Contact
alex.tzannis@gmail.com


CV
Alexandros Tzannis
Born 1979 in Athens

Education
2010-2011
Goldsmiths University of London, MFA, London
2001-2006
School of Fine Arts, Athens
2005
Academie der Bilbenen Kunste, Vienna

Solo shows
2017
Blue-Black Layers Over the White City, State of Concept, Athens, GR
2015
Wave After Wave After Wave… (it’s all for her), Dio Horia Gallery, Mykonos, GR
2012
Heavy Lines (with Lionel Esteve), Bey Hamam Archeological Site, Thessaloniki, GR
Heavy Lines Part 2 (with Lionel Esteve), Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, GR
The Breeder Series (with Jannis Varelas), The Breeder Gallery, Athens, GR
2011
The Summer I Got Close to Other Aspects, Catherine Bastide Gallery, Brussels, BE
2010
Scattered Memories from the Next Millennium, The Breeder Gallery, Athens, GR
2007
Doomed by Fantasy, The Breeder Gallery, Athens, GR

Selected group shows
2018
Tidal Ground, Lulea biennial 2018, Norbotten Sweden , Curators: Emily Fahler, Ashrin Haidari, Thomas Hamel.
The Materiality of the Painterly Event, City of Athens Arts Centre, Athens, GR. Curator: Denys Zacharopoulos.
Acropolis at the Bottom, School of Fine Arts, Athens, GR. Curator: Katerina Nikou.
Stopping Point, Daily Lazy Projects, Athens, GR. Curator : Kostis Velonis
States in Concept, KADIST, Paris, FR . Curator: Iliana Fokianaki
2017
Future Climates, State of Concept, Athens, GR. Curators: Antonia Lampi, Iliana Fokianaki.
Nowhereland, Gallerie Utopia, Athens, GR. Curator. Tjorg Douglas Beer.
2016  
Scarecrows, Sigalas Vineyard, Santorini, GR. Curators: Nunzio, Micol Assael.
Dio Horia Gallery, Mykonos, GR
2015  
Au Rendez - Vous Des Amis, Fondazione Palazzo Albizzini Burri, Cite di Castello, IT Curators: Bruno Cora, Denys Zacharopoulos.
Schaufenster Berlin, Berlin, DE. , Curators: Uwe Henneken and Salome Ghazanfari
Dio Horia Gallery, Mykonos, GR
2014  
Christina Michalis, Arthur Ou, Alexandros Tzannis, Eleni Koroneou Gallery, Athens, GR
2013  
DESTE Prize 13, DESTE Foundation, Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, GR Curator: Giogros Tzirtzilakis.
Contemporary Treasures, Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center, Athens, GR
Sensual Abstraction, ReMap 3, Athens, GR
2012
Garden of Eden, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, FR
Flying, Kunsterhaus Bethanien, Berlin, DE
Imaginary Cities, Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, GR
Oikea, Hydra School Projects, Hydra, GR . Curator: Dimitrios Antonitsis.
2011
The Beautiful is the First Degree of Terrible, State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, GR
Stranger in a Strange Land, Re-Map, Athens, GR. Curator: Apostolos Kalfopoulos.
Central Nervous System / Forgotten bar project, Art Cologne, Cologne, DE
Narcotica, Basel, CH
2010
Arrivals and Departures, Mole Vanviteliana, Ancona, IT
Paint ID, Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, GR
2009
Heaven, 2nd Athens Biennale, Athens, GR. Curator: Nadja Argiropoulou.
The First Image, Center Regional d’art Comtemporain, Languedic Roussilon, Sete, FR
2008
Auslander in Berlin, Citric Gallery, Brescia, IT
Quo Vantis, Autocenter Berlin, Berlin, DE
2007
Stranger Than Paradise, Charlotte Moser Gallery, Geneva, CH
Gegen den Strich, Kunsterhaus Bethanien, Berlin, DE
Topoi (Places), An Exhibition, an Approach, a Museum, a HistoryContemporary Art in Greece Through the Collections of the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Benaki Museum, Athens, GR
True Romance, The Breeder Gallery, Athens, GR

