info
aenima

Discussion between artists Kostis Velonis and Panos Famelis on the occasion of the exhibition.

KV. Over the past few years, we’ve noticed an inevitable connection between representation and abstraction, with the expectation of unifying two elements that were once completely opposed to each other in the art field. I’ve noticed that your work seems to be more focused at times on representation rather than abstraction and vice versa, without any notions of intentional commitment to one means over the other. I would say that you seem to disregard the aesthetic ideological results that accompany each choice.

PF. The two worlds that you’ve mentioned are not always opposed to each other, meaning that a purely abstract image could be a detail of a general representational subject and not necessarily by intention. The real concern is the questions that we pose (either as creators or as observers) with our method of approaching said image.

Personally, I’m interested in creating an artistic “language” that originates from these worlds while managing, however, to find the right balance between both; it’s the point where the representational elements and the element of abstraction can actually become the traces of a narration which is open to many different interpretations. The more incomprehensible the produced images are (to the point that all of said conditions can of course co-exist), the more interested I am in the result.

After all, we all are in a way trying to form our own means of communication, which is formulated to a great extent by the characteristics of each person’s current time period.

KV. This specific formalistic coexistence between abstraction and representation has actually provided fertile ground for the quite old dichotomy within the anthropogenic culture to be surpassed and to be transformed into a more metaphysical or rather cosmological view that nowadays seems to be reflected in social sciences, such as the Actor-network theory. As Bruno Latour states in one of his essays regarding Tomas Saraceno’s installations, “no visual representation of humans as such, separated from the rest of their support systems, makes any sense today”. If we are to accept that the human entity cannot be separated [from nature] but in fact that we humans are essentially closely connected, for example with the climate or the bacteria that is inside and outside our DNA, as opposed to a once neoteric approach which separated nature and society, it would be quite interesting to observe just how these connections are translated into plastic arts. I believe that your latest work does respond to this context.

PF. The entirety of this body of work entitled “Aenima” is essentially a case study regarding breathing, a primary function of existence. An energy flow is produced by this ongoing pulse and results in shaping our uniqueness, as well as defining our identity and consequently defining our relationship with the environment.

The repetition of relationships of order and chaos, light and darkness, life and decay, constitutes a natural law and primary pattern of all of these works, thus creating a thick overlay of traces of drawing, based on repeated fixed frequencies of moments, points, time and distance that appear on a surface that doesn’t have a beginning, middle and end.

This relationship of order and chaos, as well as the way in which our existence is connected to the climate and the cellular structures that constitute our surrounding environment, are experienced and acknowledged by us through relationships between points and energies that occur from the pre-existing balances or imbalances that constantly form this compression of material and mass.

KV. I would say that the color - or rather the color’s tangibility via its thick layers- as well as the color mixes, that combine even more colors with each other, which are a typical element of your work, seem to play an integral part in advancing from the human microenvironment to a much wider ecosystem.

I believe that the connection with this new series of black-and-white drawings that you present is based on this type of “organic” approach.

PF. My whole body of work negotiates terms such as life, materiality, instincts and death. I’ve noticed that the human entity exists in the core of a narration, initially appearing as a remaining trace from anthropocentrically focused depictions, which mostly feature the element of ‘flesh and blood’ while gradually transforming into a self-referential narration of the materiality of color.

If we are to accept to a certain extent, the reality of a deeper relationship of existence and non- existence that connects us not only to nature, the earth, and other beings in their entirety, but also to the macrocosm of the universe, then it would be safe to say that everything creates relationships of density and dispersion, a constant flow -as well as restructuring- of energy and mass.

The Aenima exhibition refers exactly to this type of “density” of materiality and energy in the context of “inner space” and a network, as a representation of the relationship between microcosms and macrocosms.

KV. I’ve noticed, however that up until recently, your characteristic method of filling up a canvas with thickness [of color], has been gradually replaced in your most recent work with a sense of need to make blank space noticeable.

PF. Duchamp defines nothingness, the immaterial, the invisible, the close-to- nothing energy, the air itself, as “infra-mince”.
Based on Duchamp’s opinion, Joachim Pissarro, commenting on Shirazeh Houshiary’s work, speaks of the subjective quality of the material in a work of art, of the co-existence of minimalism and maximalism, as well as the manner in which the artist manages to transform this marginally “unmaterialistic material” into something that has the greatest impact on us. According to Pissarro, the soul is the main concept in the narration of Shirazeh Houshiary’s work, a concept that is not too negotiated any more in art (perhaps due to the fact that a newer and more documented understanding and expression of the universe is sought).

KV. A futuristic element seems to appear in your way of drawing, not only in your older but also in your more recent works, including your sculptures. This type of futurism, however, does not seem to share any ideological background with the futuristic art movement, where the past is disregarded and the narration of a forced modernity is supported. Your type of “futurism” is more similar to the process of experimentation and researching for new elements.

