quick notes on “Here’s to my sweet Satan” (Eramian, Volks 2016) [edited]

I enjoyed this.
The exhibition was so ambient that I could feel it lift or maybe introduce a curse,  or neutralise my writer’s instinct to see the text first. I walked through a landscape of concrete and displaced stone, focusing on my senses, amidst and in reflection of my relationship with the Nicosia art-scene, and in delight with what I see as a recurring brand of thoughtfully targeted political humour in Peter’s work. I let myself blindly investigate the darkroom with the Beatles on loop and stayed while my eyes adjusted, watching others walk in, not react, and walk out.
Before and after this, I was very excited to see Yiannis Christofides and Andreas Vrahimis, and I had a nice conversation with Catherine Nikita, later putting the argument to the wonderfully present Savvas Yerolemides that the effect of this kind of event, its art-politics, is contained in their sociability (a repetitive, ape-ish rituality that may conceptualise, but itself defies conceptualisation).

I’ve been thinking of satanism (this is a previous idea that connected the moment Maria Toumazou a[pe]-ritually served me a much appreciated cup of warm wine) as the intentional and politically valuable –let’s say reverse psychological– advocacy (or subversion, or aesthetic recasting of a variable, historically contingent category) of that which is spiritually and ethically abject. I like the example of the satanist in a suit, where the satanist/performer is adopting corporate culture in order to identify it with a hell, to point at its problems. This satanist is casting themselves in a way that is horrific in a specific socio-religious context only in that they are calling themselves a satanist: they are not advocating for a turn to darkness, they are not trying to make horrible things acceptable by wearing a suit, they are engaging in a performance that points at the hellishness of the suit: Eramian is pointing at something hellish. Creating a Hell, at Volks: casting Volks, with its connection to the car industry and its positioning in an arts system, as a hell. I can see this in my/our acceptance of the concrete, in the 16 tons of stone, in this case a type of creative labour where the artist identifies with an alienated condition of production that mostly pushes him further into debt, and again creates a particular type of a-ritual sociability. I can also see this hell in the frustrated promise of sunlight, inhibited in its arrival by copyright, which nevertheless the artist breaches in what I suspect is the major speculative gambit here (that is, the speculation of whether EMI might take this seriously), and one in which the artist invites our complicity. He has mine.

The exhibition is accompanied by a book that, at the time, I couldn’t concentrate to read and didn’t have enough money to buy.

Panayiotou, M. (2016) in Phileleftheros

Spirou, K. (2016)

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