Video by Yioula Hatzigeorgiou, 2010
Using simple technical means and the most natural materials, Yioula Hadjigeorgiou is able to transform the tangible, everyday reality into a poetic action. With references to history, she tightly bonds the personal with the universal in a continuous motion of memory and self-knowledge. In her recent works, she symbolically uses ash as her raw material. Being the result of deconstruction and destruction, linked with mourning and death, ash becomes both a structural material for making bricks and a purification powder – like in an ancient tragedy. In her latest work in progress “Bypass”, ash is used in a thick layer in an installation on a table, where it is moved with a simple, invisible “magical mechanism”, creating an amazing poetic and at the same time a mourning result. The ash, which suddenly comes to life with motion, creates imaginary, utopian mappings of a dreamlike landscape and is linked with such concepts as rebirth and the recycling of death into life. The short video which records part of this continuous circular movement of the ash – a material that the viewer does not readily recognise – creates an unprecedented depiction of reality. The artist replaces the concepts of separation and borders with the open structure of the moving ash, an alternative image to the impasse of mourning. The continuous change of this visual landscape functions figuratively as a reconstruction of the ego identity, which is absolutely necessary and not just on a personal level. Hadjigeorgiou points out that “if people do not want to be buried in a mausoleum, they need to know how to get rid of their habits, to tread on them in order to renew themselves.”1
The poetics of the transformation and the continuous movement of the ash come in stark contrast with the poetics of the absurd, which are to be found in the heart of the video “Knife in water”. With a repetitive movement, the artist cuts, slices the water – a metaphor of history and the wounded memory of Cyprus – thus strengthening the sense of absence and mourning, of the desperate fruitless attempt in the middle of the void.
1. Thoughts of the artist in a discussion with Andri Michael [April 2012].