Website
Jason Faulter

©2021 Alexandros Tzannis

  • DESTE Prize

    DESTE Prize, 2013, Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, GR, installion view. Photo by Margarita Myrogianni. (Read more)

    (Read more)

    ASeriPHALTos

    THe LAST PoeT on THe RoAd
    Christoforos Marinos

    I am writing to you from an unknown, fairy village, where colors blend into a rainbow of houses, their facades adorned with circles and lozenges, with arrows and curves; I am writing from the heart of a great emblem, from streets where the houses are like playing cards for giants, reflecting the abstract dreams of an unknown mason; I am writing from a land of rose and ochre surrounded by dry hills where I have already forgotten the sea...
    Jacques Lacarrière, The Greek Summer, 1976 

    The hero of this exhibition is called ASeriPHALTos. He likes riding his bike across the seedy parts of town and bumping into friends in distress down subterranean bars in the small hours amidst black tears and post-punk vibes. Rarely does his instinct fail him, which is why he can so artfully steer clear
of switchbacks, bad booze, and trouble. As he wanders through the city’s streets his eyes linger on things that most people seem to take no note of: the low relief of burnt rubber on the asphalt; colored carvings on neoclassical facades; the trail of familiar animals and unfamiliar lives. Lately he seems to stumble repeatedly upon faces from the past, heroes of another age that is inextricably bound
to recollections of happiness he cannot do without. Though still a young man, he feels he is growing old, his memory slowly slipping away. He asks his parents about early romances and insistently begs for evidence, pictures in which he is seen posing with friends in places he briefly stayed at in the past. As in Solaris, the thought of an island called Serifos dominates his mind. As in the Seventh Continent, he mentally returns time and again to a familiar shore. Although everything seems to have changed irrevocably on that fateful day that saw the paving of the island’s old dirt-roads, Serifos still holds a special place in his heart. In many respects, the island seems to wield a magical power: to him and his work it is what Mont Sainte-Victoire was to Cézanne.

    Since his precious bike was stolen, and he was deprived of an invaluable tool in sharpening his vision, the hero of this exhibition has taken to walking more and reading more, and has gained a better perspective on time as a result, or maybe just a different one. In fact, what with everything that’s been going on in the city recently, this verse of Takis Sinopoulos’ seems to have lodged in his mind: ‘Come, let’s throw stones to drive the years on’. naturally, his work is not unaffected by this concern with time. no matter where he finds himself he makes a point of reaffirming his interest in time above all things. He recalls his summer holidays in Serifos of the early 90s as if those wild nights at the island’s bars were barely a day away, when he danced his way down the main dirt-road humming tunes like Shine and I Believe by the Anti-Troppau Council: it’s a small world with little hope / so when you say you come out of space I believe you... The surge of emotion he had experienced when he first laid eyes on the cover of their debut album A Way out (how could he not be overwhelmed by the neon green letters that sat
on that fuchsia background, a demonic figure emerging below from within a huge display cabinet filled with dozens of musical instruments?) can only compare to what he felt many years later when, while studying the visionary work of William Blake, he came upon an etching of a man desperately wanting to climb a wooden ladder to the moon – at least the caption, I want! I want!, suggests as much. Like the daring hero of that sketch, ASeriPHALTos never thought of Space, the planets, and stars as something external to this world: to him they are absolutely, palpably real; they are the world around him.

    The exhibition of which ASeriPHALTos is the hero makes a virtue out of obsoleteness and a necessity out of suggestiveness. We are reminded of the poet Elias Papadimitrakopoulos remarking of his decrepit car in equal doses of bewilderment and wonder that ‘it makes you drive it in an insane manner’. In like fashion the improbable, cryptic nature of the works in this exhibition privileges the enigmatic journey and unforeseen encounter. despite their futuristic qualities, ASeriPHALTos’ drawings are not really about the future: they are more of a Gateway to the past, to a world of youth and innocence, to the days of chance discoveries, an age when synthesizers, fluorescent lighting, and the electronic beat were sacred to the lives of teenagers. The same is true of his floor ceramic sculptures: these fast and effective magic carpets that fly vision into another realm of signs; these fossils that richly document the formlessness and bizarre beauty of the urban terrain.

