Projects 96: Haris Epaminonda

by Daniel Haim

Haris Epaminonda. Untitled T3 from Vol. VII. 2011. Found printed paper, 10 1/4 x 7 11/16 x 7/8″ (26 x 19.5 x 2.2 cm). Courtesy the artist and Rodeo, Istanbul. © 2011 Haris Epaminonda

For her first solo museum exhibition in the United States, Berlin-based artist Haris Epaminonda (b. 1980, Cyprus) constructs a world based on connections between a three-channel video projection—part of her work titled Chronicles (2010)—and a museological-style installation of antique pottery, columns, plinths, niches, and pictures culled from old magazines and books. Among the books are travelogues about archeological sites that are visually related to one another but separated by centuries of history.

Composed of short Super 8 films (transferred to video) that the artist shot over several years, Chronicles eschews narrative in favor of fragmented images that probe the nature of time and assert the permeability of memory. One film shows ancient artifacts from different cultures either isolated against colored backgrounds or in images torn from the pages of an art history book, subtly animated by the slight motion of the handheld camera. In another film, views of the Acropolis exude a twilight state of entropy or decay. The third film simply portrays a pair of superimposed palm trees flickering in the wind amid a barren landscape, remnants of a civilization in decline. The artist enlists a range of techniques, from long takes and unedited footage to fast cuts, narrative rupture, and intensified color. Because the films are looped and of varying lengths, the image combinations do not repeat. A soundtrack of mixed instrumentation and natural sounds by the band Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides provides an acoustic link between the three projections. The moving images, in turn, inform the sculptural installation, creating a three-dimensional audiovisual montage that cuts across temporal and geographic borders.