By Heidi Trautmann
At EMAA’s (European Mediterranean Art Association) Art Centre I found an exhibition with the provoking question “Is this an exhibition?”, an exhibition in which all the spaces were used to display objects, thoughts, remnants, a sort of room filling event. This was a European project in cooperation with E.KA.TE, the Greek Cypriot Chamber of Art. Eight young artists, Sinem Ertaner, Yioula Pitsiali, Ahmet Özgünel, Uğur Bahçeci, Ateş Kozal, Serhat Selışik, Mustafa Batiberniz and Selim Birsel, all worked on a project with the idea of walking the streets of Nicosia, discovering, finding desolate places, opening doors, revealing the story, collecting the remnants, dusting them off, giving them a new home to tell a new story. That in short, is the idea.
The group of artists discovered an abandoned factory with tools and other objects dropped as if the people had left in panic. A plastics factory. They took these objects and arranged them in a new way with photos to tell the rest. Measuring instruments, saw blades, half finished products, a glimpse into the life story of a dead factory. So many factories were made redundant in North Cyprus, trade finished, no demand, no freedom, no hope, no future. And now, here, are their souvenirs.
How many further rooms could be filled with the objects of those countless other abandoned buildings, objects to be seen now merely as souvenirs?