Not that Paris Giachoustidis needs to be introduced; the graduate of Weissensee Art School and 2017 winner of the Haus am Kleistpark’s Art Prize is a fixture on Berlin’s art scene, an active one at that. Yet although we’ve encountered him and his work in all kinds of scenarios, we still keep scratching our heads. One senses a kind of nervous energy beneath the surface, an anarchist, rebellious element that makes looking at his art like eating a pretty muffin and suddenly biting on stone.
What is it that keeps viewers of his work on their toes? Is it simply the images he collects from the digital environment, giving them new life? Or is it his brilliant, casually executed technique, his shrewd destructive skills? We confess Giachoustidis is still a bit of a conundrum to us.
In Greek mythology, Hecuba, the mother of Paris, dreams that she gives birth to a flaming torch. We let that image sit with you as Giachoustidis prepares for an exhibition alongside Irina Ojovan and Johannes Daniel at Gallery Russi Klenner. And then, with Ithaka in mind, go experience Giachoustidis’ burning energy for yourself.
Which of these elements (space, air, fire, water, earth) would you choose in relation to your practice and/or yourself, and why?
First of all, space; secondly water, water, water. My connection with stars and space is something I can’t explain in words. I find myself observing the dark sky almost in a meditative state.
At those moments of silence, I find time to hide myself without thinking of anything or making any plans.
My observation of the sky is the time when I’m naked.
It’s almost impossible for it not to be a part of my work. We wake up, we make breakfast with eggs and coffee, we buy a newspaper, and the elevator is broken… and all this at the same time as a meteorite is crashing into a random planet out of our solar system. That’s crazy isn’t it?
As for water, I’ve chosen this element because I’m Scorpio.
Is there a particular artwork or situation that inspired you to become an artist?
Although I never got inspired by books on how to paint or draw, they made me critical about choosing the right themes, wondering why some themes are more important to others and why I don’t do art just for me but for the others as well.
Doing art is the best way of expressing myself. As a kid I had difficulties expressing myself with words.
Art enables you to share information that doesn’t have to be useful, which is such an inspiring thing.
It’s like nature. Nature gives us so much information but we only choose the bits that enable us to create a faster car or cash machine or Facebook app.
Do you consider yourself spiritual and how does this feed into your work?
I’m a practical spiritual. What spiritualism does to my work is something the viewer can’t see. Spirituality comes during the process of work, and is not what I seek to express in the final result. Every artist has a different way of creating.
For me, painting is more than to setting a brush on canvas.
It’s choosing the right place to do it, it’s preparing the colours to make your own pallet and cleaning the space after you finish. It needs discipline even if you are an anarchist.
Is there a book or author that stimulates and inspires you?
There are different kinds of books. There are books I read when I see a painting, for example ”de Profundis” by Oscar Wilde.
On the other hand there’s ”Six Easy Pieces” by Richard p. Feynman, which conjures up so many images of atoms dancing together when I boil water to make tea.
If I have to say something about my artistic stimulation, then it cannot be anything else than:
“Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her, you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
BY C. P. CAVAFY
Please tell us what you are currently working on!
It is quite typical for an “internet native” like me for large parts of my life to be influenced by internet technology.
That influences my art as well.
I work on chunks of information or images from social media.
Emotions captured in my work are usually not personal but stem from other people.
I’m not trying to understand them or to directly comment on them; the process of appropriation ends with showing my perspective or in superimposition with other emotions. This distance between me as artist and the contents of my paintings and drawings allows me to merge realistic and idealistic perspectives in one work, both technically and subjectively.
And this prepares the stage for playful and humoristic elements.
I prefer to pose questions about our society, life as a couple or our self-presentation in society, whether this be in Berlin or in the “naïve” societies I have trained my telescope on over the past three years.
My ambition is to create my own universe of aesthetics, to question classic viewing habits and street art gestures and combine them to create something new but somewhat familiar for our eyes.
Paris Giachoustidis | Irina Ojovan | Johannes Daniel
Opening: November 22nd, 7 pm
Exhibition: November 23rd until Januar 4th 2020
Galerie Russi Klenner | Luckauerstr. 16 | 10969 Berlin
Header Image: Paris Giachoustidis, Frau Referee, 60x80cm, Acryl, Bleistift und Sprühfarbe auf Papier, 2019
Author: Esther Harrison