KOSTIS VELONIS | Marx in Arcadia

15.11.10 - 15.01.11

"It Comes Through the Shy Glance of the Moon, When Darkness Can Give the Brightest Light", 2005, wood, acrylic, felt, veneer, plaster, dimensions variable


Velonis’ work draws from a variety of sources like political theory, history of art and architecture and is a lengthy study and reflection upon the concept of the archive as a key tool for art and knowledge. In his 2009 show in the Hamburg Kunstverein entitled "How one can think freely in the shadow of a temple” Velonis re-examines issues of the modernist architectural tradition in relation to the radical aesthetics and theory of the avant-garde.

The current exhibition in AD gallery is a continuation of Velonis’ recent show in the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens and includes sculptures and drawings, which refer to moments that have left their mark on our history. In his works, however, references to historical forms do not seek to merely imitate earlier forms, nor to create a linear reading but aim instead to study the actual construction of history itself. Major events like the fall of the Eastern block, human alienation in the large urban centres and the practical failure of modern utopias in general, have caused a need for a re-thinking of history and of the authority that has been ascribed to the archive, which is no longer seen as neutral, transparent, unambiguous and true, but as an area of study in itself. In his oeuvre Velonis explores the ideologies behind the social and political structures of power and calls into question accepted knowledge in an effort to rescue utopian thought from the harsh reality of political practice.

On the first floor of the gallery, the visitor sees a sculpture entitled "Usine Occupée" a series of watercolors on paper and two more sculptures. The “Monument to Collective Utopia” and a work entitled "Reconstruction of the model of Vladimir Tatlin's monument to the Third International as an instrument of research for Domesticity". Velonis here examines the relationship between the domectic and revolution and contrasts the domination of collective utopias to personal dreams.

On the second floor of the gallery an earlier work entitled “It comes through the shy glance of the moon, when darkness can give the brightest light” (deriving from the ‘’La bohème est un pays triste’’ series) is shown, where the archetype of a Gothic temple in the moonlight, is connected to a pedestal on which a plaster ghost stands alone. This work refers to ideas such as the loneliness towards a monument, the failure of personal dreams and the subsequent break between private and public space.

The exhibition lasts until the 15th of January 2011.

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