Group show, Greek archaeologists association
A book made of plaster sheets, wall paper and text, narrating glimpses of the life that ended in the house the materials came from. A huge nail also found in the site binds the pages together, serving as a metaphor of the wounded body and soul of the house.
In many areas in Greece numerous army training camps that were built since the 1950’s were eventually abandoned. As child, I was living very close to one such camp and used to play in it when nobody was there. I visited a similar camp some years ago and was fascinated by the fact that time has turned it into a monument for an era that used to be extremely authoritative – back then, also formal education felt a lot like army training. The place now is a huge area full of blocks of cement standing like obsolete books in a deserted library, to remind us of how young people used to be formed under extreme discipline and sterile authoritativeness, making us wonder how much things have actually changed and whether this lust for control still survives within us and our reformed educational system. Photoeching and printing have been chosen as the best media for expressing the time distance, the detachment from content and the ghost quality that haunts all ruins.
Travelling letters project, Helsinky Academy of Music
Pebbles are smooth unique natural sculptures, transformed through time by the gentle but patient force of water. When collecting pebbles on a beach, we go for the ones that break the general patterns of color or shape in a way that catches the eye. The veining on some makes them look almost like organic matter, like living organisms. Others seem to be engraved with indecipherable sacred symbols, alluding to some secret meaning that will always escape us. Such found signs cause the shattering of language and invoke the power of its existence beyond any text, introducing a deeper way of communication – just like a piece of music you love and for a few moments you just exist in absolute harmony with it. This mystical alphabet of pebbles allows us to listen for a moment to the echo of the thousands of waves that have formed them, sensing the power of the sound of life as a precious companion of our existence.
Printmaking Panorama, Technopolis
These images are about our desire to look back, remember or understand feelings or events of the past. While in this process we risk to be trapped in a zone of stagnancy, a dormant stage of being, were we become a kind of lifeless statue.
In Genesis Lot's wife becomes a Pillar of salt just because she looked back at the inferno of the burning towns. Our wish to re-experience by any means (looking at photos, reading diaries, sharing memories, etc. ) what is gone by is effecting our composure, as we increase our efforts to focus into the past we become less responsive. In extremis we can become statues, pillars of neutral elements that cease to exist at present. It is the price we pay for wishing to relocate ourselves from the present and offer ourselves as reflection surfaces to a past that wouldn't be present in any other form.
This is an arrangement of folded fabrics that form a sort of cocoon, a refuge for our being. The membrane that keeps our current form together could recede, leaving us naked to our own freedom and the vast oneness of the universe. We, then, may try to refold it around us, in an attempt to hold on to the trace of existence and get the chance to transform the lived experience into some sort of deeper understanding – only to find that this void is what we are truly made of. The body itself is absent here, it is only implied by the empty space left behind. The lack of content and the silence that emerge within this space, create a stage where light is the protagonist instead of any image or form. With the specificity of the form disappearing within the light, we are allowed to sense what the deeper layers of our existence may be like.
Some transparencies of my archive were photographed over a light table. These membranes, which were used as the first materials for prints, had all been exposed and developed in the dark room and then transferred on zinc plates or silkscreen frames, so as to become prints in the end. Recollecting them over a light table created for me a new opening for the understanding my past work and allowed me to experience the fragile nature of images as memories. My archive has released its force through recaptures of different accidental arrangements. It is somehow "a book of fragments of memories", were the personal and the historical/collective are blending in new patterns. As one transparency illustrates the other, layer over layer, concealing their initial function and meaning, there is a chance to observe that moment in the creative process when different elements of personal, collective or visual history tend to overlap and delete their own origins.
This work is about the meeting point of contents that merge creating common grounds in a plane surface just for a glimpse. Then they depart to what they were before they met leaving behind them a charged void, an absence full of the aura of their union. In this case one surface is a container made of grass images, a container that may be viewed as text generator, a text outside the familiar context of the language. In nature, the ever‐present repetitive patterns can be read as a possible narrative sequence of no apparent meaning. There seems to be repetition just for the sake of it, a lack of specific purpose which remains indecipherable.
Presenting here natural patterns as text that when changing our positions as viewers reflect on flowers surfaces is a means to demonstrate the limits of human rationality as such, especially when confronted with schemes that may appear trivial and insignificant but are in fact larger than rationality itself and therefore beyond its capacity of understanding. Like some child‐like nonsense song that is pleasant but completely pointless or, when observed more closely, even unsettling and uncanny, precisely because of its meticulous purposelessness.
In this group of works, photographs of WWII sea battles have been processed, with all the images of battleships digitally erased and replaced with almond blossoms. The momentary and devastating bang of the original explosions has been turned into a blooming explosion of flowers – slow, tranquil and fragile but still transformative, a true celebration of life. It is customary to offer flowers to honor the lost and to welcome the new. The paradox of these images illustrates both the inevitable battlegrounds our inner conflicts and the natural process of healing that, if we allow it, always comes after any disaster or trauma we have managed to survive from, be it personal or collective. Transformed through time and memory, the scars of any sort of war may heal and bloom, so as to finally become an actual source of new life and lasting peace.
Through the long centuries during which women have been forced into an endless social and creative silence, reading and embroidery have been two of the few acceptable pastimes for them. Patiently following the repeated patterns of embroidery and the repeated signs in the books, they had been narrating their own silent story to themselves and forgetting its reality at the same time. They were reminiscing but not remembering their own creative powers and just had to settle for a semblance of an identity instead of the truth about themselves. I have attempted here a reappropriation of embroidery as a silent, hand-crafted text. The golden parts of this work were made of gold thread. The bodies of the women have been embroidered, as well as the books they read. Embroidery here is not meant to be merely decorative; it is about trusting and choosing patterns and signs outside oneself, making them a part of a personal practice and expression.
