Yorgos Stamkopoulos: Trajectory
Curated by Lorenzo Bruni
From Wednesday 25th January 2017, Galleria Mario Iannelli is delighted to present a solo exhibition by the Greek painter Yorgos Stamkopoulos entitled ‘Trajectory’, curated by Lorenzo Bruni. The exhibition includes a site-specific installation consisting of a wall painting and steel sculptures, as well as the artist’s first series of drawings on paper.
‘Trajectory’ is the title of the solo exhibition that Yorgos Stamkopoulos has created especially for Galleria Mario Iannelli in Rome. The exhibition is a unique location-based work which is born from the distinctive coexistence of the painter’s work on the walls of the architectural space - fragments of monochrome colours, combining freely to create a composition that brings the environment to life and/or renders it uniform - and a series of sculptures that scan the space and characterise discovery. The particular means of dialogue that the artist establishes between the wall painting and the three-dimensional presences - steel lines that soar upwards from the ground like the result of an independent but alienating power - change not only the viewer’s perception of the space, but also their way of inhabiting and measuring the physical context in which they find themselves. As the artist himself explains: “The idea of wall painting had been floating around in my head for quite some time! The sculptures are made from steel bars which are 14 mm thick. The sculptures are hand bendet, and to me they represent lines in space. They correspond to the lines that you see in my paintings, which I create as part of the artistic process before applying the colours. In this case, I wanted to break free of the flat nature of the canvas by translating them in the third dimension. Surprisingly, the picture communicates with the sculptures, becoming a single object”. From this point of view, we come to the unprecedented realisation that the active artist is not only concerned with forcing the limits of the object- painting or the essence of painting itself, but with the aesthetic and qualitative parameters within which it is observed and/or experienced. Moreover, the Russian doll effect among the “signs” that are on display allows us to observe how the opposing categories of figurative and abstract image, automatic and planned gesture, and history of art and visual memory need to be reconsidered during this era of touchscreens in a digital and globalised world. The artist’s aim with the ‘Trajectory’ project is not so much to exhibit paintings of an abstract nature in comparison with the site-specific concept, but to directly reveal the time needed to “make” the painting and for it to “come to fruition”.
As the curator Lorenzo Bruni writes as part of a conversation that will be presented together with a special edition/poster designed by the artist: “The challenge that Stamkopoulos undergoes is not to apply his particular artistic method of partially removing colour from a surface - which he normally does on canvas - to a location-based work. Rather, it consists of placing the time needed for the artistic process at the centre of the work, and establishing a dialogue between it and the surrounding world, which does not exist independently. It is this requirement that leads to the decision to use the same colour tones for the wall painting as those which characterise the cityscape that exists outside the windows of the gallery, although here they are freed from their function of “defining” forms and objects. This perceptual permeability between interior and exterior, like the one between art and life, together with the context of “Rome” in which all of this takes place, highlights aspects that would not have come into focus so sharply on other occasions: 1) the fact that the composition of monocromatic painterly forms can refer back to fragments of ancient frescoes and the procedures used to preserve them; 2) the act of spray painting used in the tags of urban graffiti artists placed in the context of abstract painting; 3) a response to the aspect of pure decoration that can be associated today with works influenced by Gestalt theory; 4) a study of the idea of the “total work of art” as conceived by Theo van Doesburg, one of the founders of De Stijl, which introduced the concept of the fourth dimension by emphasising the factor of time in creating abstract works; 5) the re-opening of the twentieth century discussion on the balance between background and foreground object; 6) a reflection on what Leon Battista Alberti and the Florentine Renaissance considered a picture: a window that best frames the landscape. [...] It is as if the artist had responded to these questions before they even arose, by means of his strategy of exploring the act of painting by transforming it into sculptural blocks, and vice versa”.
The ‘Trajectory’ project was conceived by Stamkopoulos as a shared reflection on his way of working with abstract painting. The intention, however, is to place greater importance on the process rather than the final image. The artist, while assuming the responsibility of reflecting on the legacy of the modernist tradition of monochromaticity and the political/conceptual tradition of analytical painting, aims to make the comparison not by decoding reality on canvas, but by making the viewer aware of their own thought processes, leading them to reflect on the role and communicability of painting today compared to its history stretching back thousands of years.