In a previous show presented at the gallery entitled Art in the Time of Collapse we attempted to explore how the period that preceded the collapse of economy and politics, the period when the tendency for the deconstruction of the social tissue became definite, was impressed in the artistic oeuvre. We also tried to get a feeling of the sort of images that the previous decade gave birth to and the way the latter was portrayed on them.
Firstly, it should be noted that the collapse caused the renewal of the visual vocabulary towards two directions; that of the counter-culture and that of the modernistic continuity. The difference of the second direction as opposed to the first lies primarily in the highlighting of the victim of the Central Conflict, of the defeated version of History as a carrier of hope for the renewal of institutions and culture. It lies also in the aversion to the narrative’s directness and in any relationship with the illustration and printed image, in the aversion to humor and challenge as a commenting value, in psychedelic approaches and in popular forms as a benchmark. In this direction the artists are not drawn away from History of Art as a basic reference framework.
In this exhibition entitled The Future Lies Behind Us we deal with this second direction. It consists of two parallel solo shows that enter into dialogue, that of the sculptor Kostis Velonis and that of the photographer Nikos Markou.
Both artists contemplate on the social reality and seek to highlight the need to restate the universal narrative in order for the Present to be connected with History. The individualism, both as a theory and as a practice, that disdains highlighting the basic characteristics of social structures and makes the narration itself resemble as quicksand, has no part in their work.
The most common form of self-knowledge, the knowledge of oneself through the observation of the other, holds a prominent position in the photographer’s work. Balzac’s declaration that “the depiction of life must be done scientifically in order to arrive at a comprehensive presentation and interpretation of social reality” seems to characterize his work.