IC2 poster

The Mirror of Conflict
Iconoclastic Controversies 2

by Nico Carpentier

H4C Nicosia
15 to 22 April 2022
Opening 15 April 18:30

The exhibition investigates how the memorials on the island of Cyprus represent the Cyprus Problem in very particular ways, often supporting antagonistic nationalist discourses and constructing the other as Enemy. It is an arts-based research project, grounded in academic research, that uses an artistic repertoire to communicate and co-produce knowledge.

The 93 photographs, capturing acts of memorialization both in the south and north of Cyprus, show the presence of national(ist) markers and the connections with Greek and Turkish histories. They glorify heroes and leaders. They remember victims, pain and suffering. And they celebrate freedom, victory and sacrifice. Still, these antagonistic nationalist discourses do not go uncontested. In some cases, these discourses are undermined by the practices of everyday life, that deny the memorials the attention and respect that they seek. In other cases, material processes such as decay, or the spaces where they are placed, work against these memorials (and the discourses they try to communicate and support). Moreover, a number of informal and formal memorials try to actively resist and disrupt the antagonistic nationalist discourses, even though they remain rare.

When displaying these photographs next to each other, we can also see the structural similarities between these memorials. Even when they refer to different people, events and analyses, the memorials in the north and south of Cyprus are remarkably similar in how they focus on history and identity, on victims, heroes and leaders, and on freedom, victory and sacrifice. Also the memorials that resist dominant (antagonistic nationalist) discourses exist both in the north and south of Cyprus, and they use similar tactics. Here, the exhibition demonstrates how the constructions of the enemy and the self are each others mirror image. These constructions might be claiming radical difference but they are simultaneously characterized by structural similarities, often functioning as each others inverse and constitutive outside.

The 33 metal stands on which the photographs are displayed, convey an analysis of how dominant and resistant discourses are engrained in memorials, and the different ways that they communicate ideology. By clustering the photographs on stands, the visitor is also invited to reflect about the similarities (and differences) between north and south. As the stands form a metal forest through which the visitors can stroll, the exhibition embodies the idea that we are immersed into these ideologies, and that we are part of these struggles over how to give meaning to the Cyprus Problem and its histories.

The exhibition is organised in collaboration with the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR), H4C, the Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism at Charles University and SQRIDGE.

	
	
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