Constantinos Papamichalopoulos, Nippon-Selim, [2006]

Constantinos Papamichalopoulos


The title of the piece, “Nippon-Selim”, and his figure itself, is a transcription of Vizyinos’s short story “Moskov-Selim”.

It was shown, along with five more pieces, in a group exhibition on Vizyinos at Art Space 24 in 2006, I think. Several objections were voiced, along the lines of “it doesn’t look like Vizyinos”, meaning there are no fezzes or fustanellas, or a sense of the 19th century Ottoman empire in general.

I personally considered, and still consider these objections pointless.

I chose, instead, to follow the example of creators such as Akira Kurosawa who, when he transcribed Shakespeare’s “King Lear” at “Ran”, created a world entirely different to the one described in the original. Nobody looked for English lords and the British countryside of the 17th century in Kurosawa’s film, and everyone continues to accept this transcription in feudal Japan. Great art – be it of the era of Shakespeare, of Vizyinos, or others – cannot continue to inspire if it cannot be adapted to the current contemporary idiom.