Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Weathered, 2017
Iron, ceramic, wooden clay, veneer
41 x 20 x 13 cm

Inscribed Vandalism: The Black Square at One Hundred

In October 1882, the poet Paul Bilhaud (1854–1933) exhibited a painting of a black square entitled A Battle of Negroes at Night (Combat de nègres pendant la nuit) at the first “Salon of Untethered Art,” of which he himself was the founder, in the Masonic artistic tavern The Black Cat in Paris. In subsequent Salons of Untethered Art—in Russian translation, a synonym for this phrase could be “cheeky art”—at the same venue, his friend and drinking companion, the writer and humorist Alphonse Allais, exhibited a monochrome white picture (1883) and then a red one (1884).
The derivative imitator Allais cut his masterpieces to a pattern invented by Bilhaud: an illustration was created for a rationally composed amusing phrase—the red rectangle was “Tomatoes being harvested by apoplectic cardinals on the shores of the Red Sea,” and the white one was “Anemic girls making their first communion in snowy weather.”1
Fifteen years later, in 1897, Alphonse Allais published his April 1 Album, dedicated to April Fools’ Day, with Paul Ollendorff’s publishing house.2 It included seven “magnificent plates” interspersed with texts by the author and publisher; they took the form of monochrome rectangles set in fanciful graphic frames above pompously solemn captions. First came a black rectangle, with a more prolix title than the original: A Battle of Negroes in a Cave on a Dark Night(a reproduction of a famous picture). Allais was obliged to provide the explanation in brackets, since he was not the originator of the jest. Later on, Allais “forgot” about Paul Bilhaud’s authorship (they had quarrelled), and he attributed the creation of A Battle to himself; this version has become firmly established in history.
More than a century later, in late 2015, the State Tretyakov Gallery in Russia revealed the results of an expert art-historical and technological analysis performed, using the very latest equipment, on a different painting of a black square. The analysis indicated that Kazmir Malevich’s The Black Square (1915) was the third composition to have been painted on this canvas: the first was a Cubo-Futurist work, and its colors were already dry when Malevich set an abstract composition on top of it. It was on this second layer, while it was still wet, that the artist painted The Black Square. The new analysis also turned up an inscription on the white margin of the Square: “A battle of negroes … [continuation illegible].” It wasn’t long before the authorship of these words was attributed to Malevich himself.

Text by Aleksandra Shatskikh
Journal #85 - October 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Dead Feathers Unfolded

Dead Feathers Unfolded, 2017
Wood, plywood, acrylic, oil
 93 x 166 x 192 cm

Το παγώνι

Γιάννης Κεφαλληνός, "Το Παγώνι" , 1946. Χαρακτικό για εικονογράφηση στο"Παγώνι" του Ζαχαρία Παπαντωνίου

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The social and cultural roots of whale and dolphin brains

Encephalization, or brain expansion, underpins humans’ sophisticated social cognition, including language, joint attention, shared goals, teaching, consensus decision-making and empathy. These abilities promote and stabilize cooperative social interactions, and have allowed us to create a ‘cognitive’ or ‘cultural’ niche and colonize almost every terrestrial ecosystem. Cetaceans (whales and dolphins) also have exceptionally large and anatomically sophisticated brains. Here, by evaluating a comprehensive database of brain size, social structures and cultural behaviours across cetacean species, we ask whether cetacean brains are similarly associated with a marine cultural niche. We show that cetacean encephalization is predicted by both social structure and by a quadratic relationship with group size. Moreover, brain size predicts the breadth of social and cultural behaviours, as well as ecological factors (diversity of prey types and to a lesser extent latitudinal range). The apparent coevolution of brains, social structure and behavioural richness of marine mammals provides a unique and striking parallel to the large brains and hyper-sociality of humans and other primates. Our results suggest that cetacean social cognition might similarly have arisen to provide the capacity to learn and use a diverse set of behavioural strategies in response to the challenges of social living.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Debate on Chimneys

Debate on Chimneys, 2017
Wood, plywood, ceramic, acrylic
128 x 48 x 131 cm

Man contemplating the expansion of the 20th century city, Athens

Man contemplating the expansion of the 20th century city, Athens, 1957. Credit: Benaki Museum, Costas Megalokonomou Archives

