Nitra Gallery in Athens presents a selection of works by the photographer Stratos Maragos of his series Minus Two (-2). This project was also exhibited in The Finish Museum of Photography in Helsinki as part of Belonging to the Story exhibition in the context of the Transeurope Project.
-2, two levels underground in the hospital in which Maragos works as a chemist, is t where precious medical records of patients are stored, among abandoned instruments, useless materials, and all the items and apparatuses the departments relinquish.
There are several stories about -2: thieves that have been hidden or hide their loot there, homeless and immigrants who find shelter, rodents and insects that inhabit the place. -2 has been flooded several times and many records have been destroyed. Personnel visit reluctantly, almost with fear and never alone.
Through this project, Maragos is not interested in presenting what -2 really looks like. Instead, he wishes to evoke the atmosphere of a place infused with mystery and secrecy. Maragos photographs not only the archives that have been deposited there but also things that have been found or are related to this place. It seems that -2 serves more as a passageway before the total destruction of these materials rather than as a place where they are temporarily stored and hidden in a state of stasis.
Waiting for their inevitable fate of becoming pulp, these archives are open to future interpretation. The nostalgic impulse toward the abandoned medical records arouses not only the slight possibility that these documents could belong to a beloved person but our compulsive desire to rescue them and, through them, our own existence—by preventing forgetfulness and stopping the disappearance of things. Even though for those who have passed away, their medical records are what remain.
Stratos Maragos is a photographer and a biochemist. He lives and works in Athens. He studied photography at Stereosis in Thessaloniki. Since 2016 he has been taking photography courses at the Athens School of Fine Arts. He has attended courses and workshops amongst which with Alec Soth, Anders Petersen, JH Engstorm, Depression Era, Dust Breeding Lab and Transeurope.
His project Lucid Dream was presented in Thessaloniki Photobiennale Logos (2014). In 2019, his project Minus Two (-2) was exhibited in The Finish Museum of Photography in Helsinki as part of Belonging to the Story exhibition and in Photometria Festival, Greece and were later presented as part of his solo show at Nitra Gallery in Athens.