Ambiguous bodies: timeless interpretations

Ambiguous bodies: timeless interpretations


On Saturday, 20 May 2017, 6:00pm, NeMe, the Contemporary Art Centre of Thessaloniki and the Department of Fine Arts, Cyprus University of Technology invite you to Ambiguous bodies: timeless interpretations, a seminar at the Pefkios Georgiades Auditorium, Cyprus University of Technology and the opening of the exhibition curated by Areti Leopoulou, at NeMe Arts Centre at 8:30pm. During the exhibition opening there will be a performance by Alexandros Plomaritis.

Using texts by Diane Bolger (Beyond Male/Female: Recent Approaches to Gender in Cypriot Prehistory) as a starting point, Areti Leopoulou was invited by NeMe to curate an exhibition and seminar which responds to the historical preconceptions of Cypriot Figurines from the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age. Leopoulou has selected works by Cypriot and Greek artists which have inherent, although in some cases, oblique references to ancient gendered figurines whilst remaining clearly within a contemporary critical and interdisciplinary platform.

Excerpt from Curator’s text

From prehistory to today, probably the most common, simple, and yet complexed element of nature, is the human body; the ultimate fountain for any identity and the structure of every civilisation. Thus, from the vague (yet also open to interpretation) representations of antiquity and up to the 3rd wave of Feminism and to Post-modernism, gender, body and its ambiguous or clarified identity, remain fundamental issues, constantly revolving their interpretive and sociological strategies.

Using as an inspirational foundation the Cypriot prehistoric figurines, and in particular the notable lack of clarity regarding their gender indications, more than 13 artists, assuming the role of “creative archaeologists”, are invited to creatively approach this major interpretive issue, which today employs to a large extent, post-cultural theory: gender, the body and its sex, the ambiguity (or refusal) of gender, as it has been shaped and formed for centuries.

The speakers and artists were invited to de-construct existing stereotypes and to shape their own fertile arguments on historical and contemporary controversial gender identities in context to Third Wave feminist theory.

*This exhibition will also travel to the Contemporary Art Centre of Thessaloniki (CACT) during January 2018.


Venue: NeMe Arts Centre, Limassol, Cyprus
Opening: 20th May 2017, 8:30pm
Duration: 20th May – 3rd June 2017
Opening Days/Hours: Monday-Friday, 17:30-20:30; Saturday, 10:00-13:00
Curator: Areti Leopoulou
Participating Artists: John Bardakos, Glitch Artists Collective, Vaso Hadjoulli Sergiou, Elina Ioannou, Niki Kanagini, Akis Karanos, Maria Lianou, Virginia Mastrogiannaki, Natasha Papadopoulou, Michalis Papamichael, Alexandros Plomaritis, Charalambos Sergiou, Panikos Tembriotis
Organisers: NeMe & Contemporary Art Centre of Thessaloniki (State Museum of Contemporary Art – The Costakis Collection)


Venue: Pefkios Georgiades Auditorium, Cyprus University of Technology
Date: 20/05/2017, 18:00-20:00
Moderator: Areti Leopoulou
Speakers: Diane Bolger, Evanthia Tselika, Diana Georgiou
Language: English
Organisers: NeMe & Department of Fine Arts, Cyprus University of Technology

Χρησιμοποιώντας κείμενα της Diane Bolger (Beyond Male/Female: Recent Approaches to Gender in Cypriot Prehistory), το NeMe ζήτησε από την Αρετή Λεοπούλου να αναλάβει την επιμέλεια μιας έκθεσης και ενός σεμιναρίου που ανταποκρίνεται στις ιστορικές προκαταλήψεις των Κυπριακών ειδωλίων από τις περιόδους του Χαλκού και τη Χαλκολιθικού. Η Λεοπούλου έκανε μια επιλογή έργων, από Κύπριους και Έλληνες καλλιτέχνες, που επιχειρούν τις δικές τους εικαστικές αναφορές στα αρχαία ειδώλια, ενώ παραμένουν σαφώς μέσα σε ένα πλαίσιο σύγχρονης και διεπιστημονικής προσέγγισης.

Απόσπασμα από τη δήλωση της επιμελήτριας

Από την προϊστορία έως και σήμερα, ίσως το πιο προσιτό, απλό, αλλά συνάμα και περίπλοκο στοιχείο της φύσης, δηλαδή το ανθρώπινο σώμα, αποτελεί την απόλυτη «έδρα» για την ταυτότητα και τη δομή κάθε πολιτισμού.