    The hero of this exhibition would be very pleased with the end to this story: let us hope – provided, that is, we can put to creative use what little hope was always ours – that the day is not far now when Serifos will finally shake the asphalt off her, that it will reclaim its former glory, the aura of those early years when he first came to know and fall in love with her unparalleled dusty aspect.

    (Read more) Close
  • Black souls under white skies
    Black souls under white skies, 2017, installation view at State of Concept, wood, ceramics, resin, clothes , mirrors. Photo by Nissos Vassilopoulos
  • Untitled

    Untitled, 2012, installation view, Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre, Athens, GR, ink and biro on paper, iron, ceramic tiles, wood, magnets, 278 x 300 x 152 cm.

  • Love is a shot in the dark

    Love is a shot in the dark, 2018, detail, wood, ceramics, fabric, resin, found objects, carpet, katana sword, 400 x 300 x 100 cm. Photo by Panos Kokkinias.

  • Earthworks

    Earthworks (drawings of isolation), 2020, ink and ballpoint pen on print on 640gr fabriano paper

  • Two lamps, (with Lionel Esteve)

    Two lamps, (with Lionel Esteve), 2012, installation view, Bey Hammam, Archeological Site, Thessaloniki, GR, marker on glass, approximately 20 cm.Photo by Adrianna Glaviano. (Read more)

    (Read more)

    Alexandros Tzannis
    (Interviewer, Makis Malafekas)
    December 2012

    MM. The exhibition at Bey Hamam in Thessaloniki brings visitors/spectators face to face with, initially, a specific monument, a specific aesthetic part of our heritage, a specific historic and cultural point of reference. Passing through the stone arches of the old Ottoman Baths of Paradise, we infiltrate the magical-enchanting warmth of an entire lost world. What is the importance of a veue as phantasmagoric as this, at which you exhibit your work?

    AT. You are absolutely right. We are indeed talking about a lost world and, in my opinion, this is happening for two reasons. Firstly, due to the Hamam edifice itself; despite being in the centre of Thessaloniki, it feels like a cave, which, through its immense power, transports you to different historical and temporal worlds. Every narrow passage leads you to rooms with great vaulted ceilings, creating a sense of discovery. Thus, you yourself become, once more, a modern archaeologist.
    The second is the almost non-existent heritage of this style of architecture left behind in Greece. The ornamental wealth of the place –often hardly short of exaggeration – manages, in an almost magical way, to keep an incomparable balance, the result of which is a natural sensation of flowing calmness one feels as a visitor.
    We are discussing something built in 1444 AD, which, to this day, still retains some of its original decorative features; this means that the marble, stone, plaster, and water that has flowed over time, have created this heavenly and tranquil sensation that you yourself noticed.

    MM. In contrast to the prevalent trend of Postmodernism, which aspires to “break down” , to “sack” recognizable places of a classic identity, by staging in their interior perfunctorily iconoclastic reference points (the Louvre, Versailles, and others), you wanted to understand the basic essence of a Hamam through the materials and forms of your work. Tell us about this relationship.

