Magazine article Artforum International

Haris Epaminonda: Talks about "Projects 96"

Magazine article Artforum International

Haris Epaminonda: Talks about "Projects 96"

Article excerpt

GROWING UP IN GREEK CYPRUS in the i980s, Berlin-based artist Haris Epaminonda thought of the Turkish side of that divided island as an unimaginable world. But, she recalls, "I somehow believed I could connect to this other world through books and the ancient ruins and relics found everywhere on the island--things that existed long before the country was to be separated." Epaminonda could be described as a time traveler, one who roves among eras collecting such artifacts. The elements in this ever-growing trove of found images (both still and moving) and objects are recycled and reassimilated into her work in various ways. In her precise installations, items from her archive---whether presented in groupings of found curios or images, or incorporated into collages or films---are arrayed on, in, or among plinths, frames, and other display structures of the artist's own design. The architecture, too, is designed by Epaminonda. Typically, she will build a museum within a museum, squashing or elongating the proportions of the host institution's gallery, creating alcoves, culs-de-sac, and dead ends. Via these constructions, she directs the viewer's journey while creating a rupture between the self-contained world of her work and the larger institutional "world" that houses it.

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This month in New York, Epaminonda will present a new installation as part of the Museum of Modern Art's ongoing series of "Projects" exhibitions. A kind of architectural folly, the installation will comprise several discrete spaces. In the first room, Epaminonda will create a museological-style display using a number of different items from her collection. In the darkened second room, the three-channel video installation Tarahi IIII, V, VI, 2007, will be shown. Epaminonda created each of the component videos, which will play sequentially in a continuous cycle, by editing together excerpts of Greek movies from the '60s. The suburban melodrama of the source material is transformed by Epaminonda's editing, which loosely synchronizes fragments of the original films to Alexander Scriabin's eerie, dissonant Piano Sonata No. 10(1913). Devices such as slow motion and super-imposition amplify the music's ominousness, estranging such innocuous images as a couple crossing a footbridge or a little girl standing on a bright green lawn. Faced with these decontextualized snippets, viewers are thrown back on their own memories and associations--as is the case in all of Epaminonda's work, which transposes the relics of the past from historical time to psychological time, to use Henri Bergson's formulation. In this register, temporality is nonlinear and subjective, and the experience of duration is as mysterious, recursive, and unpredictable as memory itself.

IN GREEK, tarahi means "turmoil"--specifically, a moment of calm followed by something intense happening. It's also a state of mind, and I think this state of mind, this mood will be echoed throughout the exhibition at MOMA. There will be two rooms; the films will he shown in one, and in the other will be architectural interventions: a large niche and a little window--similar to the window I made at Tate Modern in 2010--as well as a selection of framed images, some pedestals and found objects. …

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