Με αφορμή τα προϊστορικά κυπριακά ειδώλια και, ειδικότερα, την αξιοσημείωτη ασάφεια ως προς την ένδειξη φύλου σε αυτά, 13 καλλιτέχνες, ως «άλλοι» αρχαιολόγοι, καλούνται να προσεγγίσουν ερμηνευτικά ένα μείζον θέμα που σήμερα απασχολεί και τη σύγχρονη (μετα)πολιτισμική θεωρία: το φύλο, το σώμα ως φορέα του, την αοριστία (ή και την άρνηση) ένδειξης ή αφομοίωσης φύλου, όπως αυτό φαίνεται να διαμορφώνεται εδώ και αιώνες. Καλούνται να αποδομήσουν στερεότυπα, να προτάξουν τη δική τους γόνιμη διαχείριση κάθε αμφιλεγόμενης και ανένταχτης ταυτότητας.

Έτσι, από τις ασαφείς (και ανοιχτές σε ερμηνεία) αναπαραστάσεις της αρχαιότητας, μέχρι το 3ο ρεύμα του φεμινιστικού κινήματος και τον μεταμοντερνισμό, το φύλο, το σώμα, η αοριστία ή ο ορισμός με κάθε πιθανό τρόπο, παραμένουν ζητήματα με συνεχώς ανανεούμενες ερμηνευτικές και κοινωνιολογικές στρατηγικές προσέγγισης.

Οι εικαστικές και θεωρητικές προσεγγίσεις διεπιστημονικής βάσης και λογικής από τους καλλιτέχνες και τους εξειδικευμένους ερευνητές-ομιλητές, θα συμπληρώσουν τη διοργάνωση, που επιχειρεί να ψηλαφίσει έναν προβληματισμό περίπλοκο και ανεξάντλητο: την μετα-πρόσληψη του φύλου ιστορικά και κοινωνιολογικά.

*Η έκθεση θα ταξιδέψει στο Κέντρο Σύγχρονης Τέχνης Θεσσαλονίκης (CACT) τον Ιανουάριο του 2018.


Τόπος: NeMe Arts Centre, Λεμεσός
Εγκαίνια: 20 Μαΐου 2017, 8:30μμ
Διάρκια: 20 Μαΐου – 3 Ιουνίου, 2017
Μέρες/Ώρες λειτουργίας: Δευτέρα-Παρασκευή: 18:00-20:00, Σάββατο: 10:00-13:00
Επιμελήτρια: Αρετή Λεοπούλου
Καλλιτέχνες: Γιάννης Μπαρδάκος, Ελίνα Ιωάννου, Νίκη Καναγκίνη, Άκης Καράνος, Μαρία Λιανού, Βιργινία Μαστρογιαννάκη, Νατάσα Παπαδοπούλου, Μιχάλης Παπαμιχαήλ, Αλέξανδρος Πλωμαρίτης, Χαράλαμπος Σεργίου, Πανίκος Τεμπριώτης, Βάσω Χατζουλή Σεργίου, Glitch Artists Collective
Οργάνωση: NeMe & Κέντρο Σύγχρονης Τέχνης Θεσσαλονίκης (Κρατικού Μουσείου Σύγχρονης Τέχνης – Συλλογή Κωστάκη)


Τόπος: Αίθουσα Πεύκιος Γεωργιάδης, ΤΕΑΠΑΚ
Ημερομηνία: 20/05/2017 18:00-20:00
Συντονίστρια: Αρετή Λεοπούλου
Ομιλητές: Diane Bolger, Ευανθία Τσελίκα, Ντιάνα Γεωργίου
Οργάνωση: NeMe & Τμήμα Καλών Τεχνών, Τεχνολογικό Πανεπιστήμιο Κύπρου

Το σεμινάριο θα είναι στα Αγγλικά


Abstracts and biographies of seminar speakers:

Diane Bolger

Beyond male and female: recognizing ambiguity and diversity in Cypriot prehistoric art

Because the archaeological record of prehistoric Cyprus is rich in remains of figurative art, and particularly in anthropomorphic representations, it provides fertile ground for gendered debate; however, the social significance of this important body of material cannot easily be understood. The lack of detailed contextual evidence for all but the most recently excavated examples, due to poor recording methods in earlier generations, as well as their illicit trade on the antiquities market, hampers sound interpretations and has fostered a variety of conflicting views that cannot often been substantiated. In addition to problems of provenance and context, there has been a strong tendency to conjure up ill-founded images of these early figurative works as formative examples of Goddesses, culminating in the romantic view of Cyprus as the Island of Aphrodite known from Classical times. The ‘goddess narrative’ has come under sharp criticism in recent years, both in Cyprus and elsewhere, and has been largely rejected in recent scholarly research. In this talk I will consider examples of Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze Age figurines in Cyprus from the perspectives of Third Wave gender studies, which enable us to move beyond binary constructs of male and female identities and embrace concepts of ambiguity, diversity and change.