Unsung heroes of Athens cityscape

Builders, Housewives and the Construction of Modern Athens is a book for those of us who, blinded by the classical wonders of the Acropolis, have never given much thought to the nondescript cityscape below.
This is not about architect-led building design but an effort to understand the positives of Athens’ 20th century urbanism, warts and all. The heroes of the book are the polykatoikia – the prolific post-war apartment buildings that were built at impressive pace using reinforced concrete frames with masonry infill.
While their white facades, flat roofs and horizontal lines bore some similarities to the forms of modern architecture, these were, as author Ioanna Theocharopoulou points out, extremely simplistic versions. Polykatoikia differed from modern architecture in important ways. Not only did they lack the modern movement’s political and aesthetic agenda, they relied on informal ‘quasi-craft’ processes of construction and avoided innovation, precision and standardisation. Typically they had commercial uses on the ground floor with a marble lobby and staircase leading to a few floors of balconied apartments above. A roomier version was popular in middle and upper middle class areas, often with a maid’s room and a penthouse.
While there were exceptions, the design of this building type was the domain of the builder rather than an architect. It was, says Kenneth Frampton in the foreword,  ‘built for the people, of the people, by the people’.
These were ultra-desirable as symbols of modern city living, especially when combined with the then groundbreaking domestic appliances. This was lifestyle living, 1960s style, that represented progress, optimism and access to ‘the good life’.
The book sets polykatoikia firmly in the context of the preceding century as well as the strife of war and civil unrest of the 20th, and the densification and expansion of Athens. We learn how home ownership swelled as these apartments were constructed as joint ventures between developer and landowner. Typically this involved replacing 19th century neoclassical villas that had gone firmly out of fashion, with the landowner donating the land in exchange for a few units in the new development. In time, the migrant tradespeople working on the developments would become those buying the apartments.

There was a culture of ‘craftiness’ with regard to construction, with the 1955 Building Code legalising existing illegal construction and itself prone to amendments and deviations. Self-built humble dwellings on the city outskirts in time became ‘up-lifted’ to larger buildings as their rural immigrant owners  acquired the money to build polykatoikia and become landlords themselves. Here, the author draws links with the work of Alejandro Aravena’s Elemental practice today in designing homes that facilitate incremental construction and expansion.
Rather more interesting, to me at least, is the account of the social dimension of the polykatoikia and their representation in popular culture. Photos show women involved as labourers in the construction of the apartments but it was inside that they really held sway as interior stylists and consumers. Of course they were still doing all the housework, even if they did now wear a mini-skirt and wield an ultra-modern vacuum cleaner. Men, we learn, might have their own ‘masculine corner’ or room where they could relax in a comfortable leather armchair. Some might even have their own bachelor pad apartment.
Polykatoikia were important as representing a new idea of modern life and of Greek identity, and in doing so, says Theocharopoulou, blurred the previously separate realms of ‘informal/formal, local/foreign, traditional/modern’.
This informative – although sometimes a little dense – book closes with a look at some of the more innovative, recent architect-designed polykatoikia buildings and consideration of how a new generation of civic minded urban activists are responding to Greece’s financial crisis and huge influx of refugees. Some are renovating abandoned polykatoikia as housing, proving once again the resilience and adaptability of these buildings. Faced with such economic and social challenges, Athens needs the resourcefulness, wit and economy of means that this unlauded building type embodies. 

Text by Pamela Buxton

Builders, Housewives and the Construction of Modern Athens by Ioanna Theocharopoulou, foreword by Kenneth Frampton, Artifice

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Turmoil of the Blue

Turmoil of the Blue, 2017
Iron, wool fabric

133 x 157 x 155 cm

Historiosophical Scheme

Andrei Bely, Historiosophical Scheme, Tcikhis -Dziri, Georgia,1927
Watercolor, ink, pencil on paper

From Doxiadis’ Theory to Pikionis’ Work: Reflections of Antiquity in Modern Architecture

