Public notes

Mapping Cyprus, Contemporary Views- Bozar, Brussels

Curator Androula Michael

The artist skillfully plays with the multiple semantic levels of reality and the

way in which they are perceived by different people in different situations.

“I love Cyprus and Cyprus loves me” – which can be seen as an advertising

slogan – is actually a trap, a combination which encompasses both this

overused phrase – synonymous with the tourism promotion of a place –

and the famous 1974 performance “I like America and America likes me”

by artist Joseph Beuys. This ironic phrase – Beuys’ reaction to America’s

foreign policy, as a result of which he had arrived at the gallery in an

ambulance without having to set foot on American soil – is appropriated by

Kyriacou so that he can make a composite slogan, a criticism both against

the advertising consumption of the image of a place and the notion of

“rewarding” feelings. This neon light sign, discreetly placed on a wall, shows

with great detachment the stereotypes to which the Cypriot society gives

in. By introducing some form of lightness and at the same time a discontent

to the ambiguity of the message and the reciprocation of love, the artist

introduces with this slogan an intrusive weed-like element, which upsets the

familiar stereotype. The mapping is no longer related to the geographical

space of Cyprus, but it has to do with the spatial-temporal elements of a

society that quite often is consumed in slogans – sometimes void ones –

in stereotypical reactions and actions. Therefore, apart from the almost

celebratory light-hearted slogan, the artist introduces the imperceptibly

unfamiliar. Phanos Kyriacou introduces elements that make reality lean

slightly to the opposite direction, by creating both conceptual and verbal

traps and by bringing the inconsistencies of the Cypriot space to the surface.

*the salad is in the fridge / note from my mother