The Office is a gallery tucked deep within the Venetian city walls of Nicosia. It has taken root at the edge of town, while also standing at its innermost center. Located on the eerie and removed 32 Kleanthi Christofidi Street, it tightropes on the divide of history. Before it became a war-zone, stable shops lined what was an industrious street. Now, time is printed in disintegration and rust on the shuttered store fronts that stand in an almost military serial line along this narrow, yet high street, triggering a visceral connection to history. The crowdedness that this street once had is now only implicit, and it is at once disconcerting and intriguing. The street is open to redefinition.
In this deliberately chosen setting, the Office was conceived in an attempt to shake in a certain way the foundations of conventional urban living in Nicosia, to stimulate its nervous system from the center. The premises of the Office were used for over half a century as the workshop of shoemaker, Andreas Matsas. Even today it retains an aura that he created, his signature is left in the space visibly, if not audibly remembering the craftsmen of Old Nicosia.
If, as Seferis reminds us, ‘the strong craftsman is one of the most responsible individuals born in this world,’ then the Office stands as a place that maintains and upholds that sense of responsibility. As a place of ‘handcrafted’ ideas the Office continues the heritage of the Handmade, while at the same time refining, and in so doing redefining craft, in a post modern willingness to pose tradition against the new, drawing from and blending both the dark and bright sides of all traditions.
How does the Office function? The Office serves as a meeting place for ‘handcrafted’ ideas, through thematic exhibitions. It is also a place that hosts the work of the niche, fashion designer Carol Christian Poell. Finally, it functions as the personal and professional escape of writer Tassos A. Gkekas. The Office stands as a triptych composed of three separate, linked functions: a meeting place of the Handmade, escape, professional lieu. Each of its functions is autonomous and distinct. But much like a Francis Bacon triptych that acts as a single indivisible entity narrating a particular story, the functions of the Office meet and complement each other. Like the unifying flow of mercury, dialectics, discourse connects the three aspects of the Office.