    AT. From my first visit to the bath edifice two things were clear.
    Initially, that our exhibition with Lionel Estève would include some new works and that the architecture, decoration and overall atmosphere of the venue would affect the ones designated for it.
    My intention was to be in dialogue with the venue and at no point violently intervene (being well aware of how powerful it is), so that I might show my work in the best way possible. My main goal was for the decorative elements of the place, which, however, as a whole, manage to create an autonomous and poetic dimension - features that also exist in my work – similar to a large number of elements creating a cosmic universe. These Eastern decorative elements similar to complicated arabesques, have “quietened down” with time and multiple coats of paint creating the tranquillity radiated. I want my work to be viewed in the same way. That is to say, I want to retain the balance of the venue, placing my works so that they feel as if they had always been there.
    I would also like the exhibition to be experienced like a course by viewers: I want them to discover the place, as they walk through it and vice versa. A characteristic example is the “space-like” ceramic and its reversed relationship with the building's roof, or the relationships of the marble water vessels with the ceramic vases. We wanted to highlight elements of the hamam, to imagine them, and, in a way, extend and continue them.

    MM. As one proceeds into the exhibition, apart from the ceramics, the rocks and the rest of the installations, they see three large designs looming above, which are typical of your paintings. The idea of these abstract depictions – the forms of which can simultaneously refer to both hieroglyphic writing and science fiction illustrations - combined with the decoration of what is now a disarmed building create a feeling of an “archaeology of the future”. How is this feeling achieved?

    AT. What you are calling “archaeology of the future” may be the main core of my work. I believe it originates from the emotions aroused in me by almost every old thing that is lost, while, at the same time, it is also due to the energy created by my faith in the future. Knowing that progress is a subjective concept, this can sometimes be viewed as something conservative. But that is exactly how the futuristic elements of the work come about: the linear engraving, the cosmic forms akin to planets, as well as the neon lights on the handmade tiles and sculptures. The stones function in the same way, but they are ceramic and enamelled, the result of which – in combination with the lighting – makes them look like something between an earthly ore and a meteorite.
    At the current exhibition the venue is not merely decorative; instead, its elements enter the work itself. Not just the decorative apects but the atmosphere of the space itself. In my opinion, the example of the Blue work in pen strikes one as flowing water, like a basic element of the bath: a means of purification which simultaneously urges you to look at the sky.
    I have always believed in the sanctity of places and their memories and I am very happy I have been given the opportunity to hold an exhibition here with Lionel.
    In closing, I would like to say that, apart from the Science Fiction elements that these designs incorporate, in my opinion, they also are strongly influenced by Greek painters of the early 20th
    century, mainly Konstantinos Parthenis. This is apparent in the way lines, in relation to the decorative elements, ultimately create a hazy and foggy feeling.

    MM. If you look at contemporary art production and artistic trends in Greece as well as other countries you travel to (Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Brussels...), where would you place – based on your intentions – your work, the pieces you presented at Bey Hamam and elsewhere?

    AT. Knowing that at a global level this is not a time of artistic movements, but, as you correctly pointed out, a time of trends and general artistic production, what I do is definitely allow myself to be influenced, and, in some cases, to be actually involved in the core of such practices. Especially lately, while living in Greece, I am “trying” to incorporate in my work elements that have an intense effect on me and that surround me. As far as my latest work is concerned, my main intention was to speak about time, through an effort to remind people of things tending to be forgotten. This is given through the way I work – a slow and time-consuming process - as well as through the choice of ordinary production materials.
    It’s like having a small stop, a pause to remember and ponder on certain things.

    (Read more) Close
  • Earthworks

    Earthworks (drawings of isolation), 2020, ink and ballpoint pen on print on 640gr fabriano paper

  • Earthworks

    Earthworks (drawings of isolation), 2020, ink and ballpoint pen on print on 640gr fabriano paper

  • Untitled (two horizons)

    Untitled (two horizons), 2018, 250 x 152 cm, installation view at Cultural Centre of Municipality of Athens, ballpoint pen on paper, iron, magnets. Photo by Panos Kokkinias.

  • Wave

    Wave, after wave, after wave…, 2015, installation view, Dio Horia, Mykonos, GR.

    (Read more)

    Alexandros Tzannis
    (Interviewer, Makis Malafekas)
    December 2012

    MM. The exhibition at Bey Hamam in Thessaloniki brings visitors/spectators face to face with, initially, a specific monument, a specific aesthetic part of our heritage, a specific historic and cultural point of reference. Passing through the stone arches of the old Ottoman Baths of Paradise, we infiltrate the magical-enchanting warmth of an entire lost world. What is the importance of a veue as phantasmagoric as this, at which you exhibit your work?

