Organised by the Visual Artists Cyprus association in collaboration with the Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre (NiMAC). 13-23 October 2016
With Maria Andreou, Michelle Padeli and Stephan Takkides.
Using his ongoing investigation of his namesake as a starting point for the Residency, Adonis Archontides creates his own version of the Gardens of Adonis, a traditional celebration method during the time of Adonia (a festival celebrating the Greek ever-youthful birth-death-rebirth and vegetation deity), for which concubines and hetaerae (companions) would create makeshift “gardens” on rooftops and bring home their lovers.
These rough gardens were comprised of plants which would normally be planted in the earth, grown in containers in order to speed up their life and consequentially their withering and death under the scorching heat of the summer sun. The act of escalated growth contrasts the slow and patient sowing of seeds at their proper time, and reaping after maturity to be consumed. As such, Adonis, or more specifically the garden of Adonis, came to symbolise immaturity, superficiality, rashness, promiscuity, and the complete opposite of useful agriculture and the union of marriage.
At the end of the festival, the containers were ceremonially thrown in the sea.
The artist leaves a footnote for this impetuous ceremony through a photograph taken at the Königsplatz in Munich, a square used as a rally ground for the Nazi Party during the Third Reich, when it was still covered in tiles. After the war, the space was turned into a parking lot until 1988 when the tiles were removed and the grass was planted in a movement described as ‘letting the grass grow over’ (“Gras-drüber-waschen-lassen”).
By visualising and weaving a path through these mythological traditions, historical occurrences and personal mementos, Archontides explores themes of ephemerality, futility and truthfulness: flowers wither and die while being transported (harbingers of what is yet to come), ladders and pots lose their true function, while grass is employed to cover up (perhaps) more than it should.