By Heidi Trautmann
So I was told. Today modern exhibitions are held in interactive spaces, underground public places, in factory buildings, in derelict houses, ruins, where the raw life shines through, the bowels of the underworld, naked, rough; not smooth white and innocent white walls where nothing disturbs the impression of the art displayed, the artworks have to find its place in the middle of rough life, never enough light, no comfort, just truth. The artist must fight for the recognition of his/her work inviting the viewer to come close and closer.
The curator of this exhibition and graphic designer Sofia Alexandra Dias Panayi was fascinated by the idea to use the basement of the Sartiricon Theatre in Nicosia South for a group exhibition when she realised the possibilities on the occasion of the solo exhibition of Nicholas Panayi in 2012. It looks like an underground car park but is used by the theatre as storage space; a wide space with many side ways and niches. The viewers are led along the walls to find the displayed art, around corners to see videos; park benches everywhere breaking the wide space into alleys, inviting people to sit down, to sit down and watch people watch, the obscurity enveloping all for a common experience; a small stool for each artist with a notebook and a pencil for the visitor to leave a comment which I find nice, an invitation to communicate.
The theme of the exhibition: Know Now – How does modern technology affect art today. I did not find all answers in what was displayed but I have an idea of what was meant by it; part of the message was the space as such as described above, and then it was video art and photography which for many years now has taken a very important position in art today; then there is graphic design which today is no longer done by hand but on the computer, reaching into the fields of advertising and industrial design; video art, and the art of jewellery design.
There were17 artists participating in the exhibition and the events (Please see website for all names and CVs www.knownowart.com. Goals of this exhibition were: a-To introduce to the public contemporary artists in different fields of art and not only by presenting the final piece of art but also the whole process: I found only some artists who fulfilled this target, among them was Nicholas Panayi with the road he described of his flower project from the idea to the results by various techniques; another artist, Marianna Charalambous, who did photo collages for the illustration of a poetry book; and Panayiotis Pasantas with his weird sculpture installation of a sleeping and snoring clay person in bed and an illustrated diary of the creation of the sculpture. b) To close the gap between public and artist: The venue was a prerequisite for the positive acceptance the exhibition has found. c) To revive interest in arts and create it where there was none: There were talks between the visitors and the artists to explain the process and the thought development of the art displayed. d) To offer the artists new experiences and a channel of communication with the public: I can confirm this fully; it is an experience for the artists to have to work with such conditions of venue and communication with the public at least at the opening was great created by the atmosphere and the creation of alleys by setting up park benches.
Within the framework of the exhibition tribute was paid to Niki Marangou, artist and friend who died in a car crash in Egypt just recently, with touching words by a close friend; her books and some paintings were displayed, also an art video with her, thus including her as one of the participating artists. She will not be forgotten. Music sketches by two wonderful artists, I could have listened longer. People stood around in groups, sat on the benches talking, watching, and it appeared to me that we were somehow all waiting for a train to come in and take us….. There were more activities and performances planned during the week, with ballet and poetry recitals, I wished I could have been there. I am sure that there will be more to hear and see in the future by “Knownowart”.