    You are absolutely right. We are indeed talking about a lost world and, in my opinion, this is happening for two reasons. Firstly, due to the Hamam edifice itself; despite being in the centre of Thessaloniki, it feels like a cave, which, through its immense power, transports you to different historical and temporal worlds. Every narrow passage leads you to rooms with great vaulted ceilings, creating a sense of discovery. Thus, you yourself become, once more, a modern archaeologist.
    The second is the almost non-existent heritage of this style of architecture left behind in Greece. The ornamental wealth of the place –often hardly short of exaggeration – manages, in an almost magical way, to keep an incomparable balance, the result of which is a natural sensation of flowing calmness one feels as a visitor.
    We are discussing something built in 1444 AD, which, to this day, still retains some of its original decorative features; this means that the marble, stone, plaster, and water that has flowed over time, have created this heavenly and tranquil sensation that you yourself noticed.

    MM. In contrast to the prevalent trend of Postmodernism, which aspires to “break down” , to “sack” recognizable places of a classic identity, by staging in their interior perfunctorily iconoclastic reference points (the Louvre, Versailles, and others), you wanted to understand the basic essence of a Hamam through the materials and forms of your work. Tell us about this relationship.

    AT. From my first visit to the bath edifice two things were clear.
    Initially, that our exhibition with Lionel Estève would include some new works and that the architecture, decoration and overall atmosphere of the venue would affect the ones designated for it.

    My intention was to be in dialogue with the venue and at no point violently intervene (being well aware of how powerful it is), so that I might show my work in the best way possible. My main goal was for the decorative elements of the place, which, however, as a whole, manage to create an autonomous and poetic dimension - features that also exist in my work – similar to a large number of elements creating a cosmic universe. These Eastern decorative elements similar to complicated arabesques, have “quietened down” with time and multiple coats

    (Read more) Close
  • Rachael's Dream

    Rachael's Dream, 2019-20, ceramic, iron, mirrors, glass, photographs, resin, found objects

  • Earthworks

    Earthworks (drawings of isolation), 2020, ink and ballpoint pen on print on 640gr fabriano paper

  • BLA BLA BLACK

    BLA BLA BLACK installation view at Rebound club Athens 2019 ceramics, katana sword, iron, fabric

  • Studio view

    Studio view. Photo by Adriana Glaviano.

  • Blue-black layers over the white cities

    Blue-black layers over the white cities, 2016-2018. Installation view at Kunsthalle Lulea for Lulea biennale Tidal Ground. Ballpoint pen and ink on paper, iron, magnets.

  • I have no house only a shadow. But whenever you are in need of a shadow, my shadow is yours

     I have no house only a shadow. But whenever you are in need of a shadow, my shadow is yours, 2016, installation view, Oia Santorini, GR, handmade ceramic tiles, mirrors, dimensions variable. Photo by Panos Kokkinias.

  • Earthworks

    Earthworks (drawings of isolation), 2020, ink and ballpoint pen on print on 640gr fabriano paper

  • Blue-black layers over the white cities

    Blue-black layers over the white cities, 2016-2018. Installation view at Kunsthalle Lulea for Lulea biennale Tidal Ground. Ballpoint pen and ink on paper, iron, magnets.

  • Untitled

    Untitled, 2012, installation view, Bey Hammam, Archeological Site, Thessaloniki, GR, ceramic, neon light, dimensions variable. Photo by Adrianna Glaviano. (Read more)

    (Read more)

    Alexandros Tzannis
    (Interviewer, Makis Malafekas)
    December 2012

    MM. The exhibition at Bey Hamam in Thessaloniki brings visitors/spectators face to face with, initially, a specific monument, a specific aesthetic part of our heritage, a specific historic and cultural point of reference. Passing through the stone arches of the old Ottoman Baths of Paradise, we infiltrate the magical-enchanting warmth of an entire lost world. What is the importance of a veue as phantasmagoric as this, at which you exhibit your work?

