Project Description

Annunciation is the latest performance and sculptural installation by Lanfranco Aceti. As part of the exhibition nEUROsis, the artwork was realized in Limassol, Cyprus, with the support of the non-profit organization NeMe. Curated by Yiannis Colakides, the project was developed as part of a year long residency in which the artist explored via thorough research themes and concepts related to apocalypse, post-democracy, post-citizenship, activism, political art, and rebellion. Annunciation is a twisted representation, via a performance and a sculptural installation, of the contemporary socio-economic crisis that encompasses the multiple contradictions and conflicts that characterize our understanding of the world we live in.

“It is in this critical landscape that contemporary dystopia continues to unfold undermining financial, social, political, and ethical frameworks while favoring the resurgence and return of a patriarchal rhetoric of divisive nationalism,” said Aceti while explaining the research and the thought processes behind the works. “The works are supposed to be beautiful and haunting at the same time—a harbinger of happiness and incredible sadness. Imagine an invisible virus unleashed by Pestilence, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Why should the ‘person’ who unleashes the virus be also ravaged by disease and unhappy? Death is not necessarily a harbinger of horrors. In the name of Love, and through the abuse of Love and lovence, [1] horrors and tragedies have been consumed.”

Aceti conceived Annunciation as a public performance and sculptural object that masterfully proclaims that the end of the world is starting now. The act of announcing, despite the message and its meaning, is embedded in one of the most beautiful islands of the Mediterranean: Cyprus. Cyprus is the birthplace of Venus the goddess of love and as such, in the mind of the artist, the best place to announce its end and the beginning of Death. The piece exists as a combination of multiple conceptual contradictions in an aesthetic landscape of homogeneity and post-modernity that barely pays lip service to ideas of diversity and irreconcilable differences. Although the artworks are embedded in a landscape of sufferance, since historically and in contemporary times the Mediterranean has been a locus of social tensions, the moment of  this visionary announcement is one of beauty which clashes and annihilates the dread and ominousness of the message.

Aceti in his analysis refers to “an annunciation” as a moment of liberation from the decaying concept of nationalism and the burning flames of post-democracies in the Mediterranean, Europe, and the USA.

“The question I kept asking myself over and over was: How would I announce the Apocalypse?” said Aceti. “The response came in the form of this performance and its sculptural elements.”

[1] Jacques Derrida, The Politics of Friendship, trans. George Collins (London and New York: Verso, 2005), 122.

Image credit: Lanfranco Aceti, Annunciation, 2018. Performance and sculptural installation. Photograph: Jonathan Munro.