In this book, Tsiambaos redefines the ground-breaking theory of Greek architect and town planner Constantinos A. Doxiadis (The Form of Space in Ancient Greece) and moves his thesis away from antiquity and ancient architecture, instead arguing that it can only be understood as a theory founded in modernity. 
In light of this, the author explores Doxiadis’ theory in relation to the work of the controversial Greek architect Dimitris Pikionis. This parallel investigation of the philosophical content of Doxiadis’ theory and the design principles of Pikionis’ work establishes a new frame of reference and creates a valuable and original interpretation of their work. Using innovative cross-disciplinary tools and methods which expand the historical boundaries of interwar modernism, the book restructures the ground of an alternative modernity that looks towards the future through a mirror that reflects the ancient past.
From Doxiadis’ Theory to Pikionis’ Work: Reflections of Antiquity in Modern Architecture is fascinating reading for all scholars and students with an interest in modernism and antiquity, the history and theory of architecture, the history of ideas and aesthetics or town planning theory and design

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Hannah Arendt et "atomisation de la société"

1996 | Analyse critique de la conception du totalitarisme selon Hannah Arendt. Claude Lefort, philosophe qui a notamment réfléchi sur le totalitarisme, remet en cause la distinction d'Arendt entre le social et le politique, rejetant ainsi les termes d'"atomisation de la société".

Ωδὴ Δεκάτη. Ὁ Ὠκεανός (απόσπασμα)

Εἶπε· κ᾿ εὐθὺς ἐπάνω
εἰς τὰς ροᾶς ἐχύθη
τοῦ Ὠκεανοῦ, φωτίζουσα
τὰ νῶτα ὑγρὰ καὶ θεία,
πρόφαντος λάμψις. 115

Ἀστράπτουσι τὰ κύματα
ὡς οἱ οὐρανοί, καὶ ἀνέφελος,
ξάστερος φέγγει ὁ ἥλιος
καὶ τὰ πολλὰ νησία
δείχνει τοῦ Αἰγαίου. 120

Πρόσεχε τώρα· ὡς ἄνεμος
σφοδρὸς μέσα εἰς τὰ δάση,
ὁ ἀλαλαγμὸς σηκώνεται·
ἄκουε τῶν πλεόντων
τὸ ἔια μάλα. 125

Σχισμένη ὑπὸ μυρίας
πρῴρας ἀφρίζει ἡ θάλασσα,
τὰ πτερωμένα ἀδράχτια
ἐλεύθερα ἐξαπλώνονται
εἰς τὸν ἀέρα. 130

Ἐπὶ τὴν λίμνην οὕτως
αὐγερινὰ πετάουσι
τὰ πλήθη τῶν μελίσσων
ὅταν γλυκὺ τοῦ ἔαρος
φυσάῃ τὸ πνεῦμα· 135

Ἐπὶ τὴν ἄμμον οὕτω
περιπατοῦν οἱ λέοντες
ζητοῦντες τὰ κοπάδια,
τὴν θέρμην τῶν ὀνύχων
ἔαν αἰσθανθώσιν· 140

Οὕτως ἐὰν τὴν δύναμιν
ἀκούσουν τῶν πτερύγων
οἱ ἀετοί, τὸ κτύπημα
τῶν βροντῶν ὑπερήφανοι
καταφρονοῦσι. 145

Πεφιλημένα θρέμματα
Ὠκεανοῦ, γενναία
καὶ τῆς Ἑλλάδος γνήσια
τέκνα, καὶ πρωτοστᾶται
Ἐλευθερίας· 150

Χαίρετε σεῖς καυχήματα
τῶν θαυμασίων (Σπετζίας,
Ὕδρας, Ψαρῶν,) σκοπέλων,
ὅπου ποτὲ δὲν ἄραξε
φόβος κινδύνου. 155

Κατευοδοῖτε! - Ὁρμήσατε
τὰ συναγμένα πλοῖα
ὦ ἀνδρεῖοι· σκορπίσατε
τὸν στόλον, κατακαύσατε
στόλον βαρβάρων. 160

Τὰ δειλὰ τῶν ἐχθρῶν σας
πλήθη καταφρονήσατε·
τὴν κόμην πάντα ὁ θρίαμβος
στέφει τῶν ὑπὲρ πάτρης
κινδυνευόντων. 165

Ὦ ἐπουράνιος χεῖρα!
σὲ βλέπω κυβερνοῦσαν
τὰ τρομερὰ πηδάλια,
καὶ τῶν ἡρῴων ἡ πρώραι
ἰδοὺ πετάουν. 170