The cube, as a geometrical solid, was linked to the goddess Cybele, after whom it has been named. Cybele was an earth goddess of Phrygian origin, worshiped in ancient Greece and Rome as a protectress of maternity, rural life and wild beasts. The cube was related to the goddess as the foundation stone, the basic prerequisite for the existence of all beings. In our cultural context, the cube stands more for order, control and pragmatism as necessary elements of social and personal stability. This artwork attempts a convergence of the ancient and the modern views on the cube. Here, the cubes are made of surfaces of plywood with printed motifs of grass and bushes. They close with a door made of zinc, etched with the same motifs and they are lighted from the inside, allowing a glimpse at the great creative potential hidden within them as building blocks of creation.
Time departs only to return… as space. - Albert Einstein
My entire artistic endeavor has been an attempt to reconcile opposites, to bring together my rural past and my urban present, my quest for knowledge and my thirst for the sacred. Sigmund Freud, in The Interpretation of Dreams remarks that “[…] dreams are prominent in bringing the opposites together and presenting them in a single object. Moreover, in dreams, a specific element is often represented by its opposite, in a way that we cannot really tell whether the dream element that is prone to contradiction reveals a positive or a negative content in dream thought”. This procedure is similar to a chemical reaction, since what we end up remembering when we are awake is a general feeling that is the outcome of the processing that took place in the dream, rather than the dream itself. As we re-experience our dreams when awake, we influence both the past and the future by slightly modifying our memories and our expectations.
This piece of work was inspired by the poem of Octavio Paz Two Bodies and by a childhood memory regarding the reflection of tree branches on the surface of a round container full of still water. It implements elements of alchemy –the representation of the male and the female forces in nature and their harmonious unification, known as hieros gamos (holy wedding)– that merge with tree patterns in order to appear either as part of the branches or of the roots, functioning as the link that connects everything in life. Such alchemical representations must also allude to the very essence of our humanity: the human being is much like the alembic the alchemists used: it can either refine the elements it contains into gold or distort them into something lesser.
The final stake and the ultimate question are: can the opposites unite in the life and work of a human being as freely as they do in nature? And if yes, how?
I grew up in a rural area, where in early spring the dozens of blossoming trees surrounding my house were providing a perfect flower carpet for me to lie on and watch the flowers still on the trees above, which were about to fall as well. The smell also contributed to the general feeling of experiencing fragility and the loss of any sense of the materiality of the body, just like when we find ourselves in the middle of a slow and peaceful snowfall. Many years later I felt the same sensation by listening to the album Sleeps With the Fishes by Pieter Nooten and the experimental guitarist Michael Brook. That was what inspired this installation, as a testimony of what it is like to re-enter a happy childhood memory and allow it to interact with the present.
In medieval iconography towers often appear as schematic structures where saints find refuge to pray. Such architectural components are meant to function as higher and more exclusive alternatives to altars and often bear rich ornamental elements, such as paintings and scriptures, which stress even more the symbolic nature of worship. Reaching upwards, towers stand as symbols of the act of prayer itself, becoming figurative extensions of the human being that is always driven towards something greater than him/her. In this piece of work, the image of the tower-altar is invested with organic patterns which are meant to bring prayer forward as a natural force that makes us move always upwards, like the branches of a tree.
The central core of my work has always been related to the abstract inner forces of the esoteric life of human beings. Using the grass motif as a compositional element, together with images excerpted from books on alchemy, I attempted to explore the chemistry they produce. Also the process of transferring the images on zinc plates through a chemical procedure, gave me the necessary leverage for a better understanding of the visual qualities of symbolic art, which is depicted in many illustrated books of the history of printing. I was fascinated by the height of the allegoric language achieved through the combination of text and image in these books dated from medieval times and up till the end of the 19th century.
What does it mean to be a lord? Does it simply imply that one is better than other human beings and therefore entitled to exercise power over them, as the common use of the word suggests? Or are there other sorts of lordship, too? The visual inspiration for this installation has been the form of the dove as a symbol of the pure aspect of the human spirit that brings freedom and inner peace. In Christian iconography it stands also for the Holy Spirit, the force that inspires the motion of all entities in the universe. Being faithful to our true spirit is what makes us, after all, lords of ourselves, able to stand proud in a community of equals and stay in connection to our origins and our inmost nature – much like the loft of pigeons presented here, emerging from the foliage of an imaginary garden.
Magritte’s simple compositions that focus persistently on specific objects or scenes, thus endowing them with an uncanny, dreamlike quality, have largely inspired the structure of this group of works. The simple shapes and themes, however, have been invested with an extra layer of herbal patterns – close-up snapshots of moments in a garden, one could say. Gardens have often represented the holy place where matter meets spirit in many an iconographic tradition (in Europe, Byzantium, Islam, Japan et al.). To cultivate a garden, one needs to accept and respectfully pay heed to the natural patterns of change within it. The same goes for the cultivation of the human heart, where art may be present both as a necessary utensil and as a brilliant flower.
1990 - 1991
In this group of early works, the media used (mostly woodcut and etching) were not chosen so much for their potential to produce multiple copies but more for their particular mode of expression: the deep contrasts and the sharp incisions employed in engraving are the perfect means to illustrate the profound contradictions and paradoxes that make up human existence itself. The fixedness of the compositions is a historical reference to the symbolic landscapes used as backdrops for the holy scenes in Byzantine and medieval iconography.