Some thoughts on the artist’s work by Andreas Ragnar Kassapis

In psychoanalysis, it is common for patients to repeatedly relate the same events. A slight change in the structure of a sentence or a word used mistakenly in the course of one of the many iterations can shift the patients’ way of thinking and force them to see themselves in the reality of the situation, now presented under a different light. Something completely obvious to one’s milieu may remain unperceived by the person in analysis. Once aware of this otherwise conspicuous trait, the patient becomes frightened. It is a little like seeing one’s bare back captured in a picture. How scaringly blatant is this image! …


Interview by Argyro Mpozoni

Art historian, exhibitions and event curator and collaborator of the City of Athens Culture, Sports and Youth Organisation (OPANDA), Christoforos Marinos is behind the open-air group exhibition ‘Unhappy Monuments’, running between 10 and 20 October at Parko Eleftherias.

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Installation view, Unhappy Monuments, 2020 | Anastasia Douka, Crocodile, 2020; Spyros Kokonis, Models (Steel Beams)”, 2016–2020; Konstantinos Kotsis, When we opened our eyes 2020; Marina Papadaki, Bread and Butter 2020 | Photo: Nikos Alexopoulos

Drawing inspiration from iconoclast Marcel Duschamp’s pivotal work ‘Unhappy Readymade’ (1919), Marinos invited 14 of the 45 artists selected by ARTWORKS for the 2019 Stavros Niarchos Foundation Artist Fellowship Program to tackle the notion of the anti-monument. If ordinary monuments exude permanence, monumentality and reverentiality, an anti-monument is ephemeral, fragile and does not actively seek out the attention of the viewer whose participation, however, is often one of its prerequisites. The artworks suggested by the artists enter in conversation with the character and aesthetic identity of the park, which is a favourite spot for Athenians looking for respite or entertainment. …


An essay by Christina Petkopoulou

“So someone would have to wait for the perfect society before daring to speak? Or perhaps speak while disguising their meaning. Or altogether assume the risk and speak in order to lie,” remarks the protagonist of Theo Prodromidis’ film Towards the Bank of the Future, 2013(2013). As bodily presence in the public sphere tragically reemerges as a right needing to be constantly reaffirmed, we are called on to invent new ways through which we will be able to speak about participatory, political or public art. What do we really mean, or what are we trying to disclose, when we talk about art taking on the notions of the political subject, everyday life or the very art of politics and its historicity? Within the framework of this inquiry, the need emerges to reflect these issues anew in a manner that would bypass a series of archetypal ethical questions, such as who has the right to speak and in which way, and would, instead, focus on the reality of things: what is the vocabulary that could include the excluded subjects. …


Review by Kiriakos Spirou

In his latest solo gallery show, multidisciplinary artist Yorgos Maraziotis lures the viewer into an environment where not everything is what it seems. The exhibition Monroe Springs at Antwerp’s Base-Alpha Gallery consists of paintings and sculptures of different sizes, installed unorthodoxly to create a carefully-planned spatial choreography that puts the viewer’s body into different situations. The deeper visitors delve into the exhibition, the more they realise that behind the show’s apparent softness and playfulness hides a much darker layer, one that is full of violence, social injustice and late-capitalism ennui.

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Installation view, Yorgos Maraziotis, , 3 September — 10 October 2020. Photography by WeDocumentArt

The exhibition’s title refers to an imaginary place, a Californian town perhaps named after Marilyn Monroe. Maraziotis chose this title because he draws inspiration from California, and specifically Los Angeles, for all the works he created for the exhibition. The artist has never visited Los Angeles though; the place exists in his mind as a collage of the representations he has been exposed to over mass media and through popular culture. The show is referencing the city and its history, but at the same time is also addressing the struggles and plight of any western or westernised modern city. Monroe Springs is therefore not a show about Los Angeles, but turns Los Angeles into a metaphor for 21st-century urban societies and the trappings of urbanisation and capitalism. …


An essay by Evita Tsokanta on the artistic practice of visual artist and digital media professional Theodoros Giannakis.

The imminent threat of the collapse of cultural subjectivities that has steadily been looming, partially due to the torrent of digitization, has brought about a resurfacing of the study of the universality of the senses by multiple disciplines. The sensorial revolution, as defined by anthropologist David Howes, endorses a “more relational, less holistic perspective on “the body” and its various modes of “being-in-the-world”[2]. At the same time several concerns surrounding issues of disembodiment and dematerialization have been explored in theoretical research internationally. Art theorist Fay Zika has suggested that the claim for the unification of the senses and the arts can no longer be limited to the modernist era, rather should be extended to include today’s digital media through which new means of production and forms have emerged[3]. The use of super-media, data bases, mining, search engines, image processors and simulations in the production of art has revealed a dynamic multi-sensual approach to aesthetics, one that includes interactive participation and puts access and management of information in the core of the aesthetic experience. “Digital media is characterized by the multisensorial immersion and interaction”[4], permitting multiple experiences and perceptions of an artwork, one that departs from the singular consumption of a work through the prism of the artist’s intentionality. …


