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Christos Pantieras: Your Word Is Bond
22 June - 9 September 2012, Opening Reception: 21 June 2012
What do the remnants of a relationship tell us about that bond? What can we make of an affiliation when only correspondence remains? Why does the written word come to bear so much weight as time passes? Email and texting, as opposed to a handwritten note, are considered ephemeral methods for recording feelings and declarations. It is all too easy to delete rather than to save the words once written with honesty and fervor. Yet contrary to what we might hope, delete does not signify destroy as a trace always remains. There is always evidence left somewhere.
Your Word Is Bond explores the notion of giving your word to someone, of what it means to speak tender or fervent “truths” that are sincerely meant at one time but not for all time. The exhibition considers as well the nature of memory, correspondence and other talismans of the past. Composed of four inter-related works by Ottawa-based artist Christos Pantieras, each piece stands as a chronicle of a separate relationship, linked together via correspondence that lays it bare, from initial flirtations to parting words. Pantieras gives the dialogue shape in varying forms: a trailing scroll of paper coated in wax and stitched together with wicks; graph paper obliterated by letterpress, bricks made from the burned candles collected from his Greek Orthodox Church, as well as a wall of envelopes separating the psychological space between sender and receiver.
In Long Distance (2008-2009), Pantieras includes both sides of the exchange, whereas in Impress Me (2005-2009) he presents only one half, leaving the viewer free to imagine what might have prompted the changes in tenor and the inevitable unraveling of the affair. Collectively, Pantieras strives to give solid form to the intangible – the interpersonal connections that had a life of their own, but that inevitably came to an end. The conversations that serve as evidence each have a measurable start and finish, thereby charting the length of the relationships through the reconstruction of events in the past tense. The reconstruction is forever a partial truth as correspondence cannot accurately represent all of the subtleties of the entire conversation.
Johanna Mizgala, Guest Curator