OMENS OF AN UPCOMING APOCALYPSE
Pop culture barrage us with narratives about an oncoming plague, nuclear holocaust, Armageddon, Apocalypse or end of the time; about a looming world where predators, monsters, survival, and chaos will emerge. Post-apocalyptic themes are growing in popularity as they reflect some kind of inner fear that in contemporary society appears to gain ground.
Psychoanalysis attributes most human behaviour to the sexual instinct (Eros) that is in a constant rivalry with the death drive (Thanatos). Our insatiable appetite for the display of excessive pain, death and catastrophe reflect our embrace of an endlessly warring culture, a culture dominated not by Eros, but by Thanatos. The contemporary technological context together the current events such as the Covid19 pandemic, distractive large-scale fires and the bombardments constitute a fertile ground for annihilation anxiety, an anxiety experienced as a present menace or as an anticipation of an imminent catastrophe. As the nightmare suffers, unable to differentiate external from internal perceptions, we feel helpless in the face of inner or outer dangers against which we can take no protective or constructive action. We live in constant harrowing anticipation of the abrupt moment that everything will change and will become unknown and thus terrifying.
Christina Tzani’s works arise from the very guts of nightmares, the vivid and terrifying episodes that wake the dreamer, and the anxiety of an upcoming doomsday that provokes sweating and trembling to a collective degree.
Her figures created in ink and watercolour exist in the twilight zone between apocalypse and night terrors, where the horsemen with their historical religious past spread the dread while the balancers gracefully balance on the overwhelming panic and their feelings of fragmentation and annihilation. Animals, fictional creatures and tamed monsters accompany humans in their survival journey. The jewelry they wear is difficultly distinguishable from the lethal weapons they carry and remind of emblems of a war already lost.
Tzani’s iconography originates not only from familiar symbology and mainstream culture but also from the psychoanalytic interpretation of nightmare as psychical representations of the early danger situations. Waking up our psychological residues of abandonment, separation, bodily injury, and annihilation of the self, the artist achieves to make us wonder about the origins of our personal and collective terror.