Ἰδοὺ κροτοῦν, συντρίβουσι
τοὺς πύργους θαλασσίους
ἐχθρῶν ἀπείρων· σκάφη,
ναύτας, ἱστία, κατάρτια
ἡ φλόγα τρώγει· 175

Καὶ καταπίνει ἡ θάλασσα
τὰ λείψανα· τὴν νίκην
ὕψωσ῾, ὦ λύρα· ἂν ἥρωες
δοξάζονται, τὸ θεῖον
φιλεῖ τοὺς ὕμνους. 180

Ανδρέας Κάλβος

Friday, October 6, 2017

Puppet Sun

Puppet Sun, 2017
75 x 24 x 20 cm
Marble, wood, acrylic, iron base

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Rocking Bull

Jan Järlehed for BRIO "Rocking Bull", 1967

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Το κίνημα αναβίωσης της βυζαντινής (λαικοβυζαντινής) παράδοσης στις αστικές εφαρμοσμένες τέχνες την περίοδο του μεσοπολέμου

Ανάτυπο από τον τόμο
«Β΄ Επιστημονικό Συμπόσιο Νεοελληνικής Εκκλησιαστικής Τέχνης
(Βυζαντινό και Χριστιανικό Μουσείο, 26-28 Νοεμβρίου 2010)

Ευφροσύνη Ρούπα

Monday, October 2, 2017

Work D

Ei-Kyu: Work D, 1937

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Πλατεία Ομόνοιας: από τον χώρο στις λέξεις

Φύλλο της εφημερίδας Εθνοφύλαξ: ‘Ομόνοιας ανάγκη έχομεν’ (20.10.1862)

Δεν είμαι σίγουρος αν πρέπει (και γω) να προσποιηθώ πως δεν ξέρω τίποτα για την Ομόνοια. Υποθέτω για αρχή πως, ως λέξη -όνομα κοινό– η ομόνοια σίγουρα κάθεται στριμωγμένη ανάμεσα σε άλλες λέξεις, στις σελίδες των λεξικών και εκεί βρίσκει το νόημά της ξανά και ξανά κάθε που μιλιέται ή γράφεται. Αντίστοιχα, ως κύριο όνομα, όνομα πλατείας πιο συγκεκριμένα, γνωρίζω με σιγουριά πως υπάρχει σε καταλόγους, σε χάρτες πόλεων και σε πινακίδες στις γωνίες κτηρίων, σημειώνοντας ειδικά τον τόπο που ορίζει (εικόνα 1) –σε υπόμνηση (ίσως) κάποιας αρχαίας θεότητας (πίνακας 1). Κατ’ επέκταση, η πλατεία Ομόνοιαςστην Αθήνα και η Place de la Concorde στο Παρίσι, αν και δύο διαφορετικοί τόποι, μοιράζονται, εκτός από το ίδιο όνομα, και το πρόθεμα ‘πλατεία’ που περιγράφει με τη σειρά του μία θέση στην πόλη. Η πλατεία Ομόνοιας συνεπώς, εμφανίζεται να παλινδρομεί ανάμεσα στη συνθετική ερμηνεία των δύο αυτών λέξεων, υποστηρίζοντας κατ’ αρχάς μία συλλογική ταυτότητα κοινή, και στην καθημερινή εμπειρία της που αναπόφευκτα διαφεύγει διαρκώς υπερβαίνοντας κάθε υπόθεση σημειολογικής ταύτισης, ή περίπου. Από αυτή τη σκοπιά οι δύο αυτές πλατείες είναι ως σημεία ομόλογα. Μεταπηδούν χωριστά από λέξη σε χώρο και τόπο αλλά και αντίστροφα, όπως θα έλεγε ο Σερτώ, και ενώ ταυτίζονται λεξιλογικά, ταυτόχρονα αποκλίνουν καθώς γράφουν αδιάκοπα διαφορετικούς μετασχηματισμούς της πόλης πάνω τους. Είναι δύο δημόσιοι ανοιχτοί χώροι για τη συνάθροιση ατόμων που συναινούν ή που συναίνεσαν κάποτε σε κάτι με σύμφωνο νου. Πλατεία Ομονοίας · κύριο όνομα ‘όνομα και πράμα’.

Φάνης Καφαντάρηςάρθρο/ομόνοια-concorde/