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“Metamorphosis” art exhibition – Sergis Hadjiadamou redefines the past

The Annabelle Hotel in Paphos will host a solo exhibition by Sergis Hadjiadamos from 8 June until 30 June 2019. The artist’s new exhibition, under the title “Metamorphosis”, features new works that balance between the real and the imaginary, and bring forth the echoes of the past through the lens of a contemporary visual language.

His new work was inspired by the impressive archive of glass negative plates that were produced by his uncle, Spyros Charitou (1901-91), who is well-known as one of the first photographers of the early 20th century in Paphos. The artist visited the basement of Charitou’s home in Paphos for the first time in 2006, where he discovered a “time capsule” which included 1,653 carboard boxes. In each of these boxes there were at least ten glass plates, which remained intact through the passage of time and contained a significant collection of Charitou’s work.

Spyros Charitou used to capture the portraits of high-profile citizens, as well as other individuals with their families, demonstrating a keen interest in the various aspects of the town’s daily life, such as national celebrations, religious festivals and local fairs. His studio which opened in 1925, was the epicentre of artistic activity throughout this period.

The condition of most of the negatives drastically deteriorated over the years, which as a result made the various attempts to restore them, and the reproduction of a complete image from any of them, extremely difficult. The artist, however, showing perseverance, decided to decipher them with the help of high-resolution scanners. The results were unprecedented and utterly unexpected.

A whole new world emerged with distorted and disarticulated human figures; often with missing limbs and altered facial characteristics, and sometimes they all merged into each other, creating convoluted multi-layered narratives. Such metamorphosis, in metaphorical and literal sense, emphasizes the fragility of the original material, which was essentially “hibernating”.

The works on display at this exhibition consist of an amalgamation of imagery that has been meticulously scanned and printed on aluminium composite sheets, rendering a material juxtaposition between the frail nature of the glass plate and a new sturdy surface that is widely used today for archival printing. Going a step further, the artist selected a specific series of photographs and altered their surfaces by carefully adding rough brushstrokes. By creating different layers on the subject’s face with a new coloured acrylic coating, he redefined the past through the prism of a contemporary outlook that robustly manifests the awareness of impermanence.

During the exhibition, some of the original negatives will be displayed on a light box table, so as to spark a “dialogue” with the spectator, as well as between the past and the present, demonstrating how time has the power to change everything.

The opening of the Metamorphosis exhibition will take place at the Annabelle Hotel, on Sunday 8 June 2019, at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Charalambos Mbakirtzis, Director of the Foundation Anastasios G. Leventis, will inaugurate the exhibition. Curator: Dr. Kostas Prapoglou. The exhibition will remain open to the public until Sunday, 30 June 2019.