PF. I believe that your observation is arrived at subconsciously, because of how you perceive my character’s idiosyncrasy, via certain events and images that may appear without, however, anything being predetermined.
I consider myself to relate ideologically to the Futuristic art movement, due to the fact that my work does not strive for any type of human intervention over nature, but on the contrary, my references are organic or natural and not technological.

However, the Futuristic concept of formalistic plasticity, which attempts to depict incoherent relationships between time and emotions that result in the objects appearing in an inconsistent manner, in complete disarray and in parts, is where I occasionally have similar theoretical concerns in the art and sculptural field.

I’m quite interested in this side of confusion just because it produces a sense of uncertainty- insecurity, which is a fundamental rule of nature.

KV. Your treatment of your sculptures demonstrates quite clearly your relationship with a type of experimentation that is open to failure, even leading to the sculpture breaking because of the weight of the color coating.

PF. You are absolutely right in your observation, and I believe that we share that in common with your work also.
I’m quite interested in the concept of a fragile state and that does not come across only from the way I handle my material in sculptures; I feel that even in this exhibition where no form of sculpture is presented, a sense of fragility underlies my drawings.

My body of work, however, is based on the point situated between two or three dimensions, between a drawing and the limits of its material existence.
The “transformation” of a material that is intended for two-dimensional viewing into three-

dimensional masses, clearly leaves plenty of room for deliberate failure and might also contribute to the feeling of uncertainty that was previously mentioned.
If this type of sculpture, as you very well state, does indeed balance between its structural limits, I would pursue that this potential failure is relatable to anything that has failed (and vice versa). This would allow any possibility and reference to be simultaneously open to a sense of “fragility”, but also to a sense of “robustness”.

The Japanese use the word “shokunin” to portray a person that performs with a ritual respect exactly the same tasks every day, in order to perfect his skill and also to constantly develop the quality of the outcome. Even though I often feel that I don’t operate very differently from this, I actually intend to gradually reach the point before the work completely collapses, or just one fragment of the whole process remains, rather than creating a “perfect” result.

This flirting with a possible destruction is what infuses the whole process with a sense of vanity that I’m interested in, since it creates a more childish approach.

exhibitions

Ileana Tounta
Contemporary
Art Center, Athens, 2016

Discussion between artists Kostis Velonis and Panos Famelis on the occasion of the exhibition.

KV. Over the past few years, we’ve noticed an inevitable connection between representation and abstraction, with the expectation of unifying two elements that were once completely opposed to each other in the art field. I’ve noticed that your work seems to be more focused at times on representation rather than abstraction and vice versa, without any notions of intentional commitment to one means over the other. I would say that you seem to disregard the aesthetic ideological results that accompany each choice.

PF. The two worlds that you’ve mentioned are not always opposed to each other, meaning that a purely abstract image could be a detail of a general representational subject and not necessarily by intention. The real concern is the questions that we pose (either as creators or as observers) with our method of approaching said image.

Personally, I’m interested in creating an artistic “language” that originates from these worlds while managing, however, to find the right balance between both; it’s the point where the representational elements and the element of abstraction can actually become the traces of a narration which is open to many different interpretations. The more incomprehensible the produced images are (to the point that all of said conditions can of course co-exist), the more interested I am in the result.

After all, we all are in a way trying to form our own means of communication, which is formulated to a great extent by the characteristics of each person’s current time period.

KV. This specific formalistic coexistence between abstraction and representation has actually provided fertile ground for the quite old dichotomy within the anthropogenic culture to be surpassed and to be transformed into a more metaphysical or rather cosmological view that nowadays seems to be reflected in social sciences, such as the Actor-network theory. As Bruno Latour states in one of his essays regarding Tomas Saraceno’s installations, “no visual representation of humans as such, separated from the rest of their support systems, makes any sense today”. If we are to accept that the human entity cannot be separated [from nature] but in fact that we humans are essentially closely connected, for example with the climate or the bacteria that is inside and outside our DNA, as opposed to a once neoteric approach which separated nature and society, it would be quite interesting to observe just how these connections are translated into plastic arts. I believe that your latest work does respond to this context.

PF. The entirety of this body of work entitled “Aenima” is essentially a case study regarding breathing, a primary function of existence. An energy flow is produced by this ongoing pulse and results in shaping our uniqueness, as well as defining our identity and consequently defining our relationship with the environment.

The repetition of relationships of order and chaos, light and darkness, life and decay, constitutes a natural law and primary pattern of all of these works, thus creating a thick overlay of traces of drawing, based on repeated fixed frequencies of moments, points, time and distance that appear on a surface that doesn’t have a beginning, middle and end.

