A tiny prologue
When the time comes for me to analyze my artistic practice, I prefer to take a detour first. I would rather talk about myself since it is me that is the mastermind and executioner of my practice. When it comes down to art or life even, I always appreciate and enjoy a nice joke. A joke that sometimes can be considered morbid, of poor taste or of terribly wrong timing. I understand and appreciate sarcasm, especially when one is being sarcastic about oneself. I feel like humor can be a corrosive substance; it has the extraordinary power of catharsis, the psychological mechanism that releases all the steam built up inside.
Humour is playful, wild and liberating. It can also become a vehicle for articulating ideas that might be too painful or serious to handle. When it comes to seriousness, I always think of a supernova when its gravity becomes so intense that it collapses within itself. Humor can challenge authority - a direct act of disobedience against hierarchy, power, and sanctity whether it is social, metaphysical, political or even personal, emotional.
Humour in my work it is more of a hint, subtle and implied, lurking like the rake waiting for a face to slam but never exhibiting the actual slapstick comic incident and the cheap relief it would bring. A conscious decision to elegantly mock, deface the Grand scheme of things, flip the middle finger to it- an existential gesture.
My artistic practice, identity and development
During my career, professional and academic, I strived to become an artist who can adapt in different situations, respond appropriately to different ideas and take advantage of the possibilities of different media and what they offer. So, I can safely claim that I am multidisciplinary artist, from drawing to performance, video or self-publication or painting; I regard each medium as a different language, an artform of its own in a sense; an opportunity to push my boundaries and to explore the possibilities both within my work but in terms of communicating with the viewer as well. I define myself as a conceptual artist, an artist who relies on ideas. I do feel that I have plenty. Humor is the glue, the invisible web that intertwines all of my projects. My decision is not to talk about these matters in a serious manner but in a seemingly light and easy one even self-deprecating.
Using this approach is like deconstructing a situation and then reassemble in according to one specific needs. Knockdown something conceptually and then reusing the debris to create something that might simultaneously resemble the original but the context is now too different.
Benjamin in his essay The Destructive character writes:
The destructive character sees nothing permanent. But for this very rea son, he sees ways everywhere. Where others encounter walls or moun tains, there, too, he sees a way. But because he sees a way everywhere, he has to clear things from it everywhere. Not always by brute force; sometimes by the most refined. Because he sees ways everywhere, he always stands at a crossroads. No moment can know what the next will bring. What exists he reduces to rubble - not for the sake of rubble, but for that of the way leading through it. (1931)
But what is my identity? I am a destructive character but in a creative way. A person who destroys just to reconstruct and propose something else. I identify myself as an artist who responds to everyday stimuli - Ideas just pop up, and if they stand the test of time (I take my time and evaluate before I act), I try to find ways to create them, to choose the right medium, the correct - according to me- way of representing them. I see ways everywhere, and I force myself to step out of my safe zone, pushing myself to different directions, exploring media and exploring my inner self, expanding possibilities and manipulating visual languages. Standing at a crossroad and taking decisions that sometimes surprise me, I reduce to rubble only to build my idiom, taking chances, acting like a curious kid, that wonders, what would happen if?
Lastly, it feels like I have come a long way, from critical, distant and a non-self-involving stance to the main concept, to an intimate and self reflecting way of working that, feels close to the heart and to my idiosyncrasies. A way of working that leaves me exposed because I am more daring to reveal myself and my secrets to the world even if sometimes I choose to hide, which is paradoxical. I expose my own personal way of seeing, what I like to describe as an optimistic negativism, a constructive iconoclasm (self-iconoclasm included) and the more I immerge into my practice, the more satisfaction I gain. Experimenting, creating new compositions, combining elements that are out of place, playing with ideas and with the audience, posing questions this is the essence of my practice and I wish I will have the opportunity to take it another step down the road, making my work relevant to the world, historically and socially, and yet keeping it personal. A way to be an introverted extrovert.
Benjamin, Walter. "The Destructive Character." Frankfurter Zeitung 20 Nov. 1931: n. pag. Web.
The Left-Handed Drawings of People who are Right is a continuation
of my research on iconoclasm/defacement. The rules of this project
are simple. Draw a portrait of a dictator using my left hand while being
right handed and accept the outcome no matter how bad it looks.
