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Cypriot artists open their studios > I October 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus, Arts Exhibitions Cyprus.
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Seeing the place where an artist works gives far more insight into their finished product than merely observing it in a gallery. This year, 88 artists from Paphos and Limassol open their places of work to the public throughout October

Ever walked into a gallery and felt like you could cut through the atmosphere with a knife? An artist may pour his heart and soul into one of his works, but as it hangs in the exhibition hall, all that’s left is a finished product waiting to be purchased according to visual appeal. When the fairest of them all is taken home and placed on that bit of empty wall you wanted to fill, you’ve got a picture before you that is meant to speak a thousand words. But are you really in tune with what the artist was thinking at the time of creation?

Last year, artists from the Paphos district opened their personal workshops to the public for the first time ever, creating enormous interest as art lovers travelled even to remote villages to catch a glimpse of what happens behind closed doors.

This year, Open Studios is expanding beyond Paphos to cover the Limassol district as well. Each artist involved in the occasion will open their studio door to the public throughout various weekends in October. Artists who don’t have their own workshop will be exhibiting at one of the participating galleries. From Polis Chrysochous all the way to the centre of Limassol, there are 22 different locations that are calling out to be discovered by art lovers.

Since the idea was launched in England some 20 years ago, it has spread and gained popularity worldwide. Very different from the usual experience of visiting galleries, Open Studios gives you the chance to get to know artists in an informal atmosphere as you enjoy the privilege of spending time chatting and learning more about how various types of art work are produced.

“A traditional art exhibition can certainly be a bit sterile,” explains one of the organisers, Nic Costa. “Whereas walking into a gallery can be a bit cold and impersonal, Open Studios is all about getting to the know the person who has created the art work that hangs on the wall.” What were they thinking when they created the specific image? And how do they feel about the outcome? These are just some of the interesting things you can chat about when you meet the persona behind the picture that glares back at you.

Although Open Studios is something new for Cyprus, last year proved that locals are warmly embracing the idea. “I will never forget one Russian lady who visited every single on the artist on the list,” says Nic. “She was just so excited by the idea that she could spend a few weekends travelling around some beautiful parts of the island while popping in to discover hidden gems in personal spaces that are usually closed off to the public.”

You’ll have the unique opportunity to discover beautiful pieces of art that you wouldn’t normally stumble upon and if something appeals to you, it’s all down to a one-to-one transaction between you and the artist. “Being an artist tends to be an isolated occupation and Open Studios is a non profit making initiative that aims to directly benefit the creator without any of the commissions that burden the artist,” Nic explains.

With 88 artists taking part in the occasion this year, those involved come from very different backgrounds and cultures, and many of whom have enjoyed years of experience. And don’t expect just the usual paintings and sculptures as the studio doors open; there will also be video installations, photographic works, prints, textiles and mosaics to set your sights on. “There’s no selection committee to judge what goes in and what stays out,” says Nic. “The event is open to everyone that has had at least a year’s experience making art works. Because of the democratic system, it’s a complete mix and match of works with both amateurs and professionals taking part.”

With so many interesting things to see, organisers urge everyone to tell friends and family about the scheme. If you don’t live in Paphos or Limassol, it may be a good idea to plan a weekend trip down to the respective towns so you can really soak up the great atmosphere.

You can pick up your Open Studios guide now for free from supermarkets, kiosks and other retail outlets throughout Paphos and Limassol. In October, look out for the banners bearing the distinctive Open Studios logo on a blue and yellow background hanging near the entrances of each artists’ workplace. The special website, as well as the guidebook, provides the dates each artist will open their studio, as well as directions to each studio, addresses, and phone numbers.

Open Studios > Artists opening their doors to the public in weekends throughout October, 10am-1pm and 2pm-6pm. Personal workshops and galleries throughout Limassol and Paphos. For further information visit > www.openstudioscy.com

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