This relationship of order and chaos, as well as the way in which our existence is connected to the climate and the cellular structures that constitute our surrounding environment, are experienced and acknowledged by us through relationships between points and energies that occur from the pre-existing balances or imbalances that constantly form this compression of material and mass.

KV. I would say that the color - or rather the color’s tangibility via its thick layers- as well as the color mixes, that combine even more colors with each other, which are a typical element of your work, seem to play an integral part in advancing from the human microenvironment to a much wider ecosystem.

I believe that the connection with this new series of black-and-white drawings that you present is based on this type of “organic” approach.

PF. My whole body of work negotiates terms such as life, materiality, instincts and death. I’ve noticed that the human entity exists in the core of a narration, initially appearing as a remaining trace from anthropocentrically focused depictions, which mostly feature the element of ‘flesh and blood’ while gradually transforming into a self-referential narration of the materiality of color.

If we are to accept to a certain extent, the reality of a deeper relationship of existence and non- existence that connects us not only to nature, the earth, and other beings in their entirety, but also to the macrocosm of the universe, then it would be safe to say that everything creates relationships of density and dispersion, a constant flow -as well as restructuring- of energy and mass.

The Aenima exhibition refers exactly to this type of “density” of materiality and energy in the context of “inner space” and a network, as a representation of the relationship between microcosms and macrocosms.

KV. I’ve noticed, however that up until recently, your characteristic method of filling up a canvas with thickness [of color], has been gradually replaced in your most recent work with a sense of need to make blank space noticeable.

PF. Duchamp defines nothingness, the immaterial, the invisible, the close-to- nothing energy, the air itself, as “infra-mince”.
Based on Duchamp’s opinion, Joachim Pissarro, commenting on Shirazeh Houshiary’s work, speaks of the subjective quality of the material in a work of art, of the co-existence of minimalism and maximalism, as well as the manner in which the artist manages to transform this marginally “unmaterialistic material” into something that has the greatest impact on us. According to Pissarro, the soul is the main concept in the narration of Shirazeh Houshiary’s work, a concept that is not too negotiated any more in art (perhaps due to the fact that a newer and more documented understanding and expression of the universe is sought).

KV. A futuristic element seems to appear in your way of drawing, not only in your older but also in your more recent works, including your sculptures. This type of futurism, however, does not seem to share any ideological background with the futuristic art movement, where the past is disregarded and the narration of a forced modernity is supported. Your type of “futurism” is more similar to the process of experimentation and researching for new elements.

PF. I believe that your observation is arrived at subconsciously, because of how you perceive my character’s idiosyncrasy, via certain events and images that may appear without, however, anything being predetermined.
I consider myself to relate ideologically to the Futuristic art movement, due to the fact that my work does not strive for any type of human intervention over nature, but on the contrary, my references are organic or natural and not technological.

However, the Futuristic concept of formalistic plasticity, which attempts to depict incoherent relationships between time and emotions that result in the objects appearing in an inconsistent manner, in complete disarray and in parts, is where I occasionally have similar theoretical concerns in the art and sculptural field.

I’m quite interested in this side of confusion just because it produces a sense of uncertainty- insecurity, which is a fundamental rule of nature.

KV. Your treatment of your sculptures demonstrates quite clearly your relationship with a type of experimentation that is open to failure, even leading to the sculpture breaking because of the weight of the color coating.

PF. You are absolutely right in your observation, and I believe that we share that in common with your work also.
I’m quite interested in the concept of a fragile state and that does not come across only from the way I handle my material in sculptures; I feel that even in this exhibition where no form of sculpture is presented, a sense of fragility underlies my drawings.

My body of work, however, is based on the point situated between two or three dimensions, between a drawing and the limits of its material existence.
The “transformation” of a material that is intended for two-dimensional viewing into three-

dimensional masses, clearly leaves plenty of room for deliberate failure and might also contribute to the feeling of uncertainty that was previously mentioned.
If this type of sculpture, as you very well state, does indeed balance between its structural limits, I would pursue that this potential failure is relatable to anything that has failed (and vice versa). This would allow any possibility and reference to be simultaneously open to a sense of “fragility”, but also to a sense of “robustness”.

The Japanese use the word “shokunin” to portray a person that performs with a ritual respect exactly the same tasks every day, in order to perfect his skill and also to constantly develop the quality of the outcome. Even though I often feel that I don’t operate very differently from this, I actually intend to gradually reach the point before the work completely collapses, or just one fragment of the whole process remains, rather than creating a “perfect” result.

This flirting with a possible destruction is what infuses the whole process with a sense of vanity that I’m interested in, since it creates a more childish approach.

info exhibitions

Ileana Tounta
Contemporary
Art Center, Athens, 2016

solo show

aenima