Theodoulos Polyviou. Un Palazzo in esilio

  • When:   April 10, 2024 - July 07, 2024

Contemporary artArt Exhibitions in Milano


Theodoulos Polyviou. Un Palazzo in esilio
SCREEN, Theodoulos Polyviou - ph.David von Becker

From 10 April to 7 July 2024, Fondazione Elpis presents Un Palazzo in esilio (A Palace in exile), solo show by Theodoulos Polyviou, third chapter of Transmundane Economies, an ongoing project that the artist began in 2022, utilising virtual reality and related digital technology to study, reconstruct and restore the gaps within Cyprus' cultural heritage. By means of videos, sculptures, installations and drawings exhibited in all the Foundation's spaces, the exhibition begins from the project for a Cypriot archbishopric building, at the centre of a historical episode that actually occurred.

In the 1950s, in a climate of ethnic and national tension, archbishop Makarios III promoted the construction of a new archbishop's palace, launching the island's first architecture competition. This contest, and the public debate that emerged from it, highlighted the role of architecture in the national identity during British rule, creating a precedent for the island's architectural future.

Part of the Transmundane Economies project – following the first chapter titled Bellapais Abbey at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, and the second, SCREEN, also exhibited in Berlin, at the Bode Museum – Un Palazzo in esilio examines the way in which mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion within the palace's construction and symbolism fostered a sense of community and belonging, at the same time marginalising minority Cypriot groups from the prevailing nationalist narrative.

On the ground floor, a selection of original casts from the artist's archive marks the exhibition's starting point. Originating from the now disused Koromias factory in Nicosia, the casts had previously been utilised for the construction not only of the Archbishop's Palace, but also of many other churches in Cyprus. Some of these casts transcend their status as historical artefacts, constituting sculptures themselves, in part covered with gold leaf. In the artist's words, they act as "dogmatic negatives".

On the first floor, the artist, in cooperation with architect Loukis Menelaou, presents his own virtual entry for the 1950 competition, in the form of a video-installation. The proposal is based on the teachings of Daskalos, a Cypriot healer who was active from the 1950s to the 1990s, giving shape to the project. The animated film becomes a dialogue between actual history and the speculative history of the competition.
The video is accompanied by an architectural model made in wood recovered from the ceiling of the Fondazione Elpis building.... read the rest of the article»

Lastly, on the floor below, Polyviou exhibits a series of collages of advertisements from Greek, British and local newspapers printed in the 1950s, created by screen-printing the images onto building materials, and then stretching them onto aluminium frames. The collages illustrate the conflicting forces which at that time were creating turmoil in Cyprus' identity, and they underline important features of the broader relationship between colonial power and media communication. Alongside the drawings, a candelabra made from scaffolding supports ecclesiastical votive candles locally made by a workshop directly opposite the present-day Archbishop's Palace in Nicosia.

The exhibition project Un Palazzo in esilio (A Palace in exile) is part of the programme of exhibitions, initiatives, performances and openings of Milano Art Week 2024, scheduled from 8 to 14 April.

THE ARTIST
Theodoulos Polyviou (b. 1989, CY) is a Berlin-based artist whose practice, at its core, uses expanded media to consider the place of bodies within institutional physicality, and cultural and political narratives. His ongoing project Transmundane Economies deploys virtuality and associated digital technologies to study, reconstruct, and fill voids in Cypriot cultural heritage, deviating from a nationalist agenda to speculate instead on the relationship between queerness, repair and reinvention within the historical entanglements of the island. In 2014, Theodoulos graduated with a master's degree in visual communication from the Royal College of Art, London. He is the co-founder and former director of experimental project space Koraï, Cyprus. In 2020, he co-curated the 19th edition of Mediterranea Biennial: School of Waters, San Marino. He has presented his work in solo shows at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, and ZKM: Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, among others, and in various group shows, including the Cyprus Pavilion at 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice. In 2023, he was an artist in residence at Una Boccata d'Arte, a contemporary art project promoted by the Elpis Foundation, in collaboration with Galleria Continua. Theodoulos Polyviou has recently concluded his latest solo exhibition with the showcase of the second chapter of 'Transmundane Economies' titled 'SCREEN' at the Bode Museum in Berlin.

Fondazione Elpis
Founded in 2020 by Marina Nissim, entrepreneur and collector, the core of Fondazione Elpis' mission is the support of young artists. The Fondazione pursues its objectives through the production of exhibitions, residencies, educational activities and projects all over the country. With the aim of involving different audiences and exploring areas outside traditional art circuits, Fondazione Elpis unites worlds that are only apparently distant by intercepting the evolution of expressive languages. The decision to open a new headquarters in Milan – in October 2022 – stems from the projects and collaborations activated in recent years on a national scale. The Fondazione has thus consolidated an ever-widening network, implementing new models of participation and cultural fruition. One example is Una Boccata d'Arte, the contemporary art project that it's reaching its fifth edition in 2024, organised in collaboration with Galleria Continua and with the participation of Threes. A nationwide project that involves 20 artists each year in the creation of site-specific installations that can be visited for the entire summer in 20 Italian villages, one for each region.

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Title: Theodoulos Polyviou. Un Palazzo in esilio

Opening: April 10, 2024

Ending: July 07, 2024

Organization: Fondazione Elpis

Place: Milano, Fondazione Elpis

Address: via Lamarmora 26 - Milano

More info on this website: https://www.fondazioneelpis.org



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