    AT. You are absolutely right. We are indeed talking about a lost world and, in my opinion, this is happening for two reasons. Firstly, due to the Hamam edifice itself; despite being in the centre of Thessaloniki, it feels like a cave, which, through its immense power, transports you to different historical and temporal worlds. Every narrow passage leads you to rooms with great vaulted ceilings, creating a sense of discovery. Thus, you yourself become, once more, a modern archaeologist.
    The second is the almost non-existent heritage of this style of architecture left behind in Greece. The ornamental wealth of the place –often hardly short of exaggeration – manages, in an almost magical way, to keep an incomparable balance, the result of which is a natural sensation of flowing calmness one feels as a visitor.
    We are discussing something built in 1444 AD, which, to this day, still retains some of its original decorative features; this means that the marble, stone, plaster, and water that has flowed over time, have created this heavenly and tranquil sensation that you yourself noticed.

    MM. In contrast to the prevalent trend of Postmodernism, which aspires to “break down” , to “sack” recognizable places of a classic identity, by staging in their interior perfunctorily iconoclastic reference points (the Louvre, Versailles, and others), you wanted to understand the basic essence of a Hamam through the materials and forms of your work. Tell us about this relationship.

    AT. From my first visit to the bath edifice two things were clear.
    Initially, that our exhibition with Lionel Estève would include some new works and that the architecture, decoration and overall atmosphere of the venue would affect the ones designated for it.
    My intention was to be in dialogue with the venue and at no point violently intervene (being well aware of how powerful it is), so that I might show my work in the best way possible. My main goal was for the decorative elements of the place, which, however, as a whole, manage to create an autonomous and poetic dimension - features that also exist in my work – similar to a large number of elements creating a cosmic universe. These Eastern decorative elements similar to complicated arabesques, have “quietened down” with time and multiple coats of paint creating the tranquillity radiated. I want my work to be viewed in the same way. That is to say, I want to retain the balance of the venue, placing my works so that they feel as if they had always been there.
    I would also like the exhibition to be experienced like a course by viewers: I want them to discover the place, as they walk through it and vice versa. A characteristic example is the “space-like” ceramic and its reversed relationship with the building's roof, or the relationships of the marble water vessels with the ceramic vases. We wanted to highlight elements of the hamam, to imagine them, and, in a way, extend and continue them.

    MM. As one proceeds into the exhibition, apart from the ceramics, the rocks and the rest of the installations, they see three large designs looming above, which are typical of your paintings. The idea of these abstract depictions – the forms of which can simultaneously refer to both hieroglyphic writing and science fiction illustrations - combined with the decoration of what is now a disarmed building create a feeling of an “archaeology of the future”. How is this feeling achieved?

    AT. What you are calling “archaeology of the future” may be the main core of my work. I believe it originates from the emotions aroused in me by almost every old thing that is lost, while, at the same time, it is also due to the energy created by my faith in the future. Knowing that progress is a subjective concept, this can sometimes be viewed as something conservative. But that is exactly how the futuristic elements of the work come about: the linear engraving, the cosmic forms akin to planets, as well as the neon lights on the handmade tiles and sculptures. The stones function in the same way, but they are ceramic and enamelled, the result of which – in combination with the lighting – makes them look like something between an earthly ore and a meteorite.
    At the current exhibition the venue is not merely decorative; instead, its elements enter the work itself. Not just the decorative apects but the atmosphere of the space itself. In my opinion, the example of the Blue work in pen strikes one as flowing water, like a basic element of the bath: a means of purification which simultaneously urges you to look at the sky.
    I have always believed in the sanctity of places and their memories and I am very happy I have been given the opportunity to hold an exhibition here with Lionel.
    In closing, I would like to say that, apart from the Science Fiction elements that these designs incorporate, in my opinion, they also are strongly influenced by Greek painters of the early 20th
    century, mainly Konstantinos Parthenis. This is apparent in the way lines, in relation to the decorative elements, ultimately create a hazy and foggy feeling.

