What happens in common perception, what causes surprise, what are the notions of the unnatural and the mysterious associated with the paradoxical elements of a space? In ancient Greek literature, the paradoxes were collections of strange events and phenomena perceived by humans, whether they came from their own life or from nature.
At odds with Sterna’s standard principle that the participants should find themselves on Nisyros for the first time, so that their creations would reflect their response to this new experience, this time the organisation has invited two artists who have lived on the island for years and are emotionally attached to it, asking them to create for the Bath facilities of Mandraki.
The Baths building will operate as an exhibition space for the last time; as a research and meeting space shortly before its restoration. It is a ruin for the last time. Can a two-centuries old building return to its erstwhile form when the souls of the bathers remain in its dilapidated tubs? What is the reaction of two artists who know the place and are familiar with the historic site of the Baths?
The exhibition Paradoxically paradox focuses on the history of the building and its connection to Nisyros as well as on its architectural and practical presence. A place of healing and later of entertainment, abandoned for a time until it began to host contemporary art shows, and now about to be restored.
To Jason Karaindros a line of poetry, a tune or the sound of a familiar voice is like a scent that instantly crosses the mind and recalls an entire world. With his projects in the Baths he seeks catharsis through 140 voices of Nisyros that whisper, sing or chant two couplets of Nikos Gatsos set to music by Stavros Xarhakos. Echoes of fire and sea make up an incessant, paradoxical and familiar litany. Does the notion of catharsis still retain any meaning?
“We should learn to live more on staircases. But how?” (Georges Perec). Virginia Mastrogiannaki traces the paradox in the sculptural quality of the staircase, focusing on the horizontal elements that serve a perpendicular course. A staircase bridges surfaces of different height, and always has an ultimate objective. Using the native, ‘visceral’ material of Nisyros, pumice stone, she intends to build a staircase, starting on the opening day of the show and until it is finished, working every day before the viewers; the stairs will be mentally connecting the dilapidated building’s ground floor with the first floor that no longer exists. It is true that a staircase does not need a building to exist as a staircase — but it does need a starting point and a destination.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a bilingual edition with the works created for the show and with theoretical texts by the participants. Additionally, the catalogue will serve as a record of the process of the exhibition in relation to the island and the Bath facilities.
Opening 29 July at 11am
Loutra Mandrakiou, Nisyros, Daily from 11.00am till sunset
*Photo Nyssos Vasilopoulos, Sterna Art Project 2017