Rethymno 31 August 2006
The Rethynon Centre for Contemporary Art (today Contemporary Art Museum of Crete) opened the art exhibition “Zeugma” at the Artillery Hall of the Venetian Fortress in Rethymnon on Wednesday 4 October.The exhibition was curated by the Art Historian Anna Chatziyiannis.
Zeugma (also meaning “junction” in Greek) was a major Hellenistic city in southeastern Turkey, a junction of two cities actually, Seleucia and Apamea, on either bank of Euphrates. It was a trade and cultural junction between Anatolia and Mesopotamia, which declined in the Middle Ages when Birecik became the main crossing of Euphrates.
The six artists, Andreas Lyberatos, Yiannis Melanitis, Ioanna Myrka, Elena Poka, Andreas Sitorengo, Konstantinos Teligadis, rose to the challenge of experiencing the notion of “zeugma” and implanting it to contemporary art works.
“For the exhibition artists, Zeugma is a fantasy and request of a cultural junction where space is liquid and reminiscent of necropolises, invasions and supplications, symbols and works of art, intercultural elements and communication bridges that are built, demolished and then renewed.
Zeugma, Constantinople (Istanbul), Crete – visible and invisible cultures of the world; journeys bequeathed to the myth and reality of the Aegean, sea travels of the Minoans, Myceaneans’ journeys from island to island, Achaeans’ attacks on the coasts of Asia Minor”, wrote Maria Manangou.
“In an attempt to approach the notion of zeugma (junction)”, writes Anna Chatziyiannis, “the artists walked around Constantinople, merged with the crowd in the bazaars smelling of spices, listened to the muezzin's μακρόσυρτη prayer and felt on the monuments the signs of the history taught in school. They leaned over the Bosporus waters and crossed the bridge that unites the European and Asian coasts.
Visiting the churches they discovered Pantocrators and Virgin Maries holding baby Jesus still giving off frankincense. In the Islamic art museums, they saw craftsmen “hate blank” as much as nature does, and fill it with plant motifs, as human representations are prohibited by the Islam.
Finally, the proposal and commentary of the six artists apply to both lost Zeugma and Constantinople and the entire eastern Mediterranean, where the civilizations of the world left their traces as they were traveling from port to port, at the sea-junction of three continents”.
There was also an exhibition catalogue available by Futura editions.
The exhibition lasted until 20 November 2006. Tours and training courses were organized on the occasion of the exhibition as with all exhibitions of the Rethynon Centre for Contemporary Art.