Stressing out the notion of re-evaluation in the art imagery, ordinary -or not- objects potentially can be transformed into new forms and mainly ideas that enable the eye and mind to start considering more thoughtful ways of perceiving reality. Vasilis Asimakopoulos’ body of work underlines the power of a creative contextualisation of this chosen objects given by the gravity of High Art practice. Through suggesting alternative materials rendered by his artistic point of view, he aims to stimulate further aesthetic as well as conceptual connotations. For example, keeping the shape of chair, but altering its concept, favours the idea of re-purposing the material and remodel the meaning. Allowing the viewer to freely get engaged with the exhibits, the artist’s goals are open to interpretations. Such artworks, presenting a vibrant sculptural language, are able to transform the gallery space into the un-conforming site of a worthwhile abstract universe.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
Asimakopoulos presents Sulfur Slabs (2016) and Downer (2017) artworks in Prevent this Tragedy exhibition; showcasing a soundproof foam through the application of resin and then covered in sulphur, and secondly, the found part of a mass-produced chair, which was left outside to rot and dye naturally. Their new shapes –or states- continue to challenge the mind with their irregular and sensuous forms yet converted and introduced into new creative portrayals. The object’s materiality stays incessant and eternal regardless its transformation; however its narrative continues to change rendering new sites of memory.
“Combining ideas of materiality, ephemerality, and uncertainty, ‘Prevent This Tragedy’, curated by Martin Mayorga and Vanessa Murrell, showcases works of nine artists who each approach the theme of ‘tragedy’ through multiple lenses, from the anthropological to the architectural. Most of the works seem to be made in natural settings yet are now displayed in an industrial one. This incites questioning into process, mediums, and the manipulation of nature by mankind. Certain works negate interaction, seeming to act as a meaningful barrier, while others demand inspection and curiosity. Interweaving dialogues of permanency and variability, strength and fragility, hope and survival, the works, both distant and introspective, enable us to surface momentarily, reconnecting us to the threats of gravity and decay”.
Born in Athens, Vasilis Asimakopoulos (b. 1982) lives and works in London. He received an MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art, London, (2011) and a BA in Fine Art from the Middlesex University. Asimakopoulos was also the winner of the Mostyn Open Award (2011), shortlisted for the Conran Prize in 2011 and a recipient of the RBS Bursary Awards, Royal British Society of Sculptors (2009).
Exhibition Prevent this Tragedy by DATEAGLE ART is on until 14/11/2018 at the Post_Institute, Von Goetz Art.
Art Verge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Vasilis Asimakopoulos: I do not have a standard or linear method to making work. A lot of ideas come from continual experimentation and chance in the studio. Others come from spending too much time in the studio, and that environment reflecting back into the work. The debris on the floor, for example. Other work echoes objects or scenes of objects I reflect on in the physical world in general, such as an abandoned chair collecting rainwater in the skip. Lastly, some work develops purely from examining the conceptual trajectory of where my work is, and where it needs to get to, and then usually a combination of all the fore mentioned would compete to adequately respond this challenge.
AV: How would you define your work in few words (ideally in 3 words)?
VA: Cold, introspective, open.
AV: Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
VA: Richard Serra, Angela de la Cruz, Oscar Tuazon, Richard Wentworth, Kostis Velonis.
AV: Creating a new artwork can be a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
VA: Sometimes it does, as the necessity to incessantly work out a piece at the studio dictates my time, but at the same time socializing and talking with fellow peers can also act as a “board room” to determine the fate of a concept or process in the work’s development.
AV: Can you tell us more about your involvement in ‘Prevent this Tragedy’ curated by DATEAGLE ART?
VA: I had been wanting for the last couple of years and discussing about doing an exhibition with like-minded and materially interested artists. After discussing the concept with Simon Linington we approached Martin and Vanessa with the kernel of an idea. We hit it off very quickly and after DATEAGLE ART discussing the curatorial potential and scope of the exhibition, further discussions on artists and spaces were resolved successfully swiftly and the result is today’s show.
I hope this will be the first of other exhibitions like these with similar artists, especially in London, as these types of artists for some reason seldom come together to organize group shows. I am then hoping that it will be more evident to others what has been to me. Which is that there is a strong undercurrent of brutal, material and poetic artists out there that need to start talking more to each other and make things happen.
AV: What can you tell us about your works on view at ‘Prevent this Tragedy’?
VA: I am showing two Sulfur Slabs and Downer.
Sulfur Slabs were originally soundproofing foam used in studios that were then dipped in resin, and then covered in sulfur. The weird beguiling colour and nature of the sulphur, in combination with the sculptural repetitive form of the foam create an alienating, exotic and negating of approach and interaction type of work. They obviously promote a manmade pattern, but in combination with a natural mineral could be mistaken as a crazy natural occurrence or part of an exotic environment.
Downer is a found part of a mass produced chair that was then left outside to rot and dye itself naturally. The cold but sensual shape of the chair intrigued me as a low floor piece, and the addition of the small mount of heavy marble dust created a guttural psychological addition. It felt, even though absent of human presence, to act as an amplifier of memory and human narrative.
AV: How do you know when your artwork is finished?
VA: It is either instinctual or when I can either do no more or take away anything more before it becomes just an object devote of meaning.
AV: What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, and how does it affect your process?
VA: I have already touched upon that previously. However, I am more excited to see how moving to Athens and opening a new studio there will affect my work.
AV: Which exhibition did you visit last?
VA: I go to many but the latest exhibitions and works I have seen that grabbed me were Luke Burton’s at Bosse and Baum, Luke Noel’s wall works at the last RCA summer show, and Ben Brett’s latest exhibition in Berlin. Equally, I still carry strong impressions of a lot of the work and atmosphere experienced at the Documenta in Athens.
AV: What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
VA: I am more interested in what history and memory they bring with them, and then use unexpectedly to approach and interact mentally with the work.
AV: What does your mum think about your art?
VA: She loves it. But wishes I did more artwork with horses.
AV: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
VA: Night owl who values waking up early.
AV: Is the glass half empty or half full?
VA: Half full.
AV: Which are your plans for the near future?
VA: I have just moved back to Athens after 18 years of working in the UK. It felt like the moment was correct, and the right move for the work. I am looking forward to seeing how interacting with the Greek art scene, the city, the concrete, and the much larger studio than what can be provided in London will affect my work.
© All images are courtesy of DATEAGLE ART.