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04-11-2022 13:44

State Gallery of Contemporary Art –SPEL present the exhibition «In the Sea of the Setting Sun – Contemporary Photographic Practices and the Archive”

The State Gallery of Contemporary Art - SPEL presents the exhibition "IN THE SEA OF THE SETTING SUN - Contemporary Photographic Practices and the Archive", from 11 November 2022 until 25 February 2023. The exhibition invites 17 Cypriot artists based in Cyprus or abroad, whose work engages with contemporary photographic practices, focusing especially on the research and use of the photographic archive.

According to the exhibition curator, Dr Elena Stylianou:

“In the Sea of the Setting Sun explores the relationship between contemporary photographic practices and the concept of the archive. Although a term that has appeared in art discourse since the 1960s, “archive” is not only still widely used but also changing, while digital and emerging technologies have altered our relationship to it in imaginative ways. This exhibition begins with the notion of the archive as an open concept, activated by the “archival turn” in art, reflecting the poststructuralist shift from the archive-as-source to the archive-as-subject. The works in this exhibition negotiate the tensions between romanticized understandings of the archive as a dusty place where one can retrieve treasures of the past and connect with history, and the archive as a metaphor or concept directly linked to the construction of interdisciplinary knowledge, systems of political imagination, power structures, the formation of national consciousness, and patterns of exclusion. The artists included in this exhibition explore the concept of the archive through the photographic medium and its multiple intersections with video, sculpture, painting, printmaking, sound and performance; some do so humorously and playfully; some approach it with the diligence of a researcher or an archivist, while others vacillate between idiosyncratic narratives and official discourse.

The curator's work becomes part of these fields of experimentation, dialogue and research, itself contributing to the formation of yet another archive that insists on remaining open to expansion: an archive of contemporary artistic practices from Cyprus. As the question of origin and identity is complex and contested, particularly in relation to the island and its history, the exhibition ultimately aims to also serve as an open archive of the intersections of artistic practice, topos, identity and politics. In this process of exploring any archive as a space of possibility that is always in flux – a network of relationships prone to gestures that disrupt it – the words of French philosopher Jacques Derrida in his Archive Fever (1995) still resonate as relevant: “[T]here is no political power without control of the archive … [e]ffective democratization can always be measured by this essential criterion: the participation in and access to the archive, its constitution, and its interpretation.”

Curator: Dr Elena Stylianou (Curator / IAPT President, Associate Professor in Art and Art Theory, European University Cyprus).

Participating artists:  

Alexia Achilleos, Marianna Christofides, Andreas G. Coutas, Haris Epaminonda, Mustafa Hulusi, Stelios Kallinikou, Nicolas Lambouris, Orestis Lazouras, Anastasia Mina, Christodoulos Panagiotou, Haris Pellapaisiotis, Nicos Philippou, Efi Savvides, Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert, Constantinos Taliotis, Maria Toumazou, Rahme Veziroglou.

The exhibition is being co-organised by the Cultural Services of the Deputy Ministry of Culture and IAPT (International Association of Photography and Theory, Cyprus), and opens in connection to IAPT’s 6th International Conference of Photography and Theory (ICPT2022, 17-19 November 2022, Nicosia).

The opening will take place on Friday, 11 November 2022, 19:00, in the presence of the Deputy Minister of Culture, Dr Yiannis Toumazis. 


73 Ammochostou Street, 1016 Nicosia

Opening hours

Tuesday - Friday 10:00–18:00, Saturday 11:00–19:00 (closed on public holidays) 

Information: T: 22479600,, Facebook / Instagram: spelstategallery

You may find an invitation here.