These three photographic sections of Giannis Voulgarakis’ exhibition are under the title Cities Masks and Bodies, which is the translation in Greek of Michel Tournier’s collection of short stories Petites Proses. The writer uses in this edition the photography as a mediator in order to tell a story.
In the first section, Giannis embarks for a journey to the neighborhoods in Athens city center, such as Metaxourgeio and Exarheia. Walking and wandering around in the city makes us see a series of night images of Athens in fragments, a city of senses and decay, of charm and declension.
In the next two sections, Giannis studies the human body and expresses his own approach to how beautiful and ugly, true and false are defined and to how the eye has learned to distinguish all these by following specific, firmly established stereotypes.
Dolls confined in windows pose smugly, looking at passers-by through their inexpressive masks with consistent apathy. Well-shaped bodies, with the perfect measurements, alienated figures that promote the idol of how someone should look like, transformations of the artificial and temporal female character.
By contrast, female bodies, stricken with time, naked, curved, bodies that each one has to tell a personal story, a likely painful adventure that hides an essential truth for the mortal flesh. Bodies that coexist in places that are wounded, violated and sunk in human oblivion.
By using a rich colour fan, Giannis expresses his deep concerns about life. With the strong saturated colours, he talks about urban landscape’s alienation and hostility; with the plastic and fake contrast, he talks about the eternal loneliness of the doll-idol; finally, with the soft colour range, he talks about a body that is so real and at the same time so affected by time that has passed or that will pass over it with ruthless velocity.
Athens Photo Festival 2015
Giannis Voulgarakis (GR)
Cities Masks and Bodies
Curated by: Nina Kassianou
Duration: 16 June – 30 June 2015
Karneadou 20, Kolonaki, 106 75 Athens