After returning from years of war coverage, Peter van Agtmael tries to piece together the memory, identity, race, class, and family, in a landscape which has become as surreal as the war he left behind.
Klavdia Balampanidou (b.1991) is a Greek photographer, born in Avranlo, Georgia and based in Nicosia, Cyprus. She studied Audiovisual Arts at the Department of Sound and Visual Arts of the Ionian University. She holds a Master’s degree in History and Theory of Art from the Department of Fine Arts at the Technological University of Cyprus. Her MA thesis was about “The Work of Women Photographers in the Interwar Period,” aiming to examine the work of pioneer women artists such as Dora Maar, Claude Cahun and Lee Miller, among others.
The autobiographical project Birthplace & Birthname was based on the concept of how a place and a name can define personal identity. Forced by the difficult conditions after the collapse of the Soviet Union, her family fled their home in Avranlo, a small greek speaking village in Georgia. Twenty years later, Klavdia returned to the village and created a narrative that focused on the concept of collective identity, while reconsidering her origins. In her series From Hand to Mouth, she started working with self-portraits to regain intimacy with herself during a turbulent time. Throughout the series, she explored themes of mental health, fragility and feelings of instability. Klavdia has showed us images that made the viewer wince as they felt the tension and even the pain.
In her latest work, They Sing a Song Only You Can Hear, she has been exploring the concept of desire and longing. It refers to an experiential situation and develops the problem that arises after an end as well as the forced suppression of desires, while extending the redefinition of personal identity. It attempts to visualize the internal situation experienced by the person in transition. The person enters a temporary situation, knowing that the old one is dying and wishes to move to a new condition. Throughout this painful process which is characterized by feelings of emptiness, uncertainty, fear and tension, the person who is experiencing it is called upon to confront himself and his desires in order to redefine his identity and move to the new reality.
Klavdia’s work has been featured on several online platforms such as Der Greif, Phroom, Aint-Bad, Velvet Eyes, Discarded, Foto Femme United, and she has participated in solo and group exhibitions across England, Greece, and Cyprus. In 2018, Klavdia received the Young Greek Photographer award and recently she completed her Residency Program at the Maker Space in Larnaka, where she had a solo exhibition for her ongoing series They Sing a Song Only You Can Hear.