanasios Zagorisios.
Entitled “erotimatiko”, the exhibit will take place from the 8th to the 17th of January 2016. Open to the general public thanks to the guidance of specialized facilitators, it will be enriched by the publication of a bilingual catalogue specifically designed for this occasion. François Tajan, deputy chairman of the Artcurial auction house and member of the first jury, renews its confidence and its support to the HYam project by welcoming this exhibit.
Since the awards ceremony, the work of the four finalists evolved. It has been enriched with new experiences in their country or abroad (exhibitions, fairs, residences) and, as a result, incorporated a multitude of new shades. Each one of them continues to make its own path. This is why HYam decided to show their latest works in a Parisian venue dedicated to international art, thus showing all the energy and the creativity of the Greek Cypriot stage.
Produced by HYam, the in-situ installation of the laureate Maria Tsagkari will be the first step of an artistic boardwalk, which will meet the rocks. The young artist, mindful of the singularity of the island, already finished her in-situ project related to her new researches for The New Green. She will be welcomed by HYam on the Hydra Island and will complete her project with the cooperation of local craftsmen. The final work will be settled in June 2016, creating a new Hydriot event besides from the summer exhibitions.
ερωτηματικό ; erotimatiko ?
In the Greek language, the question mark -erotimatiko- looks like our semi-colon. Therefore, this punctuation mark can evoke the Greek art of questioning and the parallel of a situation where “the old is dying and the new cannot be born” (Antonio Gramsci) at once. Featuring the four young Greek Cypriot artists award finalists’ works (drawings, videos and installations), the HYam association is willing to bring light to different aesthetic visions of this interregnum which marks not only Greece, but all the Mediterranean basin as well. The consequences of an ever-growing economic crisis filter slowly, insidiously but bitterly. By mixing different pieces of life on the paper – including hers – in different space-times, Rania Bellou evokes the necessary passage from the intimate to the public sphere. In her movie Days in Between, Marianna Christofides underlines the reality of these in-between landscapes, these eastern undefined and forgotten borders, hence moving; by imposing The Blue as The New Green, Maria Tsagkari reminds the quest for the “impossible dream” and, as Victor Hugo evoked, the value of chimeras. Isn’t the work of Athanasios Zagorisios an aesthetic attempt to question, through scientific experiment, this feeling of ephemeral, which becomes even stronger in these tough times?
Maria Tsagkari, laureate
Maria Tsagkari, who spread ashes on gardens-installations, wove ephemeral mats with vegetal sinuosity, drew labyrinths on glazed aluminum, continues her researches on the symbolic and possible transformation of green spaces. The Blue as The New Green… What if a scientific society was capable of transforming plants’ DNA to correct the vision of nature, and more largely the world’s perception someday? In her latest projects, whether a permanent artwork for Hydra’s public space – third part of the HYam project – or the composition of a hanging garden, Maria Tsagkari is attached to the myth of this blue flower, which already haunted the romantic heroes. Was not Heinrich von Ofterdingen, character of Novalis’ unfinished novel, spending his days to seek for it? As an icon of pure poetry, inner unity, inaccessible infinite and unfulfilled passion, Maria Tsagkari imposes it in every single work she creates, as if she wanted to represent a modern reality which, in front of all diktats, swings between faith in the impossible and belief in the irrational.
Rania Bellou, finalist
Rania Bellou reinvents pieces of life and floods whites. By gleaning archives here and there or searching in random diaries – the last one shows writings, thoughts and thinking of the Greek poet Panos Stanis, active in the 1950’s – or elsewhere, the artist finds amazing teasers to begin a new story. Faithful to a technique in which she mixes the realistic precision of the black line to the evanescence of a blurry gray, or the transparency of a Japanese paper, Rania Bellou is inspired by an incursion, a kind of voyeurism, to feed her story and create a fiction in which she will also input her own story. We stealthily slide from the private sphere to the public sphere, from the particular to the general. By turning the pages of her artist book, in which all of the 100 pencil drawings can only exist one in relation to another, we also cease the singularity of the stories that appear and disappear in a space-time left to the good will of the artist. Here, reality and fiction mingle over and over, leaving the spectator free to rewrite his own story.
Marianna Christofides, finalist
In the Balkans a new country begins beyond every river… it comes from a country were the borders have been drawn with a giant ruler through vast grain-billowing fields… comments a voice in the background of Days In Between, the latest movie of Marianna Christofides. After a technical incident, the artist, with her shoulder camera, had to travel across the Balkans and its in-between landscapes bordered of water, where the frontiers are ill defined and moving. All her bearing points had disappeared, as if, by magic, underlining the desperation of those forgotten places that have to be constantly reconsidered and reinvented. By emphasizing this mutation phenomenon in a poetic and distant way, she lets time to this flexibility that our occidental societies have straitjacketed. In these places of loneliness where, like in the movies of Tarkovsky, water, this “element of the intermediary”, is ubiquitous, we have to picture Sisyphus happy… The film ends with these words of Albert Camus.