ANATOMY OF THE WALL_PAPER – National Participation of Cyprus at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia
Michael Hadjistyllis – Architect,
Stefanos Roimpas – Architect
Cyprus will participate for the fifth time at the International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia supported by the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Cyprus Architects Association and the Cyprus Civil Engineers and Architects Association. This year’s participation “Anatomy of the Wall_Paper”, curated by architects Michael Hadjistyllis and Stefanos Roimpas, was selected by the Organization Committee for Biennale 2014. The following text and images, which was prepared by the curators, set the frame for the development of the current participation during the next months. The National Participation of Cyprus will be presented in Biennale next June.
An endeavour towards a creative and retrospective reconstruction of island’s history, and specifically of its most important settlement, this of Nicosia. Cyprus suffered throughout its history from invaders, conquerors and colonial powers, who left indelibly their marks on the form and structure of island’s settlements. Nicosia, a city of numerable historical, social and cultural layers, was constructed in the same way as History, persistently by the winners, and according to their history. Island’s capital forms a Polyphony of diverse paradigms of architectural forms and cultures.
The Story of Nicosia is presented in an allegory. In a literary device, with its immense power to illustrate multifaceted ideas and concepts, easily digestible and tangible to its viewers. City desired a Wallpaper to stimulate its growth. Suspended right along its center, Wallpaper gave it a striking imaginary background. A Scenery through years, contributed to an unexpected Scenario. Gradually opposed along either sides of the Wallpaper, City’s two different parts, -developing different upcoming aspirations-, abut into an aggressive confrontation. A developing megalomania led both sides into a non-comprehensive settlement. Space became battlefield of conflicting ideologies. A City’s alarmed awaking facing a blank Wallpaper, operated by a newly powered domain, gave an end to madness! A ‘horror vacui’ sense, declares City’s worst economic catastrophe, followed by an identical one. Later on, when Wallpaper’s layers are scraped, or washed off, different landscapes are revealed. Events from various periods are appearing, while City rediscovers its history. Wallpaper, dividing its core, provides paradoxically space for contact! Space, where collective memory was recorded, whilst City can pursuit its identity.
When ideologies fading, undeniable truth and theories proved as false, identities are flattened and sacrificed to modernity, only then History riches its turning point, and Story can be reconstructed! Wallpaper is formatted into immaterial and intangible element, to symbolize Nicosia’s divisions. A crossing line, dated from medieval to contemporary period, is keep mutating in time, absorbing city’s history and collective memory! Later on, new physical layers are inserted on Wallpaper, -its earliest form, immaterialized and intangible, is transfigured into a physical barrier-. It encompasses thickness, then is formatted into Wall, ultimately into Space! Presented into simplified narrative form, we aim to precedence ideas.
Part of the Wallpaper will be exposed on a real scale in crucial form, whilst it is decorticating, and allows viewer to reveal different stories of time. A gesture, that testifies allegory’s historical validity.