Critics’ Picks

Maria Toumazou, Found tongues (body), 2022, nickeled bronze. Installation view. Photo:

Maria Toumazou, Found tongues (body), 2022, nickeled bronze. Installation view. Photo:


Maria Toumazou

Grazer Kunstverein
Burggasse 4 Palais Trauttmansdorff
September 24–December 23, 2022

Taking its title from the names of two clock manufacturers, “RHYTHM, CITIZEN” unfolds as a series of cryptic, meditative encounters with time. Weaving through the vaulted rooms and colonnaded corridors of the monastery-like architecture of Grazer Kunstverein, the exhibition is billed as Maria Toumazou’s “first institutional solo presentation,” but it brings together a large cast of collaborators, including Felix Taylor (Platten Haus), Koula Savvidou, and Marietta Mavrokordatou. Through various apparatuses, each artist responds to an implied prompt: How is time halted, set into motion, or embodied through individual objects or intercessors?

“RHYTHM, CITIZEN” opens with Developing (all works cited 2022), which Toumazou created with loans from her local photography store Photo Net. The kinetic sculpture centers on an assemblage of five bellow pumps—compressors that regulate the flow of liquids, used for everything from dialysis and blood screening to environmental testing. Propped on a stainless steel plinth, the device ticks away like a metronome. Toumazou’s Entrance to offices, one of multiple sliding glass doors inserted into the space, offers a periodically shifting passageway activated by the viewer, alluding to labor shared between body and machine.

Other objects throughout the exhibition propose modified mechanisms for measuring and perceiving time. Toumazou’s series “Found Tongues,” for instance, comprises three nickled bronze bells whose pendulums have been replaced with different objects—a set of symbolic keys to the city, Cypriot police emblems, and a small figurine—rendering the objects mute.

Inefficiency emerges as an antidote to the conception of time as a system of unchecked, seemingly intangible capitalistic constraints. To that end, the show touches on the residual restlessness engendered by the pandemic, as we continue to navigate new understandings of time, place, being, and belonging. “RHYTHM, CITIZEN” aims to resituate time as a felt experience, while also pointing to its fluidity as a porous imperative.