About five years ago I had the opportunity to have my first collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, in the context of research and an exhibition by the artist Horst Weierstall. On this occasion, a process of collecting material and re-enacting the artist's first performative actions presented in Cyprus began, such as Momentum I, for example, which took place on the Green Line and deals with the property of sound to penetrate the imposed boundaries defined by history. This collaboration included exhibitions in Nicosia and Larnaca with works by the artist as well as new artistic and performance interventions and the screening of the film Marking Time directed by Nicolas Iordanos and Sylvia Nicolaidou, which was screened at film festivals and exhibitions with the support of the Institute.
In 2018, in the context of research on the work of Christoforos Savvas, the catalytic role of the Goethe-Institut in the historiography of cultural events in Cyprus became apparent. In 1968, Savva held a retrospective exhibition, presenting the diversity of his work, shortly before Cyprus' first participation in the Venice Biennale, in which he participated with a group of Cypriot artists. One of the important finds, apart from the visual material in the exhibition that records a large number of his works, was a note from the Goethe team introducing Savvas to documenta, which he would visit after the Biennale. The retrospective exhibition at the Goethe-Institut was also a reference point and source of inspiration in terms of the curatorial approach of the Cyprus Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Art Biennale.
In 2019 and following Natascha Sadr Haghighian's representation of Germany at the Venice Biennale, and in collaboration with artist and co-founder of Thkio Ppalies, Peter Eramian, we proposed to invite the artist to the hypersurfacing forum through the Goethe-Institut, a project realized on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of NiMAC. At the forum, Sadr Haghighian shared highlights of her work with the audience, and held a workshop with the Cypriot artists participating in the hypersurfacing group exhibition. The artist returned a few months later for a residency programme conducted in collaboration with Peter Eramian, the results of which will be publicly presented in 2022, organised by Thkio Ppalies.
This year we collaborated on the Social Sculptures project, under the international umbrella of Beuys100 that activated artists and cultural professionals from all over the world on the occasion of the centenary of Joseph Beuys' birth. Following an open call to Cypriot artists, we created a series of workshops from April to September that provided a platform for synergy and discussion around diverse themes such as Cypriot identity, the ecological crisis, urban diffusion, civic affairs, autobiography as a creative medium, etc. Social Sculptures accompanied a programme of public actions, and a key activity was the group exhibition of the participating artists, which presented new work influenced by the themes of the project. As part of Beuys100, we also participated with the workshop facilitators in the series of podcasts entitled The Earth Is Speaking, creating a collage of the points that characterised our own considerations around the term social sculpture.
The Goethe's ever-evolving cultural vision has contributed over time both to the development of the local cultural community by promoting and supporting innovative activities and to the recording of Cypriot inter-community art history through the rich archive maintained at the Institute since its inception. I would like to express my sincere thanks to Karin Varga, Natalie Stylianou, Elena Petrou, and the entire team of the Goethe-Institut in Cyprus for our collaboration. Their active contribution to each of our joint activities with their professionalism and dedication has always been decisive for the outcome.