Dilemma is a conceptual and linguistic piece that explores the concepts of home, identity and memory through the prism of exile. The light strip endlessly repeats its message, like a psalmody, a prayer, an appeal or a siren’s call: “Welcome home”, “Come home”. What does it mean to be “at home”? Whether it was his choice or whether he was forced to leave “his” land, doesn’t the migrant create a form of transitional space, half real, half fantasized – his ‘interior land’? The land of nostalgia, subject to the constant pull of the “proximity of the distant”, in which the “lost country is the furthest of the close and the closest of the distant” and where nostalgia can be defined as the ailment of putting roots down and tearing them out. There is also the nostalgia of exile, of a world without roots but “that never closes, full of different ‘similar people’, like me but not like me.” And how do you know you’re home, how do you recognize “your island”, are you really ever “home” anywhere? Conversely, doesn’t having a “home” amount to considering the rest of the world as foreign? To be attached to a place, to belong to it, like an element within a given environment and group, isn’t that to make oneself a foreigner to everyone else, and be not just “me” but “the one who lives here”?
Born in Greece, raised in Paris, Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos lives and works between Cairo, Paris and New York. Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos is a multi-disciplinary conceptual artist working around language and identity. Her work investigates the definition and construction of identities, personal memories, culture and collective histories. Her work was exhibited in galleries and institutions internationally including Times Art Museum (Beijing, China), La Panacée (Montpellier, France), Gallerie delle Prigioni – Luciano Benetton Collections (Treviso, Italy), Somerset House (London, UK), Musée Zadkine (Paris, France), Kunsthal Charlottenborg (Copenhagen, Denmark), Künstlerhaus Wien (Vienna, Austria), Kunsthal Aarhus (Aarhus, Denmark), Palazzo delle Arti Napoli (Naples, Italy), AMA | Art Museum of the Americas (DC, USA), French Institute of Athens (Athens, Greece), CICA Museum (Gimpo-si, Korea) among others. Upcoming exhibitions include the Powerlong Museum (Shanghai, China) and the 5th Istanbul Biennale (Istanbul, Turkey). Kosmatopoulos also worked alongside socially charged entities such as the Organization of American States (Washington DC, United States), the Kayani foundation (Beirut, Lebanon), Unicef Blue Dot (Athens, Greece), One Happy Family (Lesbos, Greece) and the Museum Louis Braille (France) to create large-scale installations that raise awareness on social issues.