Unresolved and Unanswered and Unspoken
Haris Epaminonda and Jacob Fabricius
The following interview between Jacob Fabricius, curator and director of Malmö Konsthall, and artist Haris Epaminonda, took place during the installation of VOL. I, II & III at Malmö Konsthall in April 2009. The first part of Epaminonda’s project, VOL. I, is a book containing approximately 120 Polaroid images, mainly re-photographed from books and magazines. Detailing places, situations, and collections, the book reads as the photo album of a well-travelled artist, anthropologist, or tourist.
VOL. II & III were exhibited as two installations, which transformed the two Malmö Konsthall gallery spaces into rooms of wonder and possible historically hidden secrets. Filled with an assembly of images, plinths, and objects, the exhibition offered an enigmatic puzzle that remains unresolved and unanswered. The spaces juxtaposed the modern and the ancient as compressed time and memory, undoing institutionalized notions of display within a museum context.
Jacob Fabricius: One of the first things you did when you arrived in Malmö was to buy second-hand books. Can you briefly explain what kind of books you were looking for and how you would use them in the process of working?
Haris Epaminonda: I am interested in books made during the 1930s up to the 1960s as I very much like the painterly qualities of the images printed during that time, their colours, and the way the images appear on the paper. These images are taken from books that belong to a past time, from a scattered and fragmented image of the world. If we could say that books are testimonials of people who have written about, travelled, studied, and documented the world, unconsciously striving to make sense of it and, consequently, themselves, then perhaps I am doing nothing more than putting bits of this puzzle together in ways that construct my own subjective image of the world. I guess such an image is, as with every image, in accordance with that which one pays attention to and, therefore, caught within one’s own manifestation of reality.
Jacob Fabricius: You are very particular about frames. Every detail of them is well considered, and they are unique in terms of sizes, colours—everything, really. They are becoming almost as important as the image—this is not true, of course—but they give the image a three-dimensional character. Could you comment on their importance?
Haris Epaminonda: The frame is part of the work, since only then does it become an autonomous object. I see the different groupings of framed images and other elements in the space creating a bigger picture and eventually becoming part of one unified and inseparable cosmos. Such a picture can exist, for me, somewhere between the various constellations and relations created in the space and the impressions that might remain later in the mind of the viewer.
Jacob Fabricius: In some of your films you use a moving image within a still image, and the still image becomes the frame, so to speak. Would you agree there is a very distinct sensibility for time in your work? If so, how?
Haris Epaminonda: Yes, I like to create images where time feels as if it does not exist. To think of time in relation to movement, I imagine the work to live outside real time, that is, without any movement or logic except that found within the realm of fantasy.
Jacob Fabricius: You often take the full page and frame it as your work. Why is the full page important?
Haris Epaminonda: I do not really see the pages themselves as my work. The work in most instances takes shape once it is installed in the space, as a kind of spatial assemblage of images. The images and objects, taken out of their context and juxtaposed together, have, for me, the potential to turn into detoured metaphors.
Jacob Fabricius: When we began talking about the exhibition, you sent a sketch of twenty very different plinths that you wanted to be made. Some look like normal plinths, but others look like they are taken straight out of De Chirico’s paintings. They become sculptures or architectural objects themselves. You mentioned that you were inspired by the Pergamon Museum. Could you talk a bit about how that is present in the show?
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About the Authors
Haris Epaminonda is an artist born in Nicosia, Cyprus, who now lives and works in Berlin. She will present new works at Tate Modern, Level 2 Gallery, London, from May to August 2010.
Jacob Fabricius is a curator who lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. He is currently Director at Malmö Konsthall. He has previously curated for the Center d’Art Santa Monica, Barcelona; APPENDIKS, Copenhagen; and ideodrome, Copenhagen. He is the founder of Pork Salad Press and co-founder of Gas fanzine with Pernille Albrethsen.