Xenofon Kavvadias 'The Law is no less conceptual than Fine Art'
Welcome to the ongoing exhibition in Gift 10 VYNER ST!
Exhibition dates: May 5th - June 17th
Gift 10 Vyner Street presents a solo exhibition by the prolific artist, Xenofon Kavvadias, fortuitously timed in light of recent world events.
Xenofon is interested in exploring the ‘limits of acceptability and the margins of legality’ under the Counter Terror- ism legislation, challenging contemporary notions of freedom of speech, censorship and accepted public knowledge thereof.
Following more than five years of extensive research and planning, Xenofon will present a wide range of documents and books containing disturbing contemporary ideologies. Many of these have been used as evidence in court to secure criminal convictions. Subjected to the obscurities of underground internet websites, the public is essentially exempt from what should be an ongoing debate, intimidating an informed electorate and seriously undermining our democratic political state. This exhibition will encourage viewers to critically engage with the displayed texts without fear of control or marginalization, reinstating the public right to challenge and oppose. A right that is constantly threatened when one considers recent events in the Middle East and Libya, the Wikileaks/Julian Assange controversy and Bradley Manning’s prosecution.
“Are thousands of UK households who possess these books breaking the counterterrorism law? Should they not be informed about it? Should they not be required to destroy the books? Is this a solution within the spirit of the Law? For if we ban a book, how far are we from forcing the owner to destroy it? For if we ask, or force the owner of a book to destroy it, how far are we from burning this book? I am convinced that in this country only a tiny minority is prepared to burn books. The last book I can recall being burned was a copy of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses in Bradford.”
Focussing mainly on literature and texts, Kavvadias will present CIA files and confidential manuals alongside Islamist books and other texts that one may claim ‘glorify terrorism in the strict meaning of the word’.
This show is not centred on issues of faith, religion or party political debate, rather it is concerned with the expos- ing and questioning of what and why certain information is withheld from access and indeed may be deemed illegal to own, read or exhibit. Where are these lines drawn and who decides? Indeed should they be drawn at all? For, will they not change over time?
To this end, Xenofon has selected documents from a wide spectrum of contentious and opposing social, political and religious ideologies in order to provide an impartial and balanced viewpoint. During the course of the show, the most contentious books will be ceremoniously burned, each week, with the resultant ashes placed within handmade Murano ‘Veronese' vases. The charred skeletons of the books void of their contents will be returned to their original place on the gallery walls.
Far from wishing to expose information that may put lives and/or liberty at risk, Kavvadias and Gift 10 VYNER ST aim to create a space of freedom and equality where visitors will encounter, without any didactic attitude or fear, part of what has been denied to them during the last decades due to terrorism and war. Additional installa- tions incorporating both old and new media will also offer challenging perspectives of his oeuvre.
IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE THE CONTENT, VIEWS AND BELIEFS HELD WITHIN THESE BOOKS DO NOT REFLECT THE OPINIONS AND VALUES OF, NOR ARE ENDORSED BY XENOFON KAVVADIAS OR GIFT 10 VYNER ST. FURTHERMORE WE ARE NOT DISPLAYING ANY INFORMATION OR LITERATURE THAT IS NOT ALREADY WIDELY AVAILABLE ONLINE. THIS IS A SERIES OF FINE ART INSTALLATIONS WHERE THE VIEWER CAN INTERACT WITH THE TEXTS UNDER STRICTLY CONTROLLED CONDITIONS.
PLEASE ALLOW SUFFICIENT TIME FOR YOUR VISIT DUE TO CAPACITY RESTRICTIONS. NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED. MOBILE PHONES MUST BE SWITCHED OFF.