For staying is nowhere
Opening: 08 October 2020 16:00 – 21:00
Duration: 08 October 2020 – 19 November 2020
Participating Artists: Yianna Harachliani, Hannah Dawn Henderson, Sky Hopinka, Kosmas Nikolaou, Sebastian Lloyd Rees, Laurentiu Sarjan, Spyros Staveris, Nanos Valaoritis & Marie Wilson (selected archives curated by Nadja Argyropoulou), Natalie Yiaxi, and Myrto Xanthopoulou
Curated by Ioanna Gerakidi
Borrowing its title from the first of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies, the group show ‘For staying is nowhere’ ponders on mysticism as a ceremonial conjuring into the unknown. It aims to be caressed as an effort to endure the pains and raptures of seemingly nonsense, tangible and intangible compositions, mythologies, and transcriptions of oral stories. It hopes to act as a means for speaking about what has been systemically and canonically considered as “Other.” Mysticism as an induction, a both celestial and grounded initiation into the bewildering, into the vulgar or sacred, is used as a paradoxical axis; its intention is not to impose a linearity in the exhibition’s narrative, but to instead allow for itinerant spaces to be created.
The filmic works of Sky Hopinka and Hannah Dawn Henderson, come into the narrative as theses engaging with the “diasporic body” which “is itself a territory—engrained with memories, colonial power impositions, and a haptic knowledge conditioned by nomadism,” as Henderson writes; they are valuing mythical, interlocked times and traditions while inhabiting movement as a transformative apparatus.
In his poem Good & Evil, for George Makris Nanos Valaoritis writes:
“I started to fall towards the ground
Which turned out to be her lips
While layers & layers of flesh went past me
And I could read their different shades of meaning
As if they had been lines of text. . .”
His words and other fragments of his and Marie Wilson’s archive, curated by Nadja Argyropoulou, operate as interrogations of the legible or ethereal qualities of another series of oxymora: the revived archive traces schemes arising from erotic dynamics as political praxes and concludes with the poetics of what escapes the possibilities of wording. Without exoticising any of the above, the selected material pays tribute to both unheard and shrieking spells, feminine archetypes, and untouched irregularities.
The close listening of the body required in any act of transcribing the visceral, the instinctive, or the delirious is expanded upon through the works of Natalie Yiaxi, Yianna Harachliani, and Myrto Xanthopoulou. Through their practices, they all employ gut feelings, diaristic fragments, and unrequited desires as intercessors for venturing into the unknown. Their artistic processes become meditative mechanisms, where physical repetitions, seemingly trivial materials and rough textures are used as a means to speak about lived or imagined chronicles.
Spyros Staveris’ series of small scale photographic works, often carrying journalistic qualities, Sebastian Lloyd Rees’ interventions on already existing archival serialities, and Kosmas Nikolaou’s artistic engagement with the protocols or instructions accompanying attested yet concealed transcripts arrive as introductions to an otherworldly yet cyclical time. In their practices, memory and its syntaxes, occasionally reinvented, play a vital role. Their perplexing linearity becomes a method to cope with mental breaks, loss, or absense. Based on historical, autobiographical or fictional occasions, they look at morphemes eroded, dismissed, or silenced. Drawing on an alternation of this almost ecstatic eeriness, the sculptural gestures of Laurentiu Sarjan focus on inscribed images of rural spaces, while also weaving their presence into ideas of surviving calculations and betrayals and fierce loves.
Through works varying in form, intensity, and volume, yet coming together to map what stubbornly remains historically vexed, ‘For staying is nowhere’ is a show not only about the lived and imagined cartographies of indigeneity, diaspora, and physical and mental dislocation, but also about the resilient constellations of meanings and unconventional realities that emerge from living with and coming from these ways of being.