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Traditions of one of the island’s historic villages combine with the future of art in a new space. SARA DOUEDARI meets the visionaries behind the gallery where old meets new among lemon and olive trees

 Down an alley in the village of Lefkara, a traditional brick building stands, leading into a gallery space that contrasts its historical exterior with a clean, modern design inside. At the core of t.a.s. lies a vision to enrich Lefkara’s cultural landscape by introducing a platform that is as much about celebrating the village’s storied past as it is about embracing the future of art.

“This village has an immense energy,” says creative artist Julian Epok, one of the two men behind the new gallery. Choosing Lefkara for the gallery’s location showcases its Unesco-acknowledged craft skills, blending traditional appeal with a deep artistic history.

feature gallery julian and christoph in the gallery
Julian and Christoph in the gallery

The gallery demonstrates its dedication to a multisensory experience through the curation of its own fashion collection and the introduction of a unique perfume. Drawing inspiration from the renowned Parisian boutique Colette Mon Amour, these efforts showcase t.a.s.’ goal to go beyond the traditional limits of an art gallery, delivering a comprehensive experience that embodies the spirit of the Mediterranean.

Personal stories and emotional connections further define the essence of t.a.s.. Christoph Pliessing, the second of the two men behind the new space, tells of one of the gallery’s early visitors, a young boy who was clearly moved by the form of communication far removed from the everyday, and demonstrating the gallery’s unique approach to engagement that prioritizes emotional and intellectual connections over mere observation. “Our dialogue evolved into a mutual exchange, breaking down the hierarchical boundaries that often exist in such spaces,” he said.

As t.a.s. gears up for its inaugural group exhibition, Exploring the Essence of Purity, it continues to build on its foundational principles of cultural and artistic exchange. This exhibition, featuring works from 16 artists across Cyprus, promises a vibrant exploration of purity through various artistic lenses. The event not only showcases the gallery’s commitment to promoting contemporary Cypriot art but also serves as a platform for critical discourse on contemporary themes. The exhibition kicks off with an opening event on Saturday and continues until July 13. Scheduled events surrounding the exhibition aim to deepen the dialogue between artists, culture enthusiasts, and the broader community.

“What started with a couple of art events together with Julian, quickly transformed into the urge to merge this common passion for art and dinner parties and share it with our peers,” he says of the t.a.s. space. Born in 1994, he hails from Austria.

Both have chosen Cyprus as their new home. “Cyprus has not only over 300 sunny days in a year, but we also profit from the tremendous economic advantages and rich culture of people who are hungry for fresh projects,” Christoph explains. “Travelling and working as much as we do, we enjoy the quiet haven that we found in the mountains here, overlooking the sea and working between lemon and olive trees.”

feature gallery inside the gallery
gallery inside the gallery

The gallery itself is envisioned as a “renaissance spaceship,” a term coined by Julian to describe t.a.s.’ ambitious mission to bridge divides. It represents a confluence of eras, a place where the linear progression of time folds in upon itself to offer a simultaneous experience of the old and the new. “This is not just a space for viewing art; it is an invitation to experience art in all its dimensions,” says Christoph.

“My work has always been very eclectic,” Julian says of his own art. Born in 1994, he grew up in Vienna in an artistic family; his father is a pianist, his mother a designer. He began with graffiti as an entry point into art at the age of 13, held his first solo exhibition at 16, and transitioned his artistic practice from photography to mixed media painting.

With t.a.s. Julian and Christoph are not just creating a space for art; they are crafting a global narrative that started in Lefkara, continued to Vienna and will next reach Dubai.

 

Purity

Group art exhibition with artists from all over Cyprus. April 13-July 13. t.a.s. gallery, Lefkara. Opening day: 3pm-7pm. Thusday-Sunday: 1pm-8pm. Tel: 99-241076, 96-786777. Instagram: @t.a.s.xyz

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