Klitsa Antoniou’s exhibition ‘This Silence has a Sound … it is the Sound of a Horizon’ greets the visitor with the main installation of the exhibition of the same name: We are confronted with a horizontal piece which at first seems to be hovering just above the gallery floor in an almost magical way, some form of a magician’s trick, with its many threads disappearing into the horizon. Our gaze follows them mesmerizingly from the central point where they start their journey in order to spread like a giant fun to the other end, a row of broken plates, illuminated from within. The light is similar to that unique, light blue hue where the horizon meets the sea on a cold winter’s day when the sun is low on the horizon and accentuates our wondering gaze as our reaction to the installation stops being just visual but turns into a visceral embodied engagement: Our bodies become part of these journey from the starting point to the vanishing point, they seem to be taken into the crack that appears in the plates on the wall, which like a black hole, threatens our existence because of the unknown that is beyond this shuttered horizon. When we look closer the threads that we thought are suspended effortlessly above the floor are in fact tensed to almost breaking point and it makes the visitor wonder if the pole that supports them will collapse under the immense tension.
...One of these possibilities the installation offers is in relation to the history of the island. The thread used by the artist is the one that has been traditionally used in Cyprus to create intricate pieces of fabric using the voufa, the weaving machine that has been used by many generations of Cypriot women over the centuries. Antoniou’s use of this special threat not only alludes to the long history of weaving on the island but also engages with a generation of feminist artists that brought weaving to the forefront of artistic production in order to challenge male hegemony in the history of art. ...In my introduction to the essay I mentioned the thread of the main installation disappearing into a horizon, an event horizon of broken plates, a black hole that engulfs the thread. An event horizon is in astrophysical terms the boundary demarcating a black hole. Once material enters the event horizon it never returns, is never seen. The light surrounding the event horizon is the only light that can be seen by the viewer as the black hole pulls into its void all the light by its huge gravitational forces. According to Dylan Trigg ‘the language of the black holes tends to refer to that which is beyond representation, formless, nameless, other, unknowable, abject, primal and above all, traumatic’ [italics in the original]. (Trigg 3332) A black hole is according to Trigg a horizon within the universe because the black hole cannot be reduced to nothingness: ‘The void is not simply the absence of being, but the mutilation of being’. Into the maelstrom of the black hole ‘borders collapse, inviting the possibility of the repressed or dormant component of experience to come unbound.’ (3338) What becomes possible out of this chaos is for different possibilities to emerge, ‘new life-worlds created in the establishment of decolonised spaces’. But most importantly, ‘like the uncanny, the black hole of experience engineers a peculiar relationship with the unknown and the familiar, at once commanding an anxious affectivity through which trauma coexists with transformation.’ (3345)
- Gabriel Koureas
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