Vasilis Papageorgiou: Untitled (Solo Chair I)

Vasilis Papageorgiou

Artwork’s Title: Untitled (Solo Chair I)

Materials Used: Marble, steel, copper

Studio Based: Athens & Amsterdam

Vasilis Papageorgiou, Untitled (Solo chair I), 2020, Marble, steel, copper, 60 × 60 × 50 cm, Courtesy the artist

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

Ι would say that I am a studio artist, most of my day is spent in the studio.

This is where I make, where I think, imagine, gather, consider and reconsider the works. At the same time a very important part of my practice and my production process is the collaboration with technicians, this is a part I really love. Throughout the years I am lucky to have established very special relationships with a few collaborators that have become integral parts of my work.

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?

Surreal Sculptural Situations.

How did you come up with the ‘SoloChair’ as a sculpture idea? Is there any story behind this artwork?

The Solo Chair is a chair made out of marble and steel. It’s not only its thin slices of red marble from central Greece and therefore its fragility that is making it uninviting to sit on but also the fact that the chair is already occupied. If you look closely, you’ll see a couple of small copper dolphins, symbols of luck from ancient Greece, left on the chair.

Do Solo Chairbelong to a broader art project of yours?

Yes! Actually, it has been a long time that I’ve been thinking and working on what I like to call ‘sitting and resting structures’, a series of chairs, benches and stools that participate in different scenarios.

The work has changed a lot and has evolved towards different directions over the years. At the beginning, most of my contexts and built scenarios for each sculpture were related to semi-private spaces such as bars and stadiums. I feel that this is slowly changing. When I started spending more time in Amsterdam, in September of 2019, I began to observe the city’s sitting and resting structures which were indeed quite different than what I was used to. I would see solo chairs or structures for only one user, concrete benches and tables with inlayed chess sets and other phenomena that probably seem evident to a lot of people but were quite striking for me and the public architecture I’ve lived in and experienced in Athens. The issue of coming together and the way we do so in relationship to the architectural structures that are provided to us or built by us for this purpose is at the core of my practice.

I investigate ideas of togetherness, communication and loneliness, I rethink and rearticulate the imagery of such places, creating new narratives which reflect on our everyday. My work ‘’looks’’ at the person as a unit among various societal groups and I am trying to challenge ‘the collective’’ vis-a-vis ‘the individual’ while exploring the friction that is created between the two notions.

Is there any particular theme that utterly triggers you to engage your art with?

I wouldn’t say that there is a theme but I am definitely drawn to notions of the everyday.

While creating atmospheres and sculptural situations I choose as an entry point and a source of inspiration what is being left behind, everything that is meant to be part of the past; objects that we tend to forget and underestimate the presence of. My work looks to reformulate the unimportant materiality that surrounds us. At the same time ‘’luck’’ is a concept that functions decisively in my practice, together with its symbols as well as their material and value.

In my latest body of work, the sculptural formulation of a situation of risk and diversion is enabling new spaces of imagination to emerge and challenges matters of value in the contemporary society and in the art system.

In my installations, I combine different elements like sculptures, drawings, metal constructions and minimal spatial interventions. Through this imagery of objects, I am shaping a visual language that is used in order to articulate an idiosyncratic poetry.

With the approach of acts such as, drinking, gambling, drifting and watching sports, my work explores everyday methods of resisting productivity, valuing immobility and reclaiming solitude within a state of mind that has marginalized such needs.

What would be the best way to exhibit your work?

I think that I mostly enjoy creating environments and sculptural situations that I can direct myself while collaborating with other artists, curators, and cultural professionals. As I mentioned earlier my works usually participate in imaginary scenarios therefore I like exhibiting them as the set of a contingent film.

Do you ever wonder if additional work was needed, when an artwork’s making process is finished?

There is always additional work needed after the end of the making process, but that work is often immaterial. It is a work that is collective and participatory, almost societal. It is the work of mediating, letting go, inviting people in, opening up to new thoughts and possibilities, assuming responsibility, creating the grounds for exchange. These things do not just happen, they occur through the joint efforts of many people, artists, curators, cultural workers, audiences, visitors. In that sense, the artwork is never really finished.

What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?

I think that the artist’s studio can sometimes define the artist’s work. I am working every day in an old garage in Ampelokipoi neighborhood, not far from the centre of Athens. It’s a 250sq.m. semi-basement with a beautiful backyard and very special light. I have been there for almost 6 years now and I think that I will stay there for as long as I can. I believe that my working space has really shaped my practice and I have been very much inspired by my studio as well as its surroundings, the neighborhood, the people, the smells, the noises etc.

You’re also the co-founder of Enterprise Projects, an Athens-based independent art space which has been presenting exhibitions since 2015. Focusing on the good side of things, could you share with us an insight about experiences or feelings you had over the past years and didn’t expect to take place?

We opened Enterprise Projects together with curator Danai Giannoglou in September 2015 and we’ve been running it at a periodical base ever since. I would say that the thing I enjoy the most and that we definitely weren’t anticipating is the networks of communication, solidarity and collaboration that we’ve built with our neighbours. This is one of the many things that make Enterprise Projects so worthwhile and rewarding for us.

What are your upcoming project plans for Enterprise Projects?

In the spring, we are planning to open a project related to language, translation, self-publishing, critique and hosting. It is something we have been developing and working on since February 2020 so you can imagine that it had to be re-shape several times because of the pandemic which actually allowed us to experiment with new formats we had never worked with before.

What does your mum think about your art?

I think she likes it – or she maybe enjoys it. Actually, this might be even better.

Personally, as a visual artist, which are your plans for the near future?

I am preparing a series of new works for two shows, one in Athens and one in Marseille. But my main plan for the near future is to keep making peace with the way time has been stretching and shrinking all at once over the past year.

Additional Artworks

Vasilis Papageorgiou, Untitled (Solo chair I), 2020, Marble, steel, copper, 60 × 60 × 50 cm, (detail), Courtesy the artist
Vasilis Papageorgiou, The Moon, 2019, Copper plated jacket & Carrara marble, Dimensions variable, Courtesy the artist
Vasilis Papageorgiou, 3000 €, 2800 €, 2500 €, 2019, Black, red, pink marble inlaid in white marble, Dimensions variable, Courtesy the artist & UNA Galleria


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