In Venice, Andreas Karayan showed a series of seven large oil paintings entitled Personae, depicting sombre images of ascetic faces, reminiscent of the Egyptian Faiyum death masks – the prestigious form of art closely connected to Greco-Roman traditions and Byzantine iconography, witnessing the lingering influence of Greek settlements in the Faiyum area since the Ptolemaic period. The artist is fascinated by the closely intertwined ancient histories of Greece and Egypt, as much as by the significant modern contributions of the Greco-Egyptian Diaspora community. His work, stemming from the painting series Homers 2000 and overtly influenced by Tsarouchis and Kavafis, is underpinned by a preoccupation with literary and philosophical notions such as purity, divinity and the classical worship of beauty. While preparing for Venice, Karayan mourns for a friend who dies of AIDS, and feels shocked by the war violence in former Yugoslavia. His state of mind becomes infiltrated in the work, which develops into an installation including a subversive twist: a 2-minute long video entitled Silent Movie, epitomizing the sense of decay brought about by the death of the erotic, of Eros, or intimate love, as well as addressing the relationship between nudity and television. During preview, the video was banned for obscenity by Spazio Thetis, the venue hosting the Cyprus pavilion, and was removed from the exhibition, to be replaced by another one (entitled Flowers) expressing similar ideas. The Personae series was consequently shown in a solo exhibition in Lia Rumma Gallery, Naples.
Spazio Thetis (Arsenale Novissimo)