Thursday, 18 November 2021

Fairy Tale for Adults, Giorgos Taxidis

Fairy Tale for Adults by Giorgos Taxidis at the Athens Art Gallery.

'I remember in 2015, when top of the news was a shocking image of a three year-old boy, somewhere on the Turkish coastline, with his face buried in the sand, abandoned as deceased, rising the number of drowned refugees and immigrants...

Tracing my own life and my ancestor's through texts, narratives, photos and videos I retrieve - or even better, 'recreate' - a memory that I lived through remembering or something that I had never experienced, but know it as if I had lived it. I was three years old, when my family repatriated in Greece. In my mother's arms with my two brothers and my father, driving from South Russia for endless hours through the frost, sleepless, turning on the engine of the car every ten minutes during the night, so that we didn't freeze. So did my grandparents when they left hunted and barefoot one night in 1918 from Pontus leaving their home and burning all their belongings. I will never forget the words of my grandmother: 'we are people without homeland'.

People migrate constantly seeking a better future, as I did when moving to the USA to study or as others did to survive from poverty, hunger and war. Our stories will always accompany us, simply common, familiar. And drawing will always hold the memory of our emotions transcending from individual to collective'. (Giorgos Taxidis).

Using his family history as a starting point, Taxidis explores the dynamics of migration, of the displacement of peoples and the hardship that follows. He surveys aspects of human mobility, the ways these affect our perception of social reality and how we position our own self within the contemporary world. This exploration of socio-cultural, personal and inter-personal narratives is carried out through his family archive, bringing to the fore topical current issues encompassing human movement and displacement.

His chosen mediums are pencil, charcoal, soft pastel, oil on canvas, lino print on paper, lithography and sculptures created with soil, roots, ash and acrylic glue. The images are hazy like photographs which are out of focus - just like our memories are.  They become reflections of our own memories, like abstract landscapes divulging the self-portrait of life. They are a manifestation of the need for continuity and the eternal battle for survival.

Funeral Scene, 2017, (oil on canvas)

In Red, 2018, (oil on canvas)

Out of the Ground, 2019, (soil, roots, acrylic glue)

Memories VI, 2017, (soft pastel on paper)

Memories VIII, 2017, (soft pastel on paper)

Memories II, 2018, (soft pastel on paper)

Human, 2020, (soil and acrylic glue)

Human II, 2019, (soil, ash, acrylic glue)

Fairy Tale for Adults, 2020, (pencil and charcoal on paper)

Forbidden Land, 2019, (lithograph on paper)

This looks like an abstract lithograph, but on closer inspection, there are no lines, but

a list of people and how they died in their quest for safety and a better life. 

A stunning piece.

Fragments of Absence, 2018, (linoleum on paper)

The fading of memories, until in the end, there is nothing left - a blank.

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