Artist Haris Epaminonda plays with form and composition in her award-winning installation at the 58th Venice Biennale
The image of an ancient Greek vase, a tiny sculpture of a bird, a bonsai tree, a reproduction of Phidias’ horse head from the Parthenon, an array of columns elegantly lined up; these are the carefully chosen items from the latest work of Cypriot-born, Berlin-based artist Haris Epaminonda. Her installation, VOL. XXVII, 2019, is currently on view at the 58th Venice Biennale’s Central Exhibition, May You Live In Interesting Times, bringing together a series of objects arranged in a metaphysical composition.
The 39 year-old artist has been awarded the Silver Lion for Promising Young Participant in at this year’s exhibition and is known for her graceful displays of props that re-contextualise artworks, texts and pictures. Through these quiet tableaus her intimate memories mingle with broader histories, mental images interchange with cultural artefacts.
I tried to create an image and a mood
The act of arranging the different elements in her works – an operation that Epaminonda renders effortless – becomes, in the artist’s hands, the most powerful way to give meaning to the piece. “I tried to create an image and a mood,” she said.
Suspended as it is between the ghostly atmosphere of a theatre stage and the reverence that is due to an altar, VOL. XXVII touches on pressing topics, from our relationship with culture and its fragility, to our own concepts of taste, style and composition.
Walking through the Venice Biennale can be an overwhelming experience. Epaminonda’s work, with its silent presence and its empty spaces, creates the right frame of mind to appreciate art.
Runs through 24 November 2019 // Central International Exhibition, Arsenale.