By Maria Gregoriou
Having shaken off some of the winter cold, the exhibition scene is starting to offer us some diverse and interesting suggestions. As of Saturday, the Point Centre for Contemporary Art in Nicosia will be showcasing their first exhibition for summer with internationally acclaimed artist Christodoulos Panayiotou, under the title Stories from the Lives of My Friends.
Panayiotou, from Limassol, will be bringing together existing and newly commissioned work for his first solo exhibition in Cyprus.
The artist chose to name his exhibition after a novel which Anton Chekhov never finished, and which Chekhov referred to in a letter to his intimate friend Aleksey Suvorin by saying “guess what, I’m writing a novel!!! And what an intricate plot! I’ve called it Stories from the Lives of My Friends.”
By borrowing the allusive title of this unfulfilled project, Panayiotou uses the title to propose a radical interpretation of Chekhov’s dramaturgy and the relevant notion of subtext.
As the artist’s wide-ranging research focuses on the identification and uncovering of hidden narratives in the visual records of history and time, this solo exhibition makes use of the unfinished and what is left unsaid to highlight Chekhov’s masterful writings.
This emphasis on the hidden was made clear in the words of the Russian actor and theatre director Constantin Stanislaski, who commented on Chekhov’s work by saying: “Chekhov often expressed his thought not in speeches, but in pauses or between the lines or in replies consisting of a single word. The characters often feel and think things not expressed in the lines they speak.”
These notions of subtext, disillusionment and the estrangement effect are the central pivotal points of Panayiotou’s exhibition and work.
For the purpose of his first solo exhibition on the island, the artist has put together a series of works which develop beyond what is stated, as do Chekhov‘s characters.
Panayiotou’s choice of materials puts the idea of a dominant truth into question and challenges the ways we perceive and interpret our collective and individual narrations.
Panayiotou has had solo exhibitions in Hong Kong, China, Sweden, Japan, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Britain, and the USA. He has been selected to represent Cyprus at the 2015 Venice Biennale.
Stories from the Lives of My Friends
Solo exhibition by Christodoulos Panayiotou. Opens March 7 until May 8. Point Centre for Contemporary Art. 2 Evagorou Avenue, Nicosia. Tuesday to Friday: 11am-6pm. Saturday: 11am-3pm. Tel: 22-662053