Erect Paradise: Experimental Storytelling
Tempus Arti, Landen, Belgium
Curated by Jan Hoet
300 Printed Boxes, 2 Video screens
Video duration 4:34 minutes
Music: Michalis Tterlikas
Apparent in [the works exhibited for Tempus Arti exhibition] is the artist’s intention to renegotiate subjects that are familiar to her, such as the concept of time, of individual and collective memory, of private and public space. Constructed in a World War II complex of aeroplane hangars, Erect Paradise is one of the most monumental and multidimensional works that Antoniou has delivered till this day. Part of a hangar’s outer side has been taken over by tens of boxes, the cavities of which remain uncovered, revealing their inner lining. It is made of wallpaper decorated with flowers in vivid colours, reminiscent of the material encountered on the inside of domestic storage spaces. “In” and “out” are intertwined, while the military camouflage is interrupted in a humorous as much as absurd way by the kitsch floral motif.
The artist’s seemingly innocent game takes a dramatic turn, as soon as the viewer enters the hangar. Behind the boxes a video projection is constantly repeated on two television screens. While watching it, it becomes evident that the supposed wallpaper is actually the reproduction of the dress that little Klitsa Antoniou was wearing, when she was forced out of her home during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Amongst the scarce belongings they managed to salvage, the floral dress constitutes a bearer of personal memory for the artist and her family, but also one of collective memory for all Cypriots. In the video the artist is seen consulting fortune-tellers, in order to discover the destiny of the dress – an act of redefining the past, the aspired future, even oneself through the prism of the present. (Andrea Costantinou, Tempus, Klitsa Antoniou, On the Routes of Contemporary Art, Tempus Arti: Klitsa Antoniou, 2009)