What happens in common perception, what causes surprise, what are the notions of the unnatural and the mysterious associated with the paradoxical elements of a space? In ancient Greek literature, the paradoxes were collections of strange events and phenomena perceived by humans, whether they came from their own life or from nature. At odds with Sterna’s standard principle that the participants should find themselves on Nisyros for the first time, so that their creations would reflect their response to this new experience, this time the organisation has invited two artists who have lived on the island for years and are emotionally attached to it, asking them to create for the Bath facilities of Mandraki.
The Baths building will operate as an exhibition space for the last time; as a research and meeting space shortly before its restoration. It is a ruin for the last time. Can a two-centuries old building return to its erstwhile form when the souls of the bathers remain in its dilapidated tubs? What is the reaction of two artists who know the place and are familiar with the historic site of the Baths? The exhibition Paradoxically paradox focuses on the history of the building and its connection to Nisyros as well as on its architectural and practical presence. A place of healing and later of entertainment, abandoned for a time until it began to host contemporary art shows, and now about to be restored.
To Jason Karaindros a line of poetry, a tune or the sound of a familiar voice is like a scent that instantly crosses the mind and recalls an entire world. With his projects in the Baths he seeks catharsis through 140 voices of Nisyros that whisper, sing or chant two couplets of Nikos Gatsos set to music by Stavros Xarhakos. Echoes of fire and sea make up an incessant, paradoxical and familiar litany. Does the notion of catharsis still retain any meaning?
"We should learn to live more on staircases. But how?" (Georges Perec). Virginia Mastrogiannaki traces the paradox in the sculptural quality of the staircase, focusing on the horizontal elements that serve a perpendicular course. A staircase bridges surfaces of different height, and always has an ultimate objective. Using the native, ‘visceral’ material of Nisyros, pumice stone, she intends to build a staircase, starting on the opening day of the show and until it is finished, working every day before the viewers; the stairs will be mentally connecting the dilapidated building’s ground floor with the first floor that no longer exists. It is true that a staircase does not need a building to exist as a staircase — but it does need a starting point and a destination.
Open House - 27 July 2017 at 20.00; Sterna Residence, Castle of Emporeios
During the Open House that Sterna organises every year two days before the official opening of the show, a local musician is invited to play the island’s tunes for the first time without electronic support and equipment. Michalis Hazoglou, a new-generation musician who lives on Nisyros and works for the Electricity Company, moves around the Sterna premises and plays the island’s melodies at a slow tempo on his violin. For one hour the village fills with the local tunes, differently played, and reaches the people who are sitting in the courtyard, the terrace, the lanes that lead to the Castle or the village square. After all, it was from the Sterna courtyard that Rias, the village crier, used to announce the news.
Photos by Nysos Vasilopoulos, Baths, Mandraki Nisyros, 2015.
Curator: Greg Haji Ioannides
Participating artists: Jason Karaindros, Virginia Mastrogiannaki
Open house: Michalis Hazoglou, musical action, 27 July 2017 at 20.00; Sterna Residence, Castle of Emporeios