The Charcoal Praxeis were performances organized by artist Rinos Stefani in 2012. This was a continuation of his Charcoal Project in 2011 in the Buffer Zone, Cyprus. The series of the Charcoal Praxeis took place in 8 September 2012 at the House of Arts and Letters, Paphos, Cyprus. The activity was included in the Cultural Events Program of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Stefani invited six artists to participate. He asked them to develope his/her own performance by using charcoal as the basic material. Participants: Susan Vargas, Dervish Dervisoglou, Chiaki Kamikawa, Stefano Paci, Iason Stavrakis and Rinos Stefani. Yiannos Economou presented his video “Pyrgos”.
Charcoal Praxeis: Conflict and Unity of Opposites
The concept for the Charcoal Praxeis which Stefani proposed to the artists was the Conflict and Unity of Opposites: Greek philosopher Heraclitus introduced the question of unity of opposites in the 5th century BC. “The road up and the road down are the same thing” wrote Hippolitus. He considered the succession of opposites as a foundation for change.
Hence, charcoal as a material embodies two opposing symbols. On the one hand, its black color evokes conflict, destruction and death. On the other hand it refers to cooking of food, nourishment and survival of human beings. Further more, charcoal as a drawing material becomes a medium of human communication.
In conclusion, the opposites – life and death – coexist in the same object.
Rinos Stefani for the Charcoal Praxeis did a performance together with Susan Vargas titled ‘The Line’. Stefani was drawing a long line on the wall with a charcoal while Susan Vargas was following erasing the line. Stefani said that he remembered as a child he used to draw with charcoal on the walls. “I would draw a line around the church of Agia Ekaterini, in my village of Tala. And I felt a great joy from the linear trace I was leaving behind.” Susan Vargas said about her performance: “The idea of futility and destruction are the concepts behind what I do as I try to erase the line Rinos has drawn.”
Since 1990 Rinos Stefani has been developing a hybrid form of action which combines installation with happenings. Stefani calls these actions Praxeis. In the 1990’s he did a series of Praxeis with Susan Vargas. He sometimes collaborates with other artists – like in the Charcoal Praxeis. He often engages the public like in his work Hiding Endemic Targets in 2017.