In our quest to create a space which would act as a canvas to magnificently crafted clothes, shoes and accessories, old books and vinyl records, we asked Cypriot artist Phanos Kyriacou, to work with us and share our vision.
Despite him living abroad and the main means of communication between us being Skype, sharing a vision was in fact easier than we thought. Phanos’s own way of living shares the same principle with the concept of Black Celebration: “nothing is what it seems like”. This is the principle which helps him comprehend the world around him and at the same time what keeps him alert and interested. Moreover, the subject of “space” and any opportunities to “poison” it preoccupy him immensely.
Phanos spent three weeks of his Easter holiday observing and studying every single detail of the store interior before returning to Berlin. We then embarked together on a strange, yet, most creative adventure, that turned him into “Master Skype” - the virtual super-hero who lives in a laptop screen, gets his energy levels up by staring directly at light bulbs and gives directions through wires - and us into his helpers in Nicosia.
Our journey involved very long, almost daily online conversations, many sketches and photographs, many puzzles and riddles that had to be solved and several maps for trips to unknown territories of the old city, in an effort to unbury little shops forgotten in previous decades which could provide us with the exact materials that Phanos had in mind.
It also involved the revival of elements and objects with a definitive presence in the local life of past decades and their transformation into ultra-modern volumes that occupy the space disproportionately, a three-month exploration of the unknown territory of un-galvanized sheet-metal and almost a scientific diploma on how to fight rust. A game of materials and finishes (and lack of them), a lot of stripping and scratching the floor which still looks like it has been shot by a crazy sheriff, as well as a huge debate on whether the mezzanine needs safety rails at the edges or not (it turns out that it doesn’t).
Black Celebration arrived in Nicosia in December 2011, in the form of a Gesamtkunstwork.