    MM. If you look at contemporary art production and artistic trends in Greece as well as other countries you travel to (Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Brussels...), where would you place – based on your intentions – your work, the pieces you presented at Bey Hamam and elsewhere?

    AT. Knowing that at a global level this is not a time of artistic movements, but, as you correctly pointed out, a time of trends and general artistic production, what I do is definitely allow myself to be influenced, and, in some cases, to be actually involved in the core of such practices. Especially lately, while living in Greece, I am “trying” to incorporate in my work elements that have an intense effect on me and that surround me. As far as my latest work is concerned, my main intention was to speak about time, through an effort to remind people of things tending to be forgotten. This is given through the way I work – a slow and time-consuming process - as well as through the choice of ordinary production materials.
    It’s like having a small stop, a pause to remember and ponder on certain things.

    (Read more) Close
  • Acropolis at the bottom

    Acropolis at the bottom, 2018, installation view, Athens School of Fine Arts, Athens, GR. Photo by Panos Kokkinias.

  • Studio view

    Studio view. Photo by Adriana Glaviano.

  • Acropolis at the bottom

    Acropolis at the bottom, 2018, installation view, Athens School of Fine Arts, Athens, GR. Photo by Panos Kokkinias.

  • I have no house only a shadow. But whenever you are in need of a shadow, my shadow is yours

     I have no house only a shadow. But whenever you are in need of a shadow, my shadow is yours, 2016, installation view, Oia Santorini, GR, handmade ceramic tiles, mirrors, dimensions variable. Photo by Panos Kokkinias.

  • Untitled

    Untitled, 2012, installation view, Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre, Athens, GR, ceramic tiles, wood, 300 x 152 x 15 cm.

  • BLA BLA BLACK

    BLA BLA BLACK installation view at Rebound club Athens 2019 ceramics, katana sword, iron, fabric

  • Rachel's dream

    Rachel's dream, 2019, studio view, ceramic, iron, Safex ashtray, origami paper, butterflies.

  • Clay Universe

    Clay Universe, 2012, installation view, Bey Hammam, Archeological Site, Thessaloniki, GR, ceramic, 40 cm. Photo by Adrianna Glaviano. (Read more)

    (Read more)

    Alexandros Tzannis
    (Interviewer, Makis Malafekas)
    December 2012

    MM. The exhibition at Bey Hamam in Thessaloniki brings visitors/spectators face to face with, initially, a specific monument, a specific aesthetic part of our heritage, a specific historic and cultural point of reference. Passing through the stone arches of the old Ottoman Baths of Paradise, we infiltrate the magical-enchanting warmth of an entire lost world. What is the importance of a veue as phantasmagoric as this, at which you exhibit your work?

    AT. You are absolutely right. We are indeed talking about a lost world and, in my opinion, this is happening for two reasons. Firstly, due to the Hamam edifice itself; despite being in the centre of Thessaloniki, it feels like a cave, which, through its immense power, transports you to different historical and temporal worlds. Every narrow passage leads you to rooms with great vaulted ceilings, creating a sense of discovery. Thus, you yourself become, once more, a modern archaeologist.
    The second is the almost non-existent heritage of this style of architecture left behind in Greece. The ornamental wealth of the place –often hardly short of exaggeration – manages, in an almost magical way, to keep an incomparable balance, the result of which is a natural sensation of flowing calmness one feels as a visitor.
    We are discussing something built in 1444 AD, which, to this day, still retains some of its original decorative features; this means that the marble, stone, plaster, and water that has flowed over time, have created this heavenly and tranquil sensation that you yourself noticed.

    MM. In contrast to the prevalent trend of Postmodernism, which aspires to “break down” , to “sack” recognizable places of a classic identity, by staging in their interior perfunctorily iconoclastic reference points (the Louvre, Versailles, and others), you wanted to understand the basic essence of a Hamam through the materials and forms of your work. Tell us about this relationship.

