New works by Yiannis Christakos
19thJan – 28thApril 2019
“Territory no longer precedes the map nor survives it. It is the
map that precedes the territory…that engenders the territory.”
Christakos’ work has never been so topical as it is now amongst this time of change, both Greece and the UK have found themselves in turbulent waters, at logger heads with the European Union while the ordinary citizens watch as the ‘big boys’ re-establish themselves within their globalized order.
Whilst sparking political debates he reacts with personal pain, his new paintings explore the territory of Personal-mapping and investigate the viability of the line as a medium, in relation to his practice. His work is informed by a wide variety of sources ranging from architectural drawings, city maps, and satellite pictures, computer graphics and stitching. Form and line are embraced with respect, reminding us of landscape, maps and routes, and explored through an inventive use of laceworks, cotton threads and strings.
Although these ‘mappings’ may be reminiscent of maps we have known they remain imaginary. They are pictorial collages, fragments of aerial land observations, layered under organic grids structured by a chaotic spinning line; these nets seem to emerge from the cells of his emotional and visual memories. This body of work employs a complex of imaginary symbols, stitching cartographical marks and fragments generating a macro and micro-topographies in drawing. The relationship to memory, emotion and personal lived experiences remains strong even if we consider these drawings solely as maps of imaginary lands or political ideologies.
‘On the wall above my desk hangs a large map entitled “The World”. It is the one I have studied for hours since my school years, the one that I used to imagine my exploratory trips; India, North and Latin America, USSR, Europe…
Since then more than three decades have passed. Although the outline of this “Map-form” remains the same with very little deformations, the content has radically changed. After the collapse of European and Soviet Communism, and the thawing of the Cold War, a new order of Mapping has sought to establish itself. With the physical and political fall of the Wall, the map we knew changed. New countries came into being; no more USSR, Yugoslavia, East Germany, Czechoslovakia.
In this last decade, millions of economical refugees from ex colonial countries from Africa and Asia abandoned their homelands to approach the “ex-enemy’s” land for a better life. More recently a wave of wretchedfamilies from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have attempted to enter Europe risking their children’s lives in make-shift vessels to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Their countries have been destroyed by Westernimperialism.
The power of Colonialism is taking a strange turn and so at the beginning of the twenty-first century, borders are shifting and changing again. Different cultures and geographic identities are formed by the increasing movement of forces due to the economic, political and social after war crisis, with globalized characteristics. The plan of a new-Charter follows the new political ethos. New countries are being established and cities are redesigned to accommodate the needs of new markets.
The effect of personal lives is multi-faceted, people around me are at a loss, dislocated, displaced, uprooted, neo-refugees, economic and political, to every kind of slave trade, broken personal stories, to deceitful and ephemeral identities, to paths of pain on a manmade-geographic map that is barbarically being changed.
The geography I examine in my work is that of a personal mapping, the geography of keening and wailing from the loss of hoped for ideologies and homelands.
No, this is not the World I dreamt of…’
Christakos studied Graphic Arts and Printmaking, at The University of Athens (1984-1988). He continued his studies at the School of Fine Arts at The Aristotelian University (1989-1994). He holds an MA in Fine Arts from University of East London (1997-1998) where he continued in doctorate level with a Doctorate in Fine Arts, (2003), with a scholarship from the Greek State Scholarships Foundation.
He is Assistant Professor at the University of Ioannina.
Christakos has an international art career having exhibited in 15 solo exhibitions and been involved in more than a 100 group shows. (Athens, London, N. York, Florida, Nicosia etc) His work can be found in a number of public and private collections in Greece, U.S.A, Germany, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Cyprus, U.K.