Diane Bolger is a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. She has been working in Cyprus for more than 30 years, first as a doctoral candidate on the site of Erimi-Pamboula near Limassol and since 1985 as Ceramics Specialist for the Lemba Archaeological Project in the Paphos district. She has written extensively on the pottery and cultures of prehistoric Cyprus, with several books and numerous articles to her credit. Over the last ten years she has also developed an interest in the archaeology of gender, focusing particularly on the interfaces between gender and social complexity in Cyprus during the Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages; she has recently published two books on this subject. Dr. Bolger is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Cincinnati, where she received her Ph.D. Before moving to Edinburgh she worked in Heidelberg, Germany as a lecturer in anthropology and archaeology for the University of Maryland’s European Division. She was appointed professor by the University of Maryland in 2001.

Evanthia Tselika

Excavating hard drives: Glimpses of female Cypriot bodies and voices in an ambiguous order

For the last eight or so years I have been gathering stories and images from Cyprus which relate to female ancient deities, women who lived in Ottoman times, twentieth century working women groups, women marches, contemporary female migrant activists, women residents in state housing. Some of these relate to personal, research or visual interests and some have arisen through explorations with different collaborators. This presentation will interweave some of these moments to reflect on how we understand body and voice in how we interpret the image of woman in Cyprus. Digging through my hard drives I stitch together a narrative to think of the ambiguous of Cypriot feminines and feminisms.

Evanthia Tselika is a visual arts researcher, visual art producer and arts educator. She is assistant professor and programme coordinator of the Fine Art programme, University of Nicosia. Tselika has a Ph.D. from the School of the Arts, Birkbeck College: University of London. Her practice led research is focused on the role of conflict and dialogue in relation to socially engaged art practices within segregated urban contexts. She has extended research and practical experience in socially engaged women and pedagogical art practices with a focus on conflict related contemporary art practices and dialogical structures within the context of divided cities. She has worked, exhibited and collaborated with various galleries and museums in London, El Salvador, Cyprus, Greece, Mexico and Brazil, such as the Municipal Arts Centre in Nicosia, the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, October Gallery in London, the Modern Art Museum of El Salvador, and the Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil, amongst others.

Diana Georgiou

Stereotypically Ambiguous: exploring the associations between ambiguity and queer bodies.

Considering how the term ambiguity has been linked to the representation and social relations of queer bodies, I aim to contextualize ambiguity through a reading of Simone De Beauvoir’s Ethics of Ambiguity. Drawing from this philosophical work, I explore how ambiguity might or might not be a productive term, especially when it relates to queer and feminist bodies in live art. The presentation will showcase forms of political and social resistance employed by transnational queer and/or feminist artists – exposing issues of censorship, pornography and sexual and gender discrimination and how these have been tackled by artists who employ post-porn, genderfuck, fat/sex/body-positivity and other queer-feminist practices.

Diana Georgiou is a writer, curator, educator, researcher and co-director of the organisation Arts Feminism Queer. Her curatorial practice specialises in multidisciplinary events for alternative spaces, site-specific live art processes with a focus on audience participation and an acute sensibility for work of a complex, challenging and political nature. Recent productions include the conferences Power, Subcultures & Queer Stages at Queen Mary University (2017), Live Art & the Cyborg Body and Sexuality & Gender in Times of Crisis: Live Art & Feminism in Greece at Goldsmiths, London (2016); the 2-week programme Now You Can Go which considered feminist thinking, art and activism, taking place across The Showroom, the ICA, Space Studios and Raven Row in London (2015); the ongoing multi-media & live art club night Deep Trash, at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, London; a tailor-made interactive workshop for a young audience (16-25 year olds) Place, Pornography & Paranoia at the Foundation of Art & Creative Technology, Liverpool, which examined the intersections of art, gender, pornography and censorship through the use of live art and technology. Upcoming projects include co-curating the video art exhibition Transitional States: Hormones at the Intersections of Art & Science, touring to London, Lincoln, Barcelona and Bologna, funded by the Wellcome Trust (2017-19). Diana’s doctoral research in the Visual Cultures department at Goldsmiths, University of London, examines the relationship between art-writing and subjectivity through the lens of feminist psychoanalytic theories.


Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture, Medochemie

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