This is my property
curated by Alexandra Athanasiadou
This is my property. A phrase heavily loaded with a sense of entitlement, even though it is nothing but fragile. It is this ambivalence that is being explored in the new works by Theodoros Zafeiropoulos, using as a springboard the limits constructed, either by barbed wires and edifices or by drawing lines on a map. In this manner instead of addressing the issue of property head-on, Zafeiropoulos works from the boundaries inwards, as he focuses on elements existing outside the urban landscape, formulating a contour to delineate it.
The images show ways of defining property, be it individual, national or historical. Facing this wide spectrum it is understood that the idea at stake is that of legitimacy. In certain cases the question is direct, in some suggestive, and in others metaphorical.
Every work depicts a certain place. In order for the viewer to discover it, all he has to do is follow the Google Maps co-ordinates accompanying each title. So there is a twofold game taking place here between the analog representation of the place as suggested by the image itself and the digital information offered by the satellite.
In this manner, according to the ‘reading’ applied, the viewer is directed to a different place and subsequently towards another aesthetic experience. Following this, one may see that the reeds operate as a natural border at the tri-national zone of the Great Prespa lake; the train hub is located in Eidomeni; the barb-wired fence encloses an ancient site in Pella; the bunker built under the Hodja regime as well as the contemporary pharaonic villa are located in Albania; the rocky island is no other than Imia, while the decrepit cement fence is part of the borders of Mount Athos.
The issue though is not approached only through the representation of information but through the construction of the image itself, which remains consistent to the rest of Zafeiropoulos work. The works are constructed with the use of different visual media (documentary photography, digital UV prints, painting, assemblages). Yet this time, instead of creating multiple layers, he blends the qualities of different visual vocabularies and manages to demonstrate the tensions which occur inside the image.
This practice is organically linked to his intention, as it allows him to explore and at the end show the volatile nature of legitimacy. The materiality is as important as the conceptual aspect of the images, since every aesthetic decision alludes to the reflective trajectory he marks while he progresses his composition. The scenery and the ephemeral elements it includes are painted and recreated, while the man-made constructions (at least on a first level) appear as realistically as possible with the use of photography. Once that is done, the image is changed once again with the intervention of a ‘manual photoshop’, as the he himself describes it. These practices place his work in a post-photographic condition, in a moment where the image in this saturated visual environment has become more than ever a field of experimentation, a tool of appropriation. The viewer is confronted with a hybrid representation which questions the familiar rules of categorization and reception. In this frame the image ‘naked’ from a specific viewing setting (the unframed images actually demonstrating the gesture) demands from the viewer time, attention and the necessity of taking a pause.
Besides the phrase this is my property is stated with the same certainty from both sides, leading most of the time to a dead-end climax, as shown by the video installation which can be understood as the beginning or the end of the exhibition. An immaterial image is juxtaposed with the multilayered materiality of the rest of the images to show through the indiscernible movement on the surface of the swamp those subtle nuances which shift our perceptual field. The question then turns to us and makes us wonder what in the end is truly ours.
Born in 1978. He graduated with honors from the School of Fine Arts, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2003). He participated in the Erasmus program in the University of Barcelona (2001). He graduated with honors from the MFA program of the School of Fine Arts in Athens (2006). He graduated and was honored with the Paula Rhodes Memorial Award from the MFA program of the School of Visual Arts, New York, USA as recipient of the Fulbright, Gerondelis and Al.Onassis Foundations scholarships (2009). He participated in the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture(2009). He received his PhD from the School of Architecture, University of Thessaly and since 2001 he has presented 8 solo shows and has participated in more than 50 international group shows, residencies, and projects in Greece, USA, and elsewhere. He received commissions to create site-specific installations in many institutions and Foundations including the Morton Arboretum in Lisle Illinois, USA, the Museum of Civil Aviation in Athens, and many more. His artworks are part of many public and private collections in Greece, Switzerland, London, USA, and elsewhere. Articles and reviews of his works have been published in many Greek and international magazines, newspapers, and web-media. In 2013 he was resident artist in the Flux Factory in NYC and the USF residency program in Bergen, Norway. In 2013 he was selected to represent Greece in the 16th Biennale of European and Mediterranean Young Artists entitled Errors Allowed, in Ancona, Italy. In 2014 he participated in the Photo Biennale of the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography and in 2017 he was invited to the Biennale of Young Artists in Tirana, Albania. In 2017 he was elected Assistant Professor at the National Technical University of Athens at the Department of Architecture.