Εssay by Evita Tsokanta about the work of Eleni Papanastasiou

Picture yourself in front of a masterful work of art. Standing there startled, paralyzed, silenced. The flow of emotions take control, words seem to fail you and the only thing left to do is pause in unsettling peace in a desperate attempt to take it all in, not to miss a single second of being there with it, of existing in the presence of ambiguity. Now imagine that work of art surrounding you, allowing you to immerse yourself in its three-dimensional plane while its sheer dimensions remind you of and liberate you from your negligible scale. Picture a work of art that has the power to induce an emotional grasp over a merely intellectual one, reconciling feeling and thinking, reminding you of the unknown as it can only be felt and not fathomed, of the complexity of human nature and consequently habitation. Such is the scope of the art of architecture. This was the experience of architect, photographer and painter Eleni Papanastasiou faced with Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute in La Jolla, California (1963). The affective power, the brilliance, the talent overcame her senses. A pure feeling that no words can be uttered to capture the complexity of visceral reactions, the dual sense of pain and pleasure, the sublimity evoked by the grandness of possibility. It was at that moment that her PhD research formed: finding the words to describe the architecture of emotions. Papanastasiou describes her creative process as interdisciplinary, centered on raw material: nature, language, and tactile structures. …


Essay By Jacob Moe

On February 8, 1926, filmmaker John Grierson reviewed Robert J. Flaherty’s Moana, an early docufiction film shot on the Samoan island of Savai’i, in the New York Sun. “Being a visual account of events in the daily life of a Polynesian youth and his family, [the film] has documentary value,”[1] he declared. This phrase is often cited as the first usage of the term “documentary” in relation to a filmic work, and has since then been most closely associated with the medium of film. …


Εssay by Evita Tsokanta about the work of Christos Massalas

Christos Massalas is a pleasure to talk to about all matters but most of all cinema. The force of joy that emanates when he describes his projects carries with it a life-affirming vivacity for the art of filmmaking and creativity in general. He is an endless resource of cinematic references that are not limited to the typical obscure mid-century cinematographers a director usually name-drops, but includes mainstream cinema made for popular consumption that you’ve actually seen. A rare treat if you are embarrassingly unsophisticated in art house cinema. The same quality is transported in his body of work. Such a sense of exoneration for wide appeal leaves no space for pretentiousness. His filmography holds the uncommon quality of art film accessibility. A touch of pop culture, a polaroid aesthetic, recognizable 90s references that make you sit up in your seat, are all light-heartedly sprinkled in his work, making the viewer feel at home. At the same time, his filmography deals with sex with a subdued tone which only thinly guises a deadpan humor undertone that feels absolutely in tune with today. …


Εssay by Evita Tsokanta about the work of Sasha Streshna

“This is what we’ve waited for
This is it, boys, this is war
The president is on the line
As ninety-nine red balloons go by

Everyone’s a super hero
Everyone’s a captain Kirk
With orders to identify
To clarify and classify

If I could find a souvenir
Just to prove the world was here”[1]

Born in 1987, two years before the fall of the Iron Curtain, in Soviet Ukraine, Alexandra/Sasha Streshna moved to Athens, Greece at the age of 11. It shouldn’t therefore come as a surprise that Streshna is haunted by grand historical narratives. What role have they played in western history? How have they been formulated in the realm of art? How do they affect the people that are directed to enact and consume them? What can and should be accepted as real and what as construction? Streshna’s oil on canvas figurative representations follow the tradition of western painting while depictions of battles, violence and authority are the central recurring themes in her research and her artistic process. Her paintings often reference the typical war scenes that can be found hanging in all important museums around the world. Her original starting point, however, has an unexpected twist that render the works far more complex than their predecessors. …


Εssay by Evita Tsokanta about the work of Alexia Karavela

Alexia Karavela is a collector. Not of art, but of traces of humanity. She goes about life, gathering objects, often relics, old images and stories in which a tiny glimpse of humanity can be detected, despite being veiled at first glance. Particularly when hidden under layers of politics, class divisions, social injustice and gender issues. The grotesque caricatures in her drawings, the ironic puns in her installations, the seemingly cynical critique of the past in her work, all carry a deep sense of empathy for the precedent, the finite, the already determined. Karavela’s gaze retrieves the universal human elements in the publicly demonized and previously ridiculed, in all that has been reduced into a one-dimensional cliché or diminished to aesthetically kitsch. …

About

ARTWORKS Fellows

Essays, texts and interviews about contemporary Greek artists and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Artist Fellowship Program. www.art-works.gr

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