Kalfayan Galleries (11 Haritos Str., Athens) present the solo exhibition of Kostis Velonis titled ‘Ghost Beggar’. It is the first exhibition, in which the artist is presenting works from all aspects of his artistic practice: sculptures, drawings on paper and paintings.
The historic figure of Pierrot, constantly transformed yet always imprisoned in his white look and feckless attitude, is the main inspiration for the sculptures, drawings and paintings exhibited in the show at Kalfayan Galleries. Known for his own passivity, Pierrot is akin to the nameless citizen who vanishes in the crowd. In this respect, the works function as dramatic exercises of introversion in the political realm. The rhetoric of whiteness introduces a dialogue about radical alterity, the absolute Other that may concern the Self as well. At this point, the theatrical figure of Pierrot, with the white powder on his face accentuated by the paleness of a non-radiant moon, becomes a vector of a wide array of references, from sculpture’s relation to the original meaning of the “clown” to its connection with the “clot” and the semiotics of white in fashion and clothing design.
The title of the exhibition is inspired by the appearance of beggars – dressed in white and with their faces painted white- at the central streets of Athens in late 2010. These figures, sad and still, wrapped in a white sheet, begged without the usual acrobatic skill of clowns and other street entertainers. Weakened, mournful and feckless, they ironically contributed to the tradition of Pierrot who strives for his own annihilation and wanders around like a ghost.
Kostis Velonis lives and works in Athens. He holds an MRes in Humanities and Cultural Studies from London Consortium (Birkbeck College, ICA, AA, Tate). He studied Arts Plastiques/ Esthétiques at Université Paris 8 (Maitrise,D.E.A). He earned his PhD from the Department of Architecture, N.T.U.A University of Athens. Through his work he emphasizes the contradictions that reside within the social dimension of freedom and the redefinition of ethics through domesticity. Recent exhibitions and residencies include among others: Cranbrook Art Museum, MI, USA; Belvedere 21, Vienna; Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart; Documenta 14, Fridericianum, Kassel; Antwerp - National Museum of Contemporary Art; Casa Maauad, Mexico. Padiglione Arte Contemporanea, Milan; Städtische Kunsthalle, Munich. Whitechapel Gallery, London; Museo Tamayo, Mexico. ΒOZAR, Brussels. Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourn et al. In 2017 NEON commissioned as part of the ‘City Project’, the solo show of Kostis Velonis titled ‘Puppet Sun’. In 2019 Velonis’ large scale installation titles ‘Life Without Tragedy’, which was commissioned and produced by Onassis Culture, was first exhibited at Astor Place (NY), as part of the ‘Onassis Festival 2019: Democracy is coming’ and then at Governors Island (NY). His work has been placed with important private and museum colelctions, and is on view currently as part of the permanent collection of the National Museum of Contemporray Art (EMST) in Athens.