National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens
EMST

ALEXANDROS GEORGIOU – WITHOUT MY OWN VEHICLE I-V

31/10/2012 - 31/01/2013

ATHENS CONSERVATOIRE

Alexandros Georgiou

Without my own vehicle I-V

Athens Conservatoire

31/10/2012 – 31/01/2013

Curated By: Daphne Vitali

In recent years Alexandros Georgiou’s practice has appeared to be almost inseparable from the experience of the journey. His art involves travelling, creating images, and writing. He uses photography, painting, and the written word as the basic tools in creating work that is at once visual and literary in nature. The experiences garnered, knowledge acquired, and emotions stirred in him while travelling are eventually cast in the form of a tender and insightful visual universe: narratives and images addressing the distant and the close-at-hand, the here and there, the Self and the Other, the inner and outer, the spiritual and the material through the reality of the everyday in both East and West. Georgiou’s passion for disseminating knowledge is at the heart of a visual work that is exuberant, impulsive, feverish, truthful, and often confessional.

On his travels, the artist has as “traveling companions” some people to whom he mails out material collected and created on a daily basis: postcards he makes himself, photographs he takes and then draws on, painted black-and-white xerox copies, music on CDs, films, books, poems, etc. This material and its complementary series of fascinating, revelatory narratives offers readers an account of the artist’s adventures and allows them to follow him mentally on his trans-cultural journey. Georgiou urges us to pay attention to that which is overlooked, the unseen, the banal, and the everyday, and shows us the way into a world as fragile as it is obscure, poised in between reality and the artist’s imagination.

In April 2005 the artist embarked on a journey by land, “without his own vehicle”, using public transport, that would take him from Greece to India via Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan. This journey, titled Without my Own Vehicle II: Athens – Varanasi would eventually comprise the first part in a five-part work that is presented in the current exhibition. When Georgiou first set out his first journey, he had no notion of what lay ahead, nor did he know whether there would be a follow-up to that first trip. With the exception of the stops to be made along the way, nothing about these journeys has been decided upon from the outset. That first journey, however, was followed by a second one, titled Without my Own Vehicle II: Varanasi-Auckland: the artist started out from the East, crossed Asia, and was now returning to the West. Making a starting point of what had been the final destination of his first journey; he travelled to New Zealand via Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia.

In September 2007, the artist sets out on a third journey. This time, however, it is not a journey to a foreign land but a tour of his own city: Without my Own Vehicle III: Athens. Instead of attempting to introduce readers to the cultural Other, the artist now makes a point of bringing the familiar and the intimate under scrutiny. In 2009 and 2011 Georgiou carried out two more projects for the purpose of which, as their titles suggest, he spent One year in Varanasi, and One year in Bangkok (In Six Months). These journeys had an additional objective: having decided to spend considerable periods of time in these two cities, the artist urged the recipients of his postcards, as well as several of his friends, to join him and to see for themselves what they had long been reading about from afar.

And yet to Georgiou’s mind the journey far transcends the need to acquaint oneself with other cultures; it is more than just a context for being introduced to new places, people, and religions. The experience of the Other, of that which is different, allows him to probe anew his own sense of identity by weaving the personal into the collective. His continuous migration from one place to another is the need to fulfill a personal quest and to identify the self.

Daphne Vitali

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A journey within the journeys

From November 14th and throught the duration of the exhibition, Alexandros Georgiou will be at the museum three times per week for the realization of “a journey within the journeys” together with the visitors to the exhibition.

Every time he will narrate a story which exists behind a work/journey and will explain the way by which it was created.His narratives will refer mainly to the images of the cards in the folders -which are in the exhibition, but inaccessible to the visitors- but also to the music, the movies and the books that are placed in the specially configured lounge.

The artist’s aim is to enliven, through direct communication, moments of the journeys and for the works to receive a new dimension in the visitor’s imagination.

In particular: every Wednesday at 5pm, every Thursday at 8 pm and every Saturday at 1 pm.

CATALOG

Editor: Daphne Vitali,
Texts by: Katerina Gregos, Klaus Kertess, Lina Theodorou, Daphne Vitali
128 pages, 22 x 16.5 cm, Αthens 2012
Bilingual (Greek / English)
With texts and reproductions of works
ΙSBN: 978-960-8349-67-4
Available for sale: price 25 euro

 

Photo: Chewing gum constellations, 35 x 50 cm
Mixed media processed photograph
National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens Inv. No. 688/2010

EL / EN