Paris Petridis. The Greek Cloud
14 Sep — 5 Nov 2016 at AD Gallery in Athens, Greece
AD Gallery presents Paris Petridis’ solo show entitled “The Greek Cloud”.
Since the Age of the Enlightenment western societies tend to evolve following an organized course towards the High (the Sublime). A High processed by the institutions taking into account both economic, political, technological and cultural achievements as well as the historical past. This route is imprinted in the urban landscape.
When the French president François Mitterrand was asked why funds of 15 billion French francs needed to be approved for a series of modern monuments, including the New National Library, he replied that these works would certify and symbolize France’s central role in art, politics and international economy in the end of the 20th century.
Certainly, the issue of building important monuments is never undertaken exclusively by the central institutions. The role of the private initiative has always been crucial in modern Greek history. The unregulated growth, however, creates a very strong visual impression that the important recent monuments fail to reverse.
Thus, the High depicted in Paris Petridis’ photographs is associated with the role of a “lost metropolis” in the creation of our contemporary imaginary.
This series of photographs captures the contemporary identity of the country as the latter is established by the close coexistence of contradictory fragments of different realities. The “low” of the chaotic misconception of modernism, the kitsch or the worthless collide not only with “high” forms of classical and Byzantine origin, but also with the values of tradition. The visual result upsets, distracts. Conveying different memories and meanings, these fragments of reality seem randomly arranged next to each other. However, it is precisely through this unstructured juxtaposition, with its tensions and cracks, that the promiscuous identity of the country emerges.
Thus, these photographs simultaneously acquire a surreal aspect as well as a precise realism, which brings to mind the art of collage of the 20’s. A collage that superimposes and shuffles fragments taken out of their “natural” context, in a quest for new identities that emerge through the transitory, the unexpected, the disparate, the incomplete. The art of collage has developed as a means of constructing “impossible images”, but at the same time as a means of critical representation of society. These elements are part of Petridis work, but in this case it is not the artist himself who makes the collage.
Through his glance a reality structured as a collage is being presented, whose deepest identity emerges not so much from the individual elements that compose it, but rather from its transpositions, contrasts and transitory equilibriums.