    AT. From my first visit to the bath edifice two things were clear.
    Initially, that our exhibition with Lionel Estève would include some new works and that the architecture, decoration and overall atmosphere of the venue would affect the ones designated for it.
    My intention was to be in dialogue with the venue and at no point violently intervene (being well aware of how powerful it is), so that I might show my work in the best way possible. My main goal was for the decorative elements of the place, which, however, as a whole, manage to create an autonomous and poetic dimension - features that also exist in my work – similar to a large number of elements creating a cosmic universe. These Eastern decorative elements similar to complicated arabesques, have “quietened down” with time and multiple coats of paint creating the tranquillity radiated. I want my work to be viewed in the same way. That is to say, I want to retain the balance of the venue, placing my works so that they feel as if they had always been there.
    I would also like the exhibition to be experienced like a course by viewers: I want them to discover the place, as they walk through it and vice versa. A characteristic example is the “space-like” ceramic and its reversed relationship with the building's roof, or the relationships of the marble water vessels with the ceramic vases. We wanted to highlight elements of the hamam, to imagine them, and, in a way, extend and continue them.

    MM. As one proceeds into the exhibition, apart from the ceramics, the rocks and the rest of the installations, they see three large designs looming above, which are typical of your paintings. The idea of these abstract depictions – the forms of which can simultaneously refer to both hieroglyphic writing and science fiction illustrations - combined with the decoration of what is now a disarmed building create a feeling of an “archaeology of the future”. How is this feeling achieved?

    AT. What you are calling “archaeology of the future” may be the main core of my work. I believe it originates from the emotions aroused in me by almost every old thing that is lost, while, at the same time, it is also due to the energy created by my faith in the future. Knowing that progress is a subjective concept, this can sometimes be viewed as something conservative. But that is exactly how the futuristic elements of the work come about: the linear engraving, the cosmic forms akin to planets, as well as the neon lights on the handmade tiles and sculptures. The stones function in the same way, but they are ceramic and enamelled, the result of which – in combination with the lighting – makes them look like something between an earthly ore and a meteorite.
    At the current exhibition the venue is not merely decorative; instead, its elements enter the work itself. Not just the decorative apects but the atmosphere of the space itself. In my opinion, the example of the Blue work in pen strikes one as flowing water, like a basic element of the bath: a means of purification which simultaneously urges you to look at the sky.
    I have always believed in the sanctity of places and their memories and I am very happy I have been given the opportunity to hold an exhibition here with Lionel.
    In closing, I would like to say that, apart from the Science Fiction elements that these designs incorporate, in my opinion, they also are strongly influenced by Greek painters of the early 20th
    century, mainly Konstantinos Parthenis. This is apparent in the way lines, in relation to the decorative elements, ultimately create a hazy and foggy feeling.

    MM. If you look at contemporary art production and artistic trends in Greece as well as other countries you travel to (Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Brussels...), where would you place – based on your intentions – your work, the pieces you presented at Bey Hamam and elsewhere?

    AT. Knowing that at a global level this is not a time of artistic movements, but, as you correctly pointed out, a time of trends and general artistic production, what I do is definitely allow myself to be influenced, and, in some cases, to be actually involved in the core of such practices. Especially lately, while living in Greece, I am “trying” to incorporate in my work elements that have an intense effect on me and that surround me. As far as my latest work is concerned, my main intention was to speak about time, through an effort to remind people of things tending to be forgotten. This is given through the way I work – a slow and time-consuming process - as well as through the choice of ordinary production materials.
    It’s like having a small stop, a pause to remember and ponder on certain things.

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  • Wait…there are some islands here and there

    Wait…there are some islands here and there, 2013, detail, DESTE Prize, Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, GR, handmade ceramic tiles.

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  • Blue-black layers over the city of light

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  • Wave

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  • Love is a shot in the dark

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