Recent publications by Jean-Louis Vincendeau
On the occassion of the award of the Silver Lion to Haris Epaminonda at the Venice Biennial we are happy to publish the translation of a poetic text written by Jean-Louis Vincendeau, inspired by her installation VOL.XVI at Le Plateau, Paris in 2015 (French version).
It is also an occassion to point out two other recent publications by Vincendeau – « Blanche déese de la rivière Separa» in the wonderful magazine Fabulla and « Au bord du blanc», ‘Suis-moi’ in the Revue Sarrazine.
“Stelle”, the word “place”
Haris Epaminonda, Untitled #04 a/w, 2016, VOL.XIXinstallation view at Rodeo, London, 2016
Courtesy: the artist and Rodeo, London / Piraeus. Photo: Plastiques
Haris Epaminonda – VOL. XXVII. 2019 (mixed media installation)
“The air is full of the thrill of things that run away”
Charles Baudelaire “The morning twilight”
Always space in the light of her dreams, Haris Epaminonda develops a grammar of the slightest lags, relations with the fine boundaries of objects, her work similar to a careful trap body. Dismembered kaleidoscope, the recoil of finds just before disappearing. The geisha of the white hillocks have passed with small steps. Ozu’s ghost has placed a small jar in the exact place where it was supposed to be.
Haris Epaminonda is a Cypriot artist, born in 1980 in Nicosia, currently living and working in Berlin after studying in England.
She questions the topos or more deeply a form of “paratopia”. Paratopia is part of the problem of constituent discourses, discourses that play with the boundary between place and non-place. Moving objects into a sphere of unplanned reality, to be built. She must therefore build the territory of her work through a fault itself to be found in a paratopic network, a network that crosses by ignoring any frontiers identified as such.
Chateaubriand eats a pear, elegant, black eyes in the next room, finesse, Veronese drapery, collages stripped of selected objects, pure, clean to wash the eyes.
“The light of a kiss”, a fine sentence by James Lee Byars that can also describe the neat light of Haris Epaminonda’s installations. The sublime is coupled with a certain form of poetry and, as Novalis tells us, “the more poetry, the more reality”.
Premonition for the sudden spark that, along the way, raises and washes the base, the ground of its surviving shadows. The extent of the walls, the extent of the floor: two expanses constituting the essence of a world where objects come to find their place in the arrangement of mastered figures.
Well tempered resonances in the land of freshness of the soul. The pure beyond is contained within the walls, in a certain place, which has become by minimal intervention of the artist, scene of fiction, metaphysical theatre.
Carefully selected objects sometimes partially hidden are presented in their appearance. “The pure appearance”, the ephemeral, the sublime, other words to designate “the ekphanestaton” according to Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe.
The situation is that two starting points can be possible at the same time: the constancy can happen between two distant points thanks to a fiction that has no place at the beginning and which can appear at the point of unforeseeable ambiguity.
Straight angles, finesse of a dragonfly, its transparent wings, bases deeply black lacquered in preamble of rare objects in ambush, arranged in clear frames. To the deployment, to the collection and to the fold; to say the intimate of the accentuated day.
The indirect evocation of the “claustro do silencio”, in its sublimated architecture and in its details, becomes a kind of mirror, form and background of some of Haris Epaminonda’s installations.
Eidos, or ousia eidetike, is the formal substance. It’s the substantiality, or the fact of being that something we were: to ti en einai. It is the assumption of constancy: it is the being of something that lasts to be what it is, that lasts. Continuity of identity: the thing coincides with the fact that its identity is perpetuated. The continuity of identity, something must be beyond the limits.
An intimate diary, streamlined, secret complicity, in its installations there is not really any artifice, trompe-l’oeil, it is quite another thing, a slight shift in presentation, a “non-finito” yet well measured.
Say something about the secret of the stone of Bologna and read Nicolas Lémery in the original edition.
“The mystery remains”
We can approach the mystery,
While leaving it intact,
The individual is associated with necessity, and Peter Szondi often quotes Schleiermacher from the years 1805-1806: “I do not understand anything if I do not understand the necessity of it and cannot reconstruct it”. The soul can find a poetic expression because it has the rigor of syntax in its own right: it can be governed by the conditions established by it in its artistic “world”.
Rainer Maria Rilke, speaking of Rodin, used the word “place”, “Stelle”: “Rodin grasped life in the smallest places”, or: “In such a place light and sculpture seemed to welcome each other, to greet each other shyly, somewhere else to meet each other, ignoring each other; there were endless places but none where nothing happened.”
Without shoes, she removes one by one in a light way the objects that she had placed on the ground, some of which had just arrived. A light chooses the little horse half hidden behind a board; a nice idea to keep them and the board and horse arranged as is. The bridge is cleaned of everything that was not necessary.
Her work integrates films, sculptures and installations, which include images and objects from different eras and origins, provoking multiple encounters and confrontations while maintaining an explicit connection to the past. Pages of ancient books, vases, statuettes, etc., are linked through visual associations that draw a fictional space.
She designs a kind of museum of games of mind and grace in a very neat and bright space. A floating interiority settles in a chemical silence.
The angles are sharp, the light carved with a scalpel; quiet window, as in the middle of summer; a model of the golden pavilion on a bright red base. Nemus and nemos have the common root of “nem” which expresses the idea of dividing: Nemesis the goddess of sharing between what belongs to the gods and what is left to men is therefore revisited by the dialogue between human nature and plant logic. From the Greek verb νέμειν (nemein), meaning “distribute equitably, distribute what is due”.
In the installations of Haris Epaminonda the space is as relaxed and time is caressing under the gaze of the angels. Time and space pass through the body of angels in purity to give meaning to the installation. Heinrich von Kleist in his book “On the Puppet Theatre” similarly evokes “the path of the soul of the dancer” through the movements of dolls and rudimentary or colourful costumes. Here there seems to be little movement but the soul of a dancer who creates emptiness, a paradoxically inhabited void.
The “contemplated” space, the temptation of emptiness, a distance approaching, motionless; “access to this transcendent realm where genuinely great men are alone to enter and where truth dwells.” Simone Weil: “The Need for Roots”.
In his “Treaty of Osiris” Plutarch claims that in the city of Saïs, Egypt one could read on the pediment of the temple dedicated to Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, the following inscription: “I am all that was and will be, and not one of all mortals has yet discovered my veil.”
A space designed to receive the truth of what is given, she places a golden model of the Kyoto Gold Pavilion on a bright red base, these two objects together develop a coherent and fruitful identity.