Christoforos Savva, Untimely On Time
In 1968, Savva was one of the artists selected to represent Cyprus in its inaugural Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, but only a few days after the opening, he died suddenly in Sheffield, UK.
Through more than ninety works, the exhibition Untimely on Time presented the inclusive, idiosyncratic diversity of Savva’s production, thus paying homage to a major figure of Cypriot art while aiming to provoke reflections on the processes that have shaped the post-independence national imaginary of Cyprus. Any such endeavour needs to take into account the fact that Cyprus, like many other countries with a colonial past, did not have the opportunity to deal with the ‘modern’ in a substantial and autonomous way. At least in so far as its art historiography and the international visibility of its artistic production are concerned, what has registered instead, is a sense that it ultimately chose to delve directly into the ‘contemporary’. Revisiting, then, this key moment in the island’s recent history becomes a fundamental step towards a better understanding of its contemporaneity.
The exhibition is held on the occasion of a double fifty-year anniversary associated with the participation of Christoforos Savva in the first official show of the Republic of Cyprus at the Venice Biennale in 1968, as well as the subsequent death of the artist in the same year. The exhibition was curated by Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, exhibition design and exhibition architecture was designed by Studio Manuel Raeder. Accompanying publications in collaboration with Hatje Cantz and BOM DIA BOA TARDE BOA NOITE, Berlin. This is the first of a series of events to be presented in the new State Gallery of Contemporary Art – SPEL, until it operates under the statute of the Cyprus Museum of Contemporary Art, whose establishment is under way.