opening at 8pm, Friday 11 January 2008 at the Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, Nicosia, Cyprus

Isolomania is presented by NeMe through the Independent Museum of Contemporary Art (IMCA) as part of the program “Under Construction: Alternative Museum Spaces” organised by the Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre in association with the Pierides Foundation, E.KA.TE and the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Coordinator of UC:AMS: Andree Zivanari
Curator of Isolomania: Helene Black

‘Isolomania’ expresses an interest in the mechanisms of social exchange as defined by particular cultural values. This event aims to raise issues and questions regarding the place of art in our contemporary reality especially the newly acquired EU identity and its relationship to the idiosyncratic local. By exploring the ambiguous space between that inhabited by established concepts and norms of Europe and their relationship with ideas from the small ‘periphery’ of Cyprus, a space is created which could potentially resonate as a ‘generator of new understanding’. It is the interaction of both these spaces which has the potential to generate fusions of new relationships, which may emerge within the context of time, and thus turn our gaze to a more consummate translation of the dynamics of our present reality.

‘Isolomania’, with its focus on the issues revolving around the integrity of art in context to its political and social engagement will hopefully generate such questions as: Does art really make a difference in our particular society? Is art of this type very quickly relegated into the category of forgotten junk with storerooms and ateliers filled with social comments which have no engagement to anyone except for the creator? Until recently and with the exception of a few isolated cases, most of the art produced in Cyprus resisted engagement in a social and political discourse. Certainly utilizing strategies of disruption and shock in order to use art itself as a weapon of attack was avoided at all costs with the artist willing to exercise self-censorship in the service of the greater “Cyprus Problem”. There was no relevant and radical search for meanings beyond this major issue and the sacred and sanctified was and still is, an equally taboo zone.

Acknowledging that there is no single truth or one method of analysis, the selected works will endeavor to challenge issues which are passively accepted and even revered in our society, with the aim to incite and challenge our ‘democratic’ lethargy. In context to this, work presented will be of a type which addresses mainly local politics and social attitudes in the search to reveal the absurdity, cliché nationalism and hypocrisy of the current situation with its brand-obsessed lifestyle which has colonised most Cypriots as well as the general apathy and disillusionment in the political discourse which has emerged recently in the prelude of the Presidential elections in early 2008. The Republic of Cyprus, as a fully fledged and independent democracy was very short lived and recent EU membership which may offer a notion of belonging and sharing in a greater democratic region has come at a time when we all face a global disintegration of democracy itself. This state of flux and insecurity informs and further enhances the anxiety of expression with its polarising multilayered referentials.

‘Isolomania’ presents itself for exploration and interpretation. It’s platform establishes an interweaving of various cultural translations to shared current issues, a zone which expands the legitimacy of one work with another, one culture with another, a meiosis of voice and experience which will hopefully generate interest in that space caught in between and outside the populist experience of shared memories and circumstances.

participating artists: Devoid of Yesterday (Rob Chiu and Chris Hewitt) (UK), Yiannos Economou (CY), Adonis Florides (CY), Peter Lyssiotis (AU), Dana Sederowsky (SE), Deborah Kelly and Tina FiveAsh (AU), Maria Lianou (CY), Ziad Alhalabi (SY), Elina Theodotou (CY), Damir Ocko (HR), Christiana Solomou (CY), Constantinos Taliotis (CY), Yiannis Colakides (CY), Nisrine Boukhari (SY), Nicos Synnos (CY), Helene Black (CY)

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