Mediterranean Modernisms: The Case of Cypriot Artist Christoforos Savva
The oeuvre of Cypriot artist Christoforos Savva (1924–1968) is located within a transcultural-translocal, Mediterranean artistic discourse, which subverts normative narratives, especially classical modernism’s spatial and temporal foundations and avant-garde discourses.
His alternative modernism and avant-gardism refuses hegemonic modernity’s binarisms of tradition versus modernity and “high art” versus “low art.” His work was enabled by his positionality in Cyprus—a space of crossings and exchanges, devoid of artistic hierarchies and grand narratives, in a “periphery” within the wider Mediterranean milieu. It exemplifies modernity in the Mediterranean: temporally and spatially contingent, yet open-ended and constantly reshaping, and always containing the embodied, lived experiences of individual agents. His place-specific modernism and non-canonical avant-gardism was enabled by, as much as it foregrounds, the hybrid and polymorphic character of cultural discourses within the Mediterranean.