Cyprus Pavilion at 56th Venice Biennale
Two Days After Forever
Sestiere San Marco 3079
Curator: Omar Kholeif
Assistant Curator: Daniella Rose King
Two Days After Forever is a solo presentation by artist Christodoulos Panayiotou, taking as one of its starting points the invention of archaeology and its instrumental role in forging the master narrative of history. It is a discursive proposal that considers an open-ended cartography for art and its territory.
The exhibition considers how the formal structure of antiquity can be fundamentally interrogated, enabling new spaces of imagination to emerge. Adopting a diversity of strategies, Panayiotou questions how tradition is formed and authorship and authenticity are governed. Through an act of meticulous staging, the artist critiques modernity’s hyperbolic and aspirational fabric and its inconsistent notion of progress.
Adopting a multi-disciplinary approach, and returning to central ideas of his research, Panayiotou’s work will manifest in a number of forms: as architecture—floors and walls, as choreographies—of movement and stillness, and as text that is both revealed and concealed. These are not definitive proposals, but open-ended topographies that seek to question the individual’s relationship to the constantly fluctuating act of making history.
Memory and memorialisation, historical fragmentation and completion, are in turn central points of exploration within this project. Panayiotou considers the transformative potential of the human in relation to the rarefied object, and critically explores the role of the readymade in contemporary practice through acts of creation and de-creation. Thus, the structures of economy are explored, materials are activated and their symbolic value is questioned.
Two Days After Forever is an exhibition that adopts different modes—it sleeps and awakens and embodies different temporalities. The project as such manifests as an anthropology of movement in the pavilion, where histories of illusion and disenchantment, dramaturgy and the Romantic ballet are revisited. These themes will be evidenced through ongoing performances that merge biography with historical imaginaries.
Two performances, The Parting Discourse and Levant U-Turn, will take place during the opening days of the biennale. The former will occur between the stage of Teatro Goldoni and the Cyprus Pavilion on 6 May, while the latter will see participants delve into the Mediterranean on 8 May. These will be the first of a series of activations, further details of which will be announced in the summer.
The performance The Parting Discourse will take place on Wednesday, 6 May, 10:30am, at Teatro Goldoni. To reserve a seat, please contact email@example.com. Availability is limited to 300 seats, by order of priority.
Christodoulos Panayiotou’s wide-ranging research focuses on the identification and uncovering of hidden narratives in the visual records of history and time. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at Point Centre for Contemporary Art, Nicosia, Cyprus; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Casino Luxembourg; CCA Kitakyushu, Japan; Centre d’Art Contemporain de Brétigny, France; Museum of Contemporary Art, St. Louis; Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig; Kunsthalle Zürich and Cubitt, London (among others). He has also participated in a number of group exhibitions, including Museion, Bolzano, Italy; Berlin Biennale 8; Migros Museum, Zürich; dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, Germany; CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; Joan Miro Foundation, Barcelona; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Ashkal Alwan Center for Contemporary Arts, Beirut; Artist Space, New York, MoCA Miami (among others).
Omar Kholeif is a writer, curator and editor. He is currently Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, Senior Editor of Ibraaz Publishing and Senior Visiting Curator at HOME. Previously he was Senior Visiting Curator at Cornerhouse, headed up Art and Technology at SPACE, London (where he was director of The White Building, London’s centre for art and technology), and was Curator at FACT, Liverpool. Omar was also Artistic Director at the Arab British Centre, London and Founding Director of the UK’s Arab Film Festival. Omar’s work focuses on issues of narrative, geography and satire for a hyperbolic and accelerating global culture. His recent publications include You Are Here: Art After the Internet and Jeddah Childhood circa 1994. He has curated and co-curated major exhibitions nationally and internationally, including the Liverpool Biennial, the 2015 Abraaj Group Art Prize at Art Dubai, UAE, and Focus: Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean at the Armory Show, New York.
The Cyprus Pavilion exhibition project will be accompanied by a new publication in collaboration with Sternberg Press. Two Days After Forever: A Reader On The Choreography Of Time is a reader of collected writings on archaeology, movement and the layering of time. The publication, in dual English and Greek editions, will feature contributions from Vassos Argyrou, Mirjam Brusius, Alkis Hadjiandreou, Yannis Hamilakis, Malak Helmy, Omar Kholeif, Didier Maleuvre, Walter Mignolo, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Yiannis Papadakis, Nasa Patapiou, Uzma Rizvi, Eike Wittrock and Konstantina Zanou.
Image: Unearthing and conservation works on floor mosaic at Agios Artemonas, Avlona, Cyprus. Image sourced from the Archive of the Cyprus Department of Antiquities. Courtesy The Cyprus Pavilion.