Photos: Mirka Koutsouri
06/09 – 05/10/2019
Once our own names as brands in the local importing history on the island are no longer supported by the maturing prevailing system, and the commodity at hand alters, what remains is the celebration of marketing as play.
VPA opened in the '80s and was one of the first furniture import companies in Cyprus. It was known for its creative and personalised marketing strategies. Its popular parties, theatrical performances and sales events left a legacy that coincided with the economic boom of the era.
During this period Cyprus had transitioned from an agrarian society, mostly dependent on the export of mineral and agricultural products and some manufactured goods, to an international tourist, business and services centre. An affluent middle-class was established embracing luxury design and high fashion. A celebratory playground of aesthetics, without limits or homogenized standards of taste, prevailed as businesses across the island thrived importing and selling goods from far and near.
Orestis Lazouras’ inherited unwritten stories from this era that, like the works in the show, straddle between celebration and melancholy. Perhaps in order to confront a fall from grace or perhaps to consider whether fragments from this fall are worth holding on to for a new grace to emerge.
As Jan Verwoert - contemporary art and cultural theory writer and critic - once coined a fictional quote by Lazouras, “Sell me the ugliest thing in your shop, I want it!”, the display of perverse urgency within his sculptural language is seen through his insistent repetition of multiples within the show. Sample fabrics are neither thrown away, nor turned into an exclusive fashion line, but rather are displayed consciously within the realm of sculpture, to be read with given distance, as assemblages of lifeless (for a moment) parts in science fiction warning tales, “Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.”
Deadstock never dies when it is handled with joy, and Joy as a political stance is triumphant here. When the sociopolitical climate of depression “even though it may be experienced at the individual level, has deep roots in social context and structures”, then creativity is indeed the most celebratory combat.
Text by Maria Toumazou & Peter Eramian