The worse the better in this case. The title by itself is a word play on
left and right, a dipole that is used not only to underline two opposite
directions but the notion of them that is crystallized in our collective
consciousness. It also refers to using the left hand to draw, while I am
a right-handed person. And the last part applies to people that have
ultimate power over their subjects, as they are the ones that are right
as in the “truth”. It also implies the relationship between artists and
power historically and the power that art holds. I find myself critical of
the tradition of historical portraits and their power, and in a way, I try to
deconstruct this pictorial tradition. I smear the legacy of the people I
This project is a follow-up on the Left-handed drawings of people who are right. The problem that arose in the previous project was that the longer I worked with the left hand, the better it got. It started to obey my brain commandsand drawing became easier and easier.
I decided I had to exploit my recently acquired abilities and create a series that will let me play with the concept of this gradually earned easiness of my left hand. But why Hitler? The title Repetition is the mother of all learning literally refers to the way I trained my left hand to keep getting better and better. But it holds a high irony. A hidden joke. And sometimes jokes are the best way to speak about deadly serious matters. Dragging Hitler’s face from the past, drawing it gradually in a more realistic way hides a great antithesis with the title of the project. Does humanity learn from past mistakes?
Unfortunately, this is not the case. The final conclusion of this project, the best drawing technically wise is the most appalling.
This reaction became obvious when I offered hand-made buttons with the drawings printed on them as souvenirs.
This drawing is inspired by Pierre Lombard’s Headless Horseman,
which was inspired by a painting by Van Dyck, The story of the engraving
is a strange one since the head of the horseman was erased
and recreated many times by more than one artists. From Oliver
Cromwell to Louis XIV to Oliver Cromwell to Charles I and finally to
Cromwell. At this time of my research, I was and still am drawn to
iconoclasm as a concept and as an action. Iconoclasm is a violent
way of defacement that is tied to power, political, financial, religious
etc. And I was fascinated with all the junctures that made the artist
change the main hero of his engraving. I decided to inspire not by
the final outcome of this piece but rather the necessity of the artist
that had to change the head, his action of erasing, the iconoclastic
and defacing gesture that now is seen at my drawing as the final outcome,
and crystallizes the moment of turning power from
one to another. The servant has been neglected purposely as a sardonic
humoristic reminder of a strict sociological hierarchy even
though sometimes all seem possible, even the servant becoming the
Supported by the Mondriaan Fond and the Stipendium for Emerging Artists/Werkbijdrage Jong Talent 2018-2019
The public cultural funding organization focusing on visual arts and cultural heritag.
Het Mondriaan Fonds is het publieke stimuleringsfonds voor beeldende kunst en cultureel erfgo.
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Fine Arts, School of Visual and Applied Arts, BA Painting _
Frank Mohr Institute, Minerva Art Academy, Hanze University of Applied
Science, MFA Painting _ 2016
Selected exhibitions and performances
Presenting The Escaping Artist, a series of performances, 6 Thessaloniki Biennale,
Perfomance Festival, @ Contemporary Center of Thessaloniki GR,curated by Areti
Introverted Exhibitionist Self, The One MInutes, Presenting Create Characters’
@ Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht + RIFF - Reykjavik International
Film Festival, NL IS, curated by Egill Sæbjörnsson |
of Mind@ Haus 34a, Bad Bentheim DE, curated by Marc Bijl |
The Escaping Artist, Folkert De Jong and Friends, Free Stage Vector @ Vivid Gallery,
Rotterdam NL |
A Moment, a Person, a Thought’, Graduation show @ Frank Mohr
Institute, Groningen NL |
Point Zero @ Laden Fuer Nichts, Leipzig DE, curated by Marc Bijl |
Kappatos Gallery, Athens GR Collaboration
with Akis Karanos, curated by Panagis Koutsokostas |
Heroes, Action Field Kodra, Thessaloniki GR |
and White, Three generations of Artists’ @ Eirmos Gallery, Thessaloniki GR |
Effects @ Kalos & Kleio Showroom, Thessaloniki GR |
Want @ Action Field Kodra, Thessaloniki GR,
curated by Vasilis Zografos