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 – 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)




James Bridle talk

A talk by James Bridle on 2nd December, Limassol on issues of citizenship.

( http://jamesbridle.com/ accessed 03.12.2017)

  • implications of technological acceleration and opacity in everyday life
  • amount of info contained online – researching the information and amendments contained online behind Wikipedia’s article on Iraq War,  the artist put together all this information in 12 volumes – we just see a web page but there is actually all this information behind it.
  • the use of drones by governments/army – big in size however because of the height they fly they are not visible by naked eye
  • citizen ex: a project examining what an individuals citizenship might look like if it was determined by the online behaviour
  • algorithmic citizenship  vs. citizenship based on space or ancestors
  • artist’s research on Cyprus: following economic crisis of last years the parliament passed a law providing for foreigners to invest in Cyprus and be granted a Cyprus/European passport. Citizenship as a commodity. This affects the local community / landscaping, architecture changes / prices rise based on the big property developments

cleanliness: general research 5


(work by Masaru Iwai)

Masaru Iwai digs the dirt on cleanliness (BY JOHN L. TRAN)

SPECIAL TO THE JAPAN (www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2015/03/12/arts/video-artist-masaru-iwai-digs-dirt-cleanliness/#.WexJx_mCzIU) accessed 22.11.2017

Τhe notion and value of “cleanliness” are not to be taken at face value — they should be questioned and considered as socially constructed phenomena.

Two phrases come to mind seeing the inaugural exhibition at the new Takuro Someya Contemporary Art gallery in the Minami-Azabu district of Tokyo: “cleanliness is close to Godliness” and “you can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.” The first phrase is appropriate because Iwai rejects the normative association of morality and hygiene, well aware that two of the most fastidiously clean countries in the world, Germany and Japan, have something of a history together. In the second case it’s because one of the video works on show literally reveals a dog turd decorated with glitter — but more on that later.

The main work, “100 Fish, or Before and After Epicure,” is a 14-minute video of 100 freshly caught fish being carefully laid out on a white sheet, gutted and then eaten off-screen, followed by the detritus of the meal being assembled and cleared away. Ambient sounds and foreign voices — the work was created in the Autonomous Republic of Adjara in Eastern Europe — are both undecipherable but, somehow, instinctively recognizable for anyone who has shared a communal meal.


(work by Masaru Iwai)


(work by Nicolas Deshayes, Inhuman 2015, This is crub)

cleanliness: general research 4


(work by Terence Koh, Untitled, Dakis Ioannou collection)

The Lady Macbeth effect (from Wikipedia)

The supposed Lady Macbeth effect or Macbeth effect is a priming effect said to occur when response to a cleaning cue is increased after having been induced by a feeling of shame. The effect is named after the Lady Macbeth character in the Shakespeare play Macbeth; she imagined bloodstains on her hands after committing murder.

(Work by Beili Liu, “Sky Bridge”, the pocket mirror work is from http://www.meetfactory.cz/en/program/detail/zbytecny-uklid. It made me think of the bacteria contained in beauty products transferred to the skin. Also a paraphrase of Magic Mirror, on the wall, who, now, is the fairest (cleanest) one of all? 

(cleaning public spaces/ Carrie Metteoli at St Petersburg/ first drawing on dirty surfaces and then removing the dirt using pressured water)

Next to godliness; Cleanliness (Article On “The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History” By Katherine Ashenburg,The Economist. 385.8557 (Dec. 1, 2007): p99(US)):

“I WILL return in five days. Stop washing,” Napoleon famously wrote to Josephine de Beauharnais. Katherine Ashenburg offers many such details in her analysis of the changing attitudes to cleanliness in the West: the Greeks and Romans, who exercised naked and oiled and then scraped the dirt off; the early Christian saints who wore hair shirts to provide a cosy home for lice; aristocrats of the 16th and 17th centuries who were as dirty as commoners and thought that wearing linen would clean the body; the power showers and en-suite bathrooms of today.

Cleanliness symbolises purity. Like Pontius Pilate, we wash our hands of dirty deeds; Italy’s anti-Mafia drive was called “clean hands”

(photos from a google search on hands under florescent light)