Alexandros Alekidis | Prodromos Charalambidis | Angelos Merges
“… Chromophobia manifests itself in the many and varied attempts to purge colour from culture, to devalue colour, to diminish its significance, to deny its complexity»*
Nitra Gallery welcomes Summer by presenting the first solo show of ACHT! Project (Alexandros Alekidis, Angelos Merges, Prodoromos Charalambidis), a collective that was created during lockdown.
Core to their practice is thee element of color, which over time has tended to be treated as secondary, superficial, primitive and even dangerous. In Western culture, color was often associated with the notion of primitive and instinctive, that is, one that can express the provocative or even the vulgar. At the same time, in the opposite of the perception that color sets as something “revolutionary grotesque”, there is the habit of treating color as a “foreign body”, of secondary importance, which comes to “make up” the work of art, in order to beautify it and therefore making it unworthy of any serious involvement with it.
In modern society, color often deviates from the artistic norms of the time and is excluded from the higher expressive values of Western culture. This is because qualitatively color may be treated as belonging to a “discounted” culture that does not feed the highest concerns of the Mind and the higher values of the western world. This is a prejudice from which the modern age does not seem to have managed to get rid of. Such thoughts are usually cultivated by reasoning familiar to all of us, such as that of “commercial art”. Today, this term appears inextricably linked to the “color” of a work, which the richer it is incorporated by the artist, the more “decorative” or “superficial” it is treated by the viewer.
ACHT! (in German it means CAUTION!) through their painting want to motivate the viewer to reconsider the image, to discover its codes and to challenge the stereotypical perception that exists about color. Taking a step away from their personal artistic style and obsession, they use color rewardingly, trying to redefine its use with their own collective touch. In times when individualism, self-criticism and loneliness prevail, a new groupness is proposed, provoking the imagination.
The exhibition “Chromophobia” at Nitra Gallery, is the first exhibition of the ACHT! Group, created by three artists and friends during the quarantine. The name came from the first letters of Amfissa, Chios, Thessaloniki which are the hometowns of the artists. The indirect reference to the COBRA group (Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam), wants to comment on the marginalized role of Greece as a small provincial art scene in European and International events.
Starting with the use of saturated colors as well as the stimuli that result from the screen culture, ACHT! raise the question of whether computer technology has penetrated one of the most traditional branches of Art, Painting. Having grown up alongside with the rapidly evolving digital technology, its assimilation becomes evident on the canvas. In practice they use both the screen as a ‘model of observation’ and the tools and effects commonly found in basic digital painting programs. The impact of the digital age is evident in their compositions and gestures, as well as in the resulting painting qualities. Through discussion and a willingness to explore with materials and forms, they try to tackle quarantine isolation in the post-COVID era.
Last but not least and on the occasion of the exhibition at Nitra Gallery, ACHT! would like to thank Mr. Georgios Vogiatzoglou for providing a studio in Building 1, an integral part of the Vogiatzoglou Gallery, for the entire period of quarantine.
* David Batchelor, excerpt from Chromophobia, London: Reaktion, 2000, p. 22-23.
Alexandros Alekidis was born in Athens in 1988 and has grown up in Amfissa. He got into Athens School of Fine Arts in 2013 achieving the first position and graduated with honors. He has participated in many group exhibitions in Athens and Amfissa. He was awarded in 9th Student’s Biennale of Greek Art Universities in 2019. His works can be found in significant private collections in Greece. He lives and works in Athens.
Prodromos Charalampidis was born in Thessaloniki in 1987 and has graduated from the Athens School of Fine Arts in 2020. He has participated in 22 group exhibitions in Athens, Thessaloniki and Amfissa. He has won the award for the “Artist Book”, with jury Mr. Christopher Hudson, publisher of MoMA in 2018 and the award “150 years of Greek Railways”, from OSE Museum in 2019. His works can be found in private and public collections in Greece and Cyprus. He lives and works in Athens and Nicosia.
Angelos Merges, who is of Greek and Swiss origin, was born in Chios in 1989 and has been living in Athens since 2007. He graduated from Technological Education Institute of Piraeus as a Civil Engineer in 2013 and from the Athens School of Fine Arts, specializing in Painting, in 2020. He has had 2 solo exhibitions: «World’s Material» (Melanithros art space, 2018) and «Family of Man» (ASFA, 2020) and has taken part in many group exhibitions in Athens, Patra, Xanthi and Florina. He has won the award “150 years of Greek Railways” from OSE Museum in 2019. His works can be found in private and public collections in Greece and Cyprus
In 2019, Alexandra Roussopoulos has co-authored with Callisto Mc Nulty and Géronimo Roussopoulos the film « Delphine et Carole » directed by Callisto Mc Nulty. It was selected at the Berlinale Forum 2019 and has been awarded many prizes : SFCC, Syndicat français de la Critique de Cinéma, Television Prize for best documentary (France), the National Group of Research Cinemas Prize (France), Grand Prix de Genève of the FIFDH, Festival du Film et Forum International sur les droits humains (Switzerland), Public award of the Festival de Films de Femmes de Créteil (France), Etoile de la Scam (France).