The artist presents ‘Longitude & Latitude 24.5658 / 38.9068’
The City Hall of Skyros will be transformed into an exhibition center, between July - September 2017, hosting the work of a contemporary Greek artist who has created special ties with the island. Vassilis Karakatsanis will display a body of work he created over a two-year period (2016-2017) in an attempt to put together a visual record of the central Aegean island.
The exhibition is entitled ‘Longitude & latitude 24.5658 / 38.9068’, reflecting Skyro’s actual geographic location.
The exhibition is spread across the areas of the City Hall aiming not just to change the "impersonal" face of a public building by adorning its walls with fine art, but to mould values, and satisfy the desire for research, acceptance or rejection, creation and concern. The paintings are placed in the most unpretentious way, so as to integrate with the space and aesthetically stimulate the everyday life of employees, trading citizens and of' course visitors.
Over the past fourteen years Karakatsanis has spent long periods of time in Skyros. The space he inhabits there is small, like the majority of Skyrian houses, and constitutes a lesson in austerity, in terms both of everyday life and the artist’s way of thinking.
The need to capture on canvas the subject of “Skyros” had been on Karakatsanis’s mind for many years. The way he opted to do this was to avoid depicting things at face value, but rather to choose certain features of the location, folk tradition and the people; all this formed the emotionally charged and semantically sparse material of his landscape painting.
The end result is consistent with the artist’s work of previous years – On Wall (2002), Urban Details (2011), Carpets 2 (2015). It is the rendering of his intense emotional and experiential relationship with this particular exploration. One might describe it as a shifting through a plethora of features at his disposal, before selecting the ones he has portrayed in a limited number of paintings.
The exhibition was originally presented in Art Prisma Gallery of Piraeus, between April – May 2017, as part of the ‘Gallery Walk’ program created to run parallel with Documenta 14.
Athina Schina, art critic and art historian, writes about the exhibition:
“After-sensations” “Besides the experiences and memories one acquires from a certain place, there are also the after-sensations which emerge in time, as they are produced from a combination of impressions and observations, associations and correlations which concern the various ways in which the subconscious functions and processes information.
The place Vassilis Karakatsanis has chosen to define geographically and then elevate to another sphere through his imagination is none other than Skyros.
This Aegean island becomes, for the artist, the thread of Ariadne, allowing him to enter, absorb and artistically reshape elements from the interior of the place and the “self”, since both these parameters here are one and the same. Thus, Skyros’s geographical identity is translated into a correlation between mathematical and physical terms, which essentially demystifies it, transforming it, through these works, into a “geodesy” of sensations, dreamlike states and emanations from memory.
Vassilis Karakatsanis, being always internally consistent with earlier stages of his work, uses, in this group of works, a mixed and very personal morphoplastic vocabulary, which includes, besides his own established style, transformed elements of neo-fauvism, gestural lyrical abstraction, the dynamic gesture of expressionism and neo-pop culture.
Having chosen the method of hiking (whether real or imaginary) in order to make the island his own and then render it through the eyes of his mind and his heart, as well as through the memories that accumulated meanwhile, the painter, showing great inspiration, works with certain recognizable motifs, such as the typical rural shoes called “trochadia”, which are reminiscent of ancient Greek sandals. The “trochadia” also act as markers for measures, sizes and distances in the familiar yet eternally novel world of the island. Other reference motifs include the colors and shapes of Skyrian ceramics, and the roofs of houses with their grey, white and dark charcoal colors, which, through the artist’s psycho-emotional filters, emerge as paradoxical, rhythmical chessboards.
By transforming these years-long experiences and accumulated memories of his, Vassilis Karakatsanis creates works with vibrations, harmonious counterpoints, dynamic gestures and tensions, poetically adding his elegies and his longing for a dreamlike, and at the same time real, place, which will take him on a journey, as he himself, as a super-consciousness, is transformed in the here and there of utopia, always through the varied and multifaceted aspects of viewing, which also include its transcending.”
‘Longitude & Latitude 24.5658 / 38.9068’
Location: Skyros City Hall
Duration: 17 July - 15 September 2017
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday: 8:00-15:00 | Saturday & Sunday: closed