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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 21 February 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 21 FEBRUARY 2015 15 es off from Zero FEATURE distance; miraculously, I have managed to keep up with the presentation from a distance and it all looks really good.” Stefanos Tsivopoulos spends his time between three major art capitals - New York, Amsterdam and Athens. “I was born in Prague but after a few months my family moved to Greece where I was raised and lived till the age of 27, when I left to continue my art studies in the Netherlands,” he muses. “Since 2000 I’ve been living abroad and recently moved permanently to New York, but Greece is constantly on my mind, something that is expressed though my work as well.” Stefanos embarked on his journey as an artist at the Athenian Fine Arts Academy, taking on painting, and moved to the Netherlands where he went into audio-visual techniques and mixed media. Nowadays, his work focuses on open space public performances, while in 2015 he will be publishing a book he has been working on for more than five years. “It is a very important year to me as I will present another major project in Thessaloniki this summer,” he confesses. “Moreover, the upcoming publication will contain series of unpublished images, also offering a new ‘reading’ of different parts of Greece.” Stefanos believes the community of artists in Greece is more connected than ever, as a result of current events. He aims to visualise the diverse culture surrounding economic exchange whilst challenging the social, political and performative aspect of alternative currency models. “Art is always booming in times of crisis, inspiration thrives under pressure, hence we witness more independent artists collaborating, groups of creative people taking on projects.” “Greece is an inspiring place for artists and documentarists. People are changing, people are bonding, evolving.” Rather than simply documenting these models, Stefanos’ archive stands as a poetic political statement proposing a reformation towards autonomous communal patterns and forms of survival and resistance at a critical moment in contemporary Greek and European history. “I see my position as an artist more as some kind of critical thinker related to the big concept of art history but also history itself, regarding the ‘what is really happening to us now’,” he highlights. “There are artists who create beautiful images and bring beauty to our world, which is political in itself.” What do we call art politics? “I wouldn’t run for an office, if that’s what you mean. I’m not saying in blue, red or green, left or right, as I share no interest for micro-politics neither was I ever concerned with labels,” the artist explains. “Art has a lot to do with the political position of ourselves as citizens, while we are experiencing a time that is questioning all ideologies.” The artist views the culmination of the multi-layered crisis as an opportunity to interpret an alternative visualisation of the future. ‘History Zero’ implies not the end, but a point of departure, of recovery and growth: the beginning of something new. “I’m approaching our relationship with money poetically, from a philosophical perspective,” he says. “Being an artist is already a political position in society, as we are entitled to the right of expressing ideas publicly which could inspire people to think, yet art shouldn’t by any means be propagandistic. We are not opinion makers.” The artist proposes his ideal ways to reaffirm solidarity, cooperation and co-responsibility while eroding and throwing into question the homogenising political power of a single currency. “‘History Zero’ attempts to record its own trace in this field of active accumulation, going to the core of the concept of value.” “Can the surplus value of a dream be calculated?” Let’s find out. * White Night Melbourne is Australia’s most celebrated cultural event spanning from the National Gallery of Victoria in the south to Melbourne Museum in the north. It will take place on Saturday 21 February from 7.00 pm till 7.00 am on Sunday, turning the city of Melbourne into a paradise of visual art, exhibitions, spectacular illuminations, music, theatre, special dining experiences, film, design and performances. For more information go to whitenightmelbourne.com.au and www.stefanostsivopoulos.com History 2: A young immigrant from Africa wanders the streets of Athens pushing a supermarket trolley and collecting scrap metal. For him, finding and collecting this discarded and worthless material is the only way to survive. History 1: An elderly art collector lives all alone in her museum-like house surrounded by works of modern art. Suffering from dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease, she has a very peculiar, personal way of organising and attributing meaning to objects, based mainly on touch.
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