Kalfayan Galleries present the solo exhibition of Antrea Tzourovits (b. 1987, Serbia Montenegro – Danilovgrad) titled “Counting Rests”, in which the artist embarks on a deeply personal journey of introspection, exploring the intricate interplay between memory, sound, and silence. As the title of the show indicates, the works in the show reflect upon the ‘musical pauses in music notation’ mirroring the artist’s intention to orchestrate a ‘symphony of silence’.
The genealogy of the exhibition at Kalfayan Galleries stems from the artist’s childhood before moving from Serbia Montenegro (Ex-Yugoslavia) to Greece during the conflict in 1999. A major influence for his poetic narrative emerged also from the artist’s personal experience of the euphoric celebrations for the win of FR Yugoslavia in the 1998 FIBA World Championship, followed just a few months later by the onset of tragic war-related events due to the NATO bombing.
"Counting Rests" serves as an expression of the artist’s fascination with how various mechanisms of human memory - as described in Pierre Huyghe’s “The Third Memory” – influence personal and collective memory and our notion of reality. ‘Sound’ is a strong memory mechanism. His works shed light on the corporeal memory through his personal knowledge of techniques of Greek traditional instrument making which are based on oral tradition passed on from generation to generation. Therefore, the artist translates his more than six years' experience as an instrument-maker into elaborate and intriguing new wooden paintings, sculptures and sculptural installations. Additionally, the exhibition will feature a collection of historic pre-war moulds in dialogue with one of the artist's new moulds, utilized in the creation of some of the showcased artworks. This inclusion not only illuminates the artistic process and research behind the project but also seeks to foster a dialogue between the past and the present, establishing a profound connection through time.
At the same time, Tzourovits’ new works presented in the exhibition examine the relationship between ‘play’ and ‘conflict’ and how these can generate both humour and a feeling of uncertainty. In the core of his artistic practise lays the 21st-century Heidegger-influenced school of object-oriented ontology (OOO) and the belief that all materials are memory carriers. Thus, he selected for example in some cases to use appropriated basketball floor to create sculptures, that refer to deconstructed forms of basketballs, hybrids between a basketball and a musical instrument. The wall sculptures with a shape resembling the infinity sign, are in fact two-dimensional views of the design of a ball.
‘Counting Rests’ reflects upοn the artist’s fascination with the notion of the dynamic role of silence as expressed in Jacques Lacan's theory of the ‘Symbolic Order’, a term with which the French Phychoanalyst described the system of language and culture that shapes human experience and the construction of subjectivity. Silence, within this framework, can be seen as an interruption or disruption of the ‘Symbolic Order’. It might represent moments when language fails to capture the full complexity of an individual's thoughts and feelings. At the same time, is associated with the Real, the domain of the unrepresentable and the ineffable. At the same time, Tzourovits’ artworks - potential musical instruments, draw from Walter Benjamin’s philosophy of conceiving silence as a space of receptivity and contemplation. Thus the artworks presented in the show at Kalfayan Galleries embrace the notion that silence prompts the viewer to pause, reflect, and engage more deeply with the artwork.
As the artist states:
“I meticulously craft sculptures and installations infused with traditional techniques, possessing the potential to produce sounds reminiscent of musical instruments. However, instead of filling the space with audible vibrations, I embrace the power of silence, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in contemplation and imagination, evoking the possibilities these silent objects hold.
Through this exhibition, my intention is to orchestrate a symphony of silence, encouraging viewers to envision the sounds these silent objects could produce if the silence were to give way. My aim is to spark contemplation and introspection, prompting each viewer to reflect on the intriguing interplay of silence and memory within the realms of their own lives."
Special thanks to Christos Spourdalakis and his workshop .
In this exhibition, Antrea Tzourovits incorporates a collection of historic pre-war moulds (body-soundboard) for musical instrument making, which exceed 80 years in age. These are a valuable loan for the show by Christos Spourdalakis and his workshop.
Antrea Tzourovits (b. 1987, Serbia Montenegro) lives and works in London and Athens. Studies: MFA in Fine Art , The Slade School of Fine Art, London, with a scholarship from NEON Organization for Culture and Development [2020-2022]; BA in Fine Art, Athens School of Fine Arts, Greece [2015-2020]. Prizes-Awards: The Kenneth Armitage Foundation Postgraduate Sculptor Prize 2022 ; UCL East Provosts Art Prize 2022; Hari Art Prize (TBA) 2022; Stavros Niarchos Foundation Artist Fellowship by ARTWORKS, 2022.
Recent group shows include: “Encore – New Greek Painting” ( cur. Eleni Koukou, Christoforos Marinos, Theophilos Tramboulis), Municipal Art Gallery of Athens; “Lines In The Sand” (group show), Incubator, London, UK. “Doomed Companions. Unsubstantial Shades” (curated by Akis Kokkinos). Organized by NEON, the D. Daskalopoulos Organisation for Culture and Development. Hellenic Residency, London, UK. Tzourovits has worked as a Trainer in ‘’Perasmata’’ (an experimental initiative of UNHCR in Greek schools raising awareness among young people about issues of racism and the need to protect vulnerable social groups. 2013-2014 and as a Stringed instrument Art luthery craftsman, Neorion Music Workshop – Handmade Music Instruments, Piraeus, Greece – 2014-2020. His excellent technical knowledge in fields ranging from interior and exterior mural painting to instrument making, coppersmithing, ceramics, music and even the construction of air conditioning systems, translates into works of art that demonstrate Tzourovits’ deep knowledge and research on the interactive relationship between matter, space and spectator.
Antrea Tzourovits, Kicking back comma, 2023, wood (Padauk), leather guitar strap, wood varnish, diameter 24 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries