Site-specific video installation
Bode Museum, Berlin

30.11.2023 - 03.03.2024

The exhibition SCREEN: A Contemporary Art Intervention by Theodoulos Polyviou is the first expansive multimedia installation commissioned by the Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst that engages with an object from the collection from a contemporary artistic perspective.

SCREEN can be found in room 220 of the museum and is the latest instalment in a series of works by the artist titled Transmundane Economies. For this ongoing project, Theodoulos Polyviou has developed immersive installations that examine the cultural heritage of his native country of Cyprus from a queer perspective. The starting point of the exhibition at the Bode-Museum is an 18th-century iconostasis from the collection. As a dividing element in a Christian Orthodox church in Cyprus, the iconostasis once framed a series of depictions of saints and was positioned to conceal the sanctuary from the congregation in the nave. In this new work, Polyviou traces the extraordinary journey the iconostasis has made from the Mediterranean island to its present location within the Bode-Museum (currently featured in the exhibition Klartext, in room 072/073).

The artist has created a digital 3D reproduction of the iconostasis, which he has embedded in a site-specific audiovisual installation.SCREEN unfolds as a series of animated virtual environments that engage with the known and unknown histories around the object. Markings on the floor represent the architectural footprints of the various settings seen in the video. The installation is rounded off with a soundtrack derived from ethnographic recordings of Cypriot folk and religious music.

SCREEN explores how history can be told in new ways, using immersive digital media to create alternative and more poetic means of experiencing the stories connected with the iconostasis. This multimedia and interdisciplinary approach demonstrates the continued commitment of the Skuplturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst to showcasing new perspectives on, and unexpected dialogues with, the cultural heritage it houses.

Architectural design: Loukis Menelaou
Curated by Cäcilia Fluck, María López-Fanjul y Díez del Corral and Daniel Milnes

A special exhibition by the Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin