“This is (the other) Aphrodite’s fault”: Resolving the Dawn and the Sunset Issue (2017)
Coming from a great interest in controversy, especially when it has to do with political memory, or the discursive overlap of politics and aesthetics, I conclude that the danger here isn’t one of censorship. The issue is the idea that Nurtane’s piece may need to be **guarded. The actual thing at stake is a matter of walls. It follows a theme of solidifying divisions and securitisation on a massive scale. And this is interesting in its connection with cultural mega-events (think of the militarisation of Rio and the Olympics for example). The idea that the piece may need to be guarded is also interesting because securitisation is one of the fears Nurtane’s work comes from (see here her previous work in the series, which was also controversial in the north), and this fear is also present in this new piece: it’s about symbols, monuments of fathers and military code-names watching over a fire with teeth, and people being put into buses and taken away.
Before you read on, watch Nurtane build a shrine and then check out a richly ambient video where she’s making Pink Shit in Re Aphrodite/Shelley’s kitchen.
I promise to get to the question of (which?) Aphrodite’s fault this is as soon as possible: I was asked by Elena Parpa to write about Nurtane’s participation in Planites of Pafos17 before “The Dawn and the Sunset Issue” was produced, and I agreed with delight, because I was interested in Pafos17’s odd organisational condition (a large-scale funding, marketing, and cultural scheme with grand promises), and because I was interested in how Nurtane would handle this, being familiar with her sense of humour.
(an art historian from Mammari, with a Greek education, a Greek-Cypriot who studied in the UK, an unintentionally-practicing Orthodox, a daughter of civil servants and a product of everything that’s in power/wrong with the world, also a cynic in the sense of an identification with dogs) Nurtane’s politics are beautiful, intricate, thoroughly inoffensive, and fall in none of the political worlds in which this controversy has been playing out in the press and in most social media commentary. It takes place in a world, and so it constructs or returns us to a world that has little to do with those languages, while it is traumatised by them. This is the point of the piece. The effect these things have on the soul of the child, a child chided for visualising things in the wrong order. Who doesn’t fully speak the passionate languages of history and heritage, and presents the adults with unexpectedly telling articulations of things and symbols they hadn’t realised would leave back such a bizarre effect (this might have something to do with the never-ending Pafos17 road-works).
The same joke comes up in the below reversal (which some Aphrodite cults might be able to find offensive if they really try) posted by Kyriakos Spirou. I like this especially because it uses a statue of Makarios, like Nurtane is doing in her piece. Has no-one noticed this? In her piece Makarios is a statue: he is drawn in different lines to the rest of the child-like drawing, he isn’t presented as a man, he is presented as a monument.
While the joke continues to unfold, I am impressed that:
– this might all be about the boobies,
– by how this might relate to the road-works,
– there’s more to say about Nurtane’s work, her role in a number of Cypriot art events with international reach, and her actual perspective on this [update: ananas!]
– that there may have been screaming involved [really? real heart-felt screaming? by whom? why?]
– that there’s something more about the Aphrodite’s gazes, although I can’t put my finger on it yet. Maybe it has something to do with the development issue / yellow excavators.
– it would be nice to figure out what the Paphians actually think about this. The people running the show /the volunteers of Pafos17? There seems to be no word from the ground.
Now I need to find that discussion of Makarios’ Colossus from 2008. For those looking for more Makarios-memory related amusement from the Cypriot arts, check out the second section here.
Instead of worrying about things, (about Nurtane being subjected to censorship,
or whether our freedom of speech may be in danger,
and rather than be disturbed by other people’s extended if necessary reliance on certain symbols or fathers, or rather than be cynical about the catchy, sensational, or marketable aspects of this), how about we look at the controversy in terms of its beautiful complexity. In terms of what it might resolve, or what it reveals. And that is us: the ones able to see the joke, those not good at visualising our world in the order of these symbols, and up for cheekily readjusting them a little. A time for Cypriot senses of humour to perk up (yea, the road-works and the boobies definitely have something to do with this!).
-my pre-exhibition text on Nurtane’s work in the catalogue of Planites, curated by Elena Parpa, Pafos17
– Art work at Paphos exhibition depicting Makarios and naked Aphrodite causes controversy. (2017, February 7). Retrieved from http://cyprus-mail.com/2017/02/07/art-work-paphos-exhibition-depicting-makarios-naked-aphrodite-causes-controversy/
– Avant Garde • Αμάνα μου μάνα μου, βυζούθκια! (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from http://avant-garde.com.cy/no-news/amana-mou-mana-mou-vizouthkia
Gazetesi, A.-N. G. (KIBRIS) K. (n.d.). O kadınlar Afrodit! Retrieved February 9, 2017, from http://www.kibrisgazetesi.com/kultur-sanat/o-kadinlar-afrodit/12287
– Je suis Paphioi. (12:00). Retrieved February 9, 2017, from http://www.philenews.com/el-gr/arthra-apo-f-ch-chatzidimitriou/121/351138/je-suis-paphioi
– Kıbrıslı Türk ressam Nurtane Karagil’in resmine tepkiler – KIBRIS POSTASI. (n.d.). Retrieved February 9, 2017, from http://www.kibrispostasi.com/index.php/cat/58/news/212466/PageName/GUNEY_KIBRIS
– News, Π. (n.d.). Δεν αποσύρεται το έργο της τ/κ ζωγράφου με τον Μακάριο. Retrieved February 9, 2017, from http://politis.com.cy/article/den-aposirete-to-ergo-tis-tk-zografou-me-ton-makario
– nurtane karagil. (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from http://nurtanekaragil.blogspot.com.cy/
– pixelthat on Vimeo. (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from https://vimeo.com/195586409
– pixelthis on Vimeo. (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from https://vimeo.com/195586448
– Saatchi Art: in the kitchen by Nurtane Karagil. (n.d.). Retrieved February 9, 2017, from https://www.saatchiart.com/art/-in-the-kitchen/162541/96307/view
– Αντιδράσεις για πίνακα Τουρκοκύπριας με θέμα τον Μακάριο (εικόνες). (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from http://www.philenews.com/el-gr/top-stories/885/350959/antidraseis-gia-pinaka-tourkokyprias-me-thema-ton-makario-eikones
– Σκορδή, Χ. (11:00). Ένας κόσμος που επιπλέει. Retrieved February 9, 2017, from http://www.philenews.com/el-gr/ch-skordi/2368/351260/enas-kosmos-pou-epipleei
– Φτάνει πια με τους «μεγάλους ηγέτες» και τα «άξια τέκνα». (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from http://www.philenews.com/el-gr/arthra-apo-f-th-fotiou/849/350881/ftanei-pia-me-tous-megalous-igetes-kai-ta-axia-tekna?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork
– Iconoclastic controversies. (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from http://nicocarpentier.net/icontroversies/debates.html