KYPRIANOS DIMOSTHENOUS Exhibition titled: “Badly Scripted” Duration: 28 September – 28 October 2022 Gallery K, Nicosia
Dimosthenous born in Nicosia in 1996, wears many creative hats. He is an artist, a painter, and a sculptor, and has also dabbled in directing and cinematography. He graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from the University for the Creative Arts in Canterbury in 2019 and holds an MA (Distinction) in Theater Arts from Middlesex University. He also has a Cinematography Certificate from London Film Academy.
BADLY SCRIPTED: TAKES ON THE ART OF KYPRIANOS DIMOSTHENOUS
Long, dark hair cascades over the bulky chest of the Witness and, just as the viewer might wilfully interpret the imperial-red clothing with the modest high neckline as a modern-looking male garment, the bare flesh that is slightly jutting out from where the draped sleeve spreads open below the shoulder, mischievously adds to the portrait a different spin.
Whatever the spin, the Witness grabs your eyes and won’t let go.
Consider this: while it can be understood as the coexistence of masculine and feminine spirits in one person, the Witness has broader meaning encompassing different notions and much bolder markers of gender fluidity. Roll out the argument that this is a straightforward biological gender alignment in its most expansive sense, and you will find that it can be as easily defended as if it were a take on a solipsistic perspective revealing the Witness’s tormented, ineliminable world of esoteric intricacies.
Whatever the interpretation, the passion of Kyprianos Demosthenous, who is fresh out of university, is anchored in the human figure. He renders it in a diversity of roles and identities across approximately thirty canvasses that make up his first solo show, each with its own universe of forced transformations, obscure landscapes, electric colour, cloud patterns, and improbable images. The paintings graft together aspects of European surrealism, Greek mythology, comic book illustrations, expressionistic and realistic references, and also benefit from Kyprianos’s avid pursuit of stage drama.
Magritte and Dali are clearly ‘’present’’ along with influences from other greats of the surrealist movement. But, if the young artist were to ever meet Magritte he might have suggested that like distance, fluidity too may have the power to interspace an object from its intended purpose; maybe even repurpose it as does the giddily absurd Badly Scripted, which gives the show its name. The painting registers the surrealist state of mind, defining the ingenious fluidity and metamorphosing processes of the subconscious. Badly Scripted is an irregular tapestry of ruptured metamorphoses and surreal propositions; a game, in which a female figure can be realized by a hat and a pair of legs with bright red high heels adorning her feet. It is an improbable image; and yet, it is inexplicably rational in its exuberant vibrancy, which is captured by the artist just before becoming languid after an exhausting dance to the tunes of a vintage-looking Gramophone extending a hand to play the piano on a strolling, snake-like avenue of piano keys extending to infinity. Bobbing around them is a large open eye.
A collaboration between repurposed objects in the transformatory process is achieved in all the paintings of the surrealistic category. Here, the subconscious mind operates freely, creating visionary depictions that have the power to incite in the viewer the release of secret codes: a man can turn into a machine, and a machine can turn into a woman; and she can grow connections with milk poured out from a bottle transforming the space around it. Trace it back to long-lost innocence and miraculously it all makes perfect sense.
The surrealistic category also contains an improbable landscape. A painting depicting a tree of clouds with a dragon-teeth-looking trunk standing against a layer of dusty yellow, next to a sea of rolling red waves. Landscape is an example of the ultimate surrealist canvas: a deceptive painting that can’t be elucidated with a precise explanation.
Another big category of the show contains paintings inspired by Greek mythology. In Europa and the Bull, Europa is sitting in tender surrender on the back of the swimming bull who is Zeus in disguise. In some myths, she is the mother of the legendary Minotaur, a symbol of male sexuality for many Surrealists. Europa and the Bull captures the strange connection between the bull and Europa as she holds out her hand to touch the creature’s horns. Does the gesture reveal that she lays claim on male power? Does she intuitively know she will become male power? Though her intentions remain elusive her strengths can surprisingly be traced to the first recorded divinity in human history. The Sumerian goddess Inanna presided over sexuality and war respectively coded in gender culture as feminine and masculine, and she is quoted in a Sumerian hymn as reciting the line “When I sit in the alehouse, I am a woman, and I am an exuberant young man”.
The show could not have been timelier in a century whose beginnings are marked by the rejection of cultural patterns and the inception of new manifestations of gender. The symptoms of this sharp disarray that scrambles communication between men and women become apparent in Alex, with its playful ambiguity and mischievousness as he raises a glass of milk for the health of the viewer.
What is always interesting in art is that which you can’t see: the secret codes, the arcane manifestations, the hidden views. Out of the Window creates a collaborative connection between the viewer and the female character peeping through the window with devotional concentration. The viewer may try to visualize his or her own views through her window, but this is a painting of questions, not answers. The more you look the more you wonder what is out there.
Through impressive conceptual proposals, unassuming images, and arcane manifestations this young generation artist is shaping a voice on the unfathomable through richly explored intellectual and visual narratives.