’Reload the Current Page’: designer Michael Anastassiades’ homecoming show in Cyprus
As a teenager, the industrial designer Michael Anastassiades was obsessed with finding the perfect forms in nature, and his career in London has reflected this. His sculptural designs employ refined materials like brass, glass and marble, buffed to unblemished perfection.
How curious, then, that ’Small Zap’, the most personal piece in his latest exhibition - ’Reload the Current Page’ - was something Anastassiades already owned his entire adult life: a spherical ball of Cypriot stone found by his friend and mentor Neoptolemos Michaelides. Anastassiades - who collaborated on our 2013 Handmade issue - did a 3D scan of the stone and produced an outsized version, called ’Large Zap’. ’When it becomes significantly larger,’ says Anastassiades, ’the imperfections suddenly become more obvious.’ The smaller version ’looks absolutely perfect’; the larger one hardly at all.
’Reload the Current Page’, on now at the Point Center Gallery in Anastassiades’ hometown of Nicosia, Cyprus, is all about this experimentation with scale. The point being: only when an idea is reduced in size can an artist have total control over its appearance. By contrast, when an object is magnified, its true complexity emerges.
While the Zaps ramp up to a more elaborate scale, Anastassiades’ other works take vast forms from landscape and scale them down in size. The designer gives a Cypriot perspective to the Japanese concept of the ’suiseki’, a naturally occurring rock that happens to resemble an existing idea or image. Here, though, he’s crafted pseudo-suisekis from sandstone and basalt and used them to represent politically charged points in the Cypriot landscape - like the Pentadaktylos mountain, now in Turkish Cyprus but visible from the Greek side, rendered in his piece ’Jimbutsu-seki’.
Like many great works, this series was spontaneous and almost never came to be. The gallery had approached the designer about building a retrospective of his work. ’I realised that would be totally insensitive considering the current economic climate,’ he says. ’To inject these luxurious materials and super-refined forms into an environment in a time of crisis would not have been a nice gesture.’ So in November he embarked on ’Reload’ from scratch, and emerged with a body of work that carries the weight of history - not only his own, but that of his country.