This selection presents works by three Greek artists of different generations who negotiate notions of order and subversion, independence and interdependence, through different, mainly sculptural, practices. The choice of artists and works is based on their conceptual, gestural and constructional approach in inventing an idiosyncratic spatial poetry challenging the given order of things. The works redefine the use and meanings of commonplace materials and well-known texts by isolating and recontextualizing them. They generate gaps in established systems of perception by shifting contents and displacing contexts. They translate the world through objects and images and suggest an alternate scale to confront its realities and possibilities.
Kostas Bassanos, in his sculptures and video works, illuminates the poetic qualities of the ordinary through gestural displays. He updates the meaning of objects, words and materials by marking their sculptural dimension and activates the space as a field of open possibilities by punctuating it. His work draws on the subversive aspects of romanticism to question settled limits and relationships.
Nowhere is a cast in plaster of pallet wood. The pallet, as an object of storage and transportation connected to trade and economic growth, is a recurrent medium in Bassanos’s work, which is used here to form and deliver meaning. Nowhere as a word transcribed to a sculptural vocabulary and acquiring a physical substance, becomes part of the exhibition space and defines it. It leans on the borderline between the floor and the wall, on the spatial limits which form a horizon. Nowhere as a word gives a name and an existence to a place that does not exist. However, Nowhere marks the place in which it is contained as non-existing, defining the space while negating it. Yet, if separated in two, it can be read now here and it is left to the viewer to define where nowhere is.
Kostas Bassanos in his sculpture uses materials, usually of industrial mass production, as autonomous forms and minimally intervenes on them to reconfigure them conceptually. The stack of A3 paper on the floor refers to sculpture as a stratification of material but also to the tradition of late modernism. Shifting More alludes to Thomas More’s Utopia. Utopia is understood here through the dynamics of displacement, marking a process of shifting borders either of subjective or physical nature.
La Rivoluzione Siamo Noi is a work embodying its title. Each letter, made from pallet wood, is independent and supports itself, while all the letters together form the phrase: we are the revolution, referencing Joseph Beuys’s famous work. Kostas Bassanos updates Beuys’s concept by reconstructing it. He readdresses the revolutionary potential of we, individually and collectively, through the relationship of the letters and in this way he physically engages the public.
Kostas Roussakis constructs sculptures and photographic images, which expose unsaid or unfulfilled sides of things. He confronts functions with representations and lays bare their contradictions. Mostly monumental and at the same time ephemeral, rough but also delicate, his works are at odds with themselves and bring forth the underlying layers of reality, its conflicts and potentials.
Tempo Libero is a model of gallows. The reproduction of a murder mechanism, which bears a stage, revisits the notion of the imposition of death as a social condition for the maintenance of law and order and its presentation as spectacle. The model of an outdated execution tool with an ambiguous yet explicitly ironic title, does not only recall a fearsome reality of the past, but questions the present mechanisms of social justice, even where the death penalty has been abolished. Tempo Libero challenges the idea of the obsolete as being harmless, the right to life as taken for granted regardless of the conditions of living.
Pier Paolo Camineti is an in-situ, large-scale, ephemeral public sculpture that was installed for three days in the middle of a basketball court underneath an urban overpass. It is a hybrid structure of bleachers and a portable gas stove. The common use of this stove is to prepare coffee but it can also be used as a makeshift explosive in guerrilla practices. The reconstruction and displacement of the bleachers in the center of the court, metaphorically places the spectators in the position of actors. The paradoxical assemblage of the stove and the bleachers alludes to the explosive potential of the people when assembled. However, the fragility of the material of the construction implies the unstable character of this potential, while it literally transfers the responsibility of the work’s use to the spectators who can either contemplate or ruin it.
If a symbol is a representation of a concept and can deliver meaning through a shape, Something Like a Dream is an interpretation; it translates the content of a form to another form, superimposes the one on the other and brings forth the reality of an abstraction in an attempt to comprehend the human condition. The swastika, used as the emblem of Nazism after the 1920s, within the present socioeconomic conjuncture, while neo-Nazi ideologies gain significant power, does not only recall a collective trauma of the past but constitutes a current menace. The work’s title relates the image to the symbolic content of dreams. Something Like a Dream might be a nightmare but by rendering the danger visible, it brings it into consciousness.
Kostas Roussakis is born in 1971 and lives and works in Athens, Greece. More works at: http://www.elikagallery.com/
Zoe Giabouldaki creates self-sustainable universes out of fragmented parts. She makes sculptures, photographic images and sometimes combines both practices in her ‘sculptural collages’. Her structured yet abstract objects and images are magnified miniatures of a world recomposed out of its leftovers. In her work, the container and the content unite in a process of strength balance following a narrative of chain associations.
Zoe Giabouldaki’s work is based on the concepts of connection and support. In Unknown & Untitled all the different elements are interrelated, carrying and supporting the others while being carried and supported by them. They form a system of connections and separations, which balances forces of desire and feasibility. A photograph of a hammer in a plastic bag hanging by a nail on a wall, mounted on a piece of plasterboard leaning on the floor and against the wall, composes a long and intriguing scenario in which every ‘character’ has a leading and supporting role.
Zoe Giabouldaki’s practice includes collecting and cataloguing fragments, materials and leftovers which she comes across. She keeps notes and photographs them acting like an archaeologist of the future who tries to make sense of a past world out of its waste. ΔΝ22 is a fragment presented detached from its environment, as a sample of an unknown something under a microscope. This magnified tiny portion of the world composes a material, abstract, yet autonomous, universe.
Hoisting is a sculptural collage. The work unfolds its different parts from different points of view and bears the tension of its composing fragments being interconnected while remaining distinct. The relationships between them form a network. Hoisting is a microcosm in which the matter, its image and its reflection support, project, communicate and extend each other.
Zoe Giabouldaki is born in 1982 and lives and works in a random place. More works at: http://giabouldaki.info/
Galini Notti (born 1980) is an independent curator based in Athens, Greece. She holds a Bachelor degree in Philosophy from the University of Ioannina, Greece and has received graduate degrees in Aesthetics from Paris 1 University and in Museology from the Ecole du Louvre, Paris, France. Recently she curated the group show … at 3 137, a dynamic artist-run space in Athens, and co-curated the group show Vanishing Point at Action Field Kodra, an annual contemporary art exhibition in Thessaloniki. Previously, she curated the group show All that melts into air is solid at Elika Gallery and co-curated the shows Studios and Chain Reaction at The Art Foundation in Athens. She is currently working at Xippas Gallery and her professional experience includes work in the curatorial departments of the Musée d’Orsay, MoMA, and the Athens Biennial.
Lo and Behold
Lo and Behold is a non-profit organization based in Athens, Greece, serving as a platform for the production of cultural activities, both in Greece and abroad, with a focus on contemporary art. LaB's objective is to highlight the work of art itself as the outcome of artistic inquiry, rather than as a commercial product. LaB is concerned with research and experimentation regarding new methods and strategies of contemporary art production and management. It aims at dialogue and direct involvement with diverse social and cultural frameworks from all over Europe. Given current socio-economic circumstances, this dialogue is now more important than ever.