testing boundaries 5: dirt preserved in soap


testing boundaries 4 – Anika Yi / Guggenheim NY exhibition April 2017



https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-anicka-yis-new-guggenheim-art-smells-crawls (accessed 13.01.2018)

extract for the website above

… Force Majeure, for which Yi has constructed a large room behind glass, somewhere between a bathhouse and a hospital clinic. The space’s walls and floor are covered in white tiles that have been turned into a breeding ground for various bacteria, which—fed on agar and allowed to sprawl and evolve—turn each tile into unpredictable abstract paintings. Each berry-bright smear or stain has its own gross allure.

“We sequenced the bacteria, and selected certain ones for their aesthetic quality,” Yi says. “As our nutritional biologist would tell you, each bacteria has a color, and that color has a function. There’s a reason for that purple in a purple bacteria.” …

testing boundaries 3 – natural prevention of bacteria

(accessed 06.01.2018)

Came across this video on FB about use of indigo in Japan (dates back in the 1600s) as a means of natural prevention of bacteria. Reminded me of the use of 17th century France / cleanliness meant how frequent they changed their linen shirt / believed linen pulled dirt as magnet.

testing boundaries – 2 / how does smell work?


(photos from http://saifalaaalqaisy.blogspot.com.cy/2016/  and http://alwaysphotographing.com/cms/hippocampus/, accessed 17.12.2017)

(Extract from http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120312-why-can-smells-unlock-memories, accessed 17.12.2017)

… So now we have the background information, what are the important clues? Well, first, the part of the brain that is responsible for processing smells – the “olfactory bulb” – is next to a part of the brain called the hippocampus. This name means “seahorse”, and the hippocampus is so-called because it is curled up like a seahorse, nested deep within the brain, a convergence point for information arriving from all over the rest of the cortex. Neuroscientists have identified the hippocampus as crucial for creating new memories for events. People with damage to the hippocampus have trouble remembering what has happened to them.

… Smell is unique among the senses in that it enters directly deep into the brain. If we look at the major pathways travelled by the other senses, such as hearing and vision, they start at the sense organs – that is, the eyes or the ears – and move to a relay station called the thalamus, before passing on to the rest of the brain.

With smell the situation is different. Rather than visiting the thalamic relay station on its journey into the brain, smell information travels directly to the major site of processing – the olfactory bulb – with nothing in between. We do not know what stopping off at the thalamus does for the other senses, but it certainly means that signals generated in the other senses are somehow “further away” from the nexus of processing done in the brain.

testing boundaries – 1


Art group “Soap”, St. Peterbourg,                                                                                  http://annanova-gallery.ru/en/artists/projects/project/Ottorzhenie/


Key words to consider for this project:

  • exhibition site
  • audience engagement
  • new work shown in different context

The idea around the cleanliness project started with what the students of the Ioannou Foundation do  during daytime: separating kitchen sponges and clothes based on colour shape and then labeling them. So I thought of this new project where I will use the actual cleaning materials (kitchen clothes and sponges,  detergents, washing powders, soap) and dirt (thinking of the opposite) as the medium of my work, approaching the idea of cleanliness from a sociological point of view.

Cleanliness as a virtue / cleanliness next to godliness / a competition as to who is the cleanest, whose “image” looks to be the leanest vs to “internal” cleanliness / cleanliness as a camouflage of real self .

An initial thought  for this project is to use the conference room of my law office as the exhibition site. Mainly I deal with clients that they wish to register a company in Cyprus, seeking advise on prospective investments etc, mainly dealing with financial issues.  Usually in law offices you expect to enter a conference room with wall to ceiling bookcases, paintings of landscapes or images referencing justice or classical Greece and Rome. The idea is to create an installation in the room with small scale works – some initial thoughts are:

  • use soap – the smell as part of the work
  • use of other cleaning materials
  • use of dirt
  • portraits of the students of the foundation, not sure yet of this idea, maybe too literal.



group crit 04.12.2017

Research on artists

Xu Bing

“Our creations will always be a response to the new energy and questions or problems that occur from our social reality,”

Xu, known for his printmaking and installations that subvert language, meaning and tradition, told audience members that sociological forces and personal transformations can inspire huge bursts of energy within artists.

“As an artist, it’s very important to understand how to transfer that energy into your creative inspiration,” 

(http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/chinese-artist-xu-bing-on-inspiration-creativity-and-the-future-of-art/) accessed 09.12.2017

Xu Bing, Ghosts Pounding the Wall



Tonico Lemos Auad

(http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/reviews/tonico-lemos-auad/) accessed 04.12.2017

“Every October the Brazilian port city of Belém is transformed by the Cirio de Nazaré, a Catholic religious festival that honors a centuries-old icon of the Virgin Mary. Many thousands of devotees follow the small statue as it is paraded through the city streets, seeking the Virgin’s miraculous intervention and blessings of good fortune for the year to come. A native of Belém who currently resides in London, Tonico Lemos Auad recently deployed a variety of forms and materials to explore the rich iconography of this annual event.

The literal and thematic backdrop for this show was Reflected Archeology (all works 2012), an interactive mural that spanned a large wall of the gallery. Visitors were given pennies to scratch through an overpainting of dull silver ink, gradually revealing an enormous photographic collage that pictured aspects of the Cirio de Nazaré. Two weeks into the show’s run, excavated images of crowded street processions jostled with Belém harbor scenes of boats festooned with colorful flags and streamers. While the participatory scratching encouraged close inspection of a potentially unfamiliar religious ritual, its similarity to rubbing the silver film from lottery cards allied the active viewer with the hopes and superstitions of the Brazilian faithful.”

View of Tonico Lemos Auad’s exhibition, showing Reflected Archeology (on wall) and Small Fires (foreground), both 2012; at CRG.



Robert Smithson

Mirrors and Shelly sand (1970)



Rashid Johnson

Anxious Men (use of black soap)