A discussion with the artist Antonis Tsakiris about painting, films and his participation in the exhibition "Incidents IV" of Antonis and Azia Hadjiioannou (27.07-27.08.2013, Gallery of Cyclades, SYROS)
by Maria Perganti
-Observing the video "Off balance shot",where narration is connected to the news,but paintings as well,like "TV News Report" or "TV viewers",that focus thematically on the news,I'd like to ask you:What is your own "space" between the world of the news and the world of visual creation?
For the "Off balance shot" video,I took a camera to record the works for my archive,in order to have them recorded in a PC disc.But,as I'm interested in cinematic aesthetics,and I think that shows in my paintings,without realising it,the idea started being formed of having a kind of narration for the whole group of the works,which was presented in Athens a few months ago.One thing led to another and it ended up in the "Off balance shot",through the reading of a newspaper.The supposed news is-and is interpreted depending on the eyes that read it.To me,it is inexhaustible material for painting.It was done in a surrealistic mood,there never was a script,and it was completed scene by scene.The end of each scene led to the next.It took 3 months to complete it.The TV News reports-and the role they play (decisive)in the formation of the public opinion-always interested me,mainly because of the arbritrary character of each interpretation the recipients could give.In reality,I never painted a "News Report",let's say,in a descriptive mood,but approaching the potential effect it has on viewers.As bad as things are,it's disheartening to see an enraged person shouting at his TV set,threatening the screen.But we experience a general transition.We'll see much more.
-You created the 18-minute video,entitled "Off balance shot",where,using a personal narrative style,you also present some of the paintings,incorporating them in that narration.What is it you find interesting in animation and what do you find interesting in painting?
The speed,variety and alternation of images that are offered,are inconceivable.As a result,we miss the point,and therefore the news or the stimuli that matter,not only get the same attention as the unimportant ones,but they also go unnoticed.Whatever doesn't contain "blood",doesn't sell.We're talking about commerce.Painting enables you to concentrate on a scene,to analyse an image.The feline,following its instict,picks out its victim from the herd it hunts,that's how I try to distinguish whatever moves me,provokes meor anything else,and when I spot it and isolate it,I can "strip it to the bone"in my own time in the atelier.
-From the end of July,you will take part in the exhibition "Incidents IV',Works from Antonis and Azia Hadjiioannou Collection,Art Gallery of Cyclades,Syros.What will people visiting the exhibition see?
Art fans,and not only them,will have the opportunity to see a representative sample of contemporary,descriptive,anthropocentric painting of the last 30 years in Greece.Antonis and Azia Hadjiioannou,who,apart from their support to my work,honour me with their friendship,and their choices,few and substantial,create one of the most important collections of the kind,not only in Greece but abroad,as well.Some of the best painters of different generations will participate,and it is a great joy for me to co-exhibit with unique colleagues in the Gallery of Cyclades.The exhibition's title is a paraphrase of the poem of Giorgos Seferis "Incidents III".Incidents of which we become witnesses standing in front of the paintings,and IV because it's the fourth time that works of the Hadjiioannou Collection are presented to the public.This time in Syros(birthplace of the collector's father)and as part of the Syros-Culture institution,after Chania,Thessaloniki and Berlin.
-If somebody wants to talk to you,if they are interested in your work,where can they find you?
If they see something that interests them,they can come to the atelier and talk with the gallery I work with.
-What materials do you use in your works?
I mostly paint with oils.It is an amazing material,so ductile that it often causes new situations that take you elsewhere.I also use acrylics,fewer times though,mostly for larger surfaces,for some backgrounds.And I use ink a lot,without a draft,to maintain the privilege of surprise and enjoy the process.