Yorgos Lazongas’s Randomness as Method, a new publication by the National Museum of Contemporary Art, is a reflective autobiography in which the artist talks about the nature of his work and his approach to art. The book will be presented on March 29th at 18:30. Representative works from the publication will be exhibited on the ground floor of the Museum until April 29, 2018.
Katerina Koskina, Director of EMST, will be joined by author Vassilis Vassilikos, Panos Charalambous, Rector of the Athens School of Fine Arts, and Giorgos Xiropaidis, Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetics at the Athens School of Fine Arts to talk about the book.
Randomness as Method is an autobiography in essay form that chronicles the journey the artist has made in pursuit of his art over the course of 48 years of uninterrupted work and creative investigation. It records his thoughts on the end of modernism, utopia and art movements, the depletion of innovation, the persistence of folk elements, and the importance of the Unspoken (Alekton). He recalls disputes over the abstract and the abstractive, the consequences of introversion, and his own venture into conceptual art.
The texts draw upon journal entries and lecture notes for the painting classes he taught at the School of Architecture at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Athens School of Fine Arts, but also from personal experience.
Born in Larissa in 1945, Yorgos Lazongas studied architecture at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (1963-1970) before leaving for Paris in 1976 to study painting on a scholarship from the French government.
In the early 70s he worked with photography and printing techniques, creating collages with photocopies and spray paint. He became intrigued with recording the phases in the life of an object as he subjected it to various processes of destruction. In the mid-70s he began to incorporate into his work silkscreen prints on transparencies and tracing paper, while developing the Palimpsest as a focal point for recording time.
In 1980 he began the Blind Painting series, a kind of blind painting executed with the use of carbon paper, colored canvases and fabric. The Sheets, another body of work dating from the same period, are an experiential rendering of the erotic act but also of the Holy Shroud of eternal rest. During this time, he also created installations and organized collective performances and other kinds of happenings, among which was the performance “Body-Text” with poet Andreas Pagoulatos and curator Sania Papa in the basement of the Beaubourg in 1981. From 1992 to 1997, he reprinted the Palimpsest in the Fragments, a series of works in which he developed his ideas about the end of the complete image, featuring in its place the fragment or trace as the part that renders the whole.
In his work Lazongas focuses on the gesture, on the processes by which matter is transformed and the experiential relationship with materials, but also explores the philosophical dimension of notions such as archetype, palimpsest, fragment, life, death and time. His painting is experiential, and its content philosophical and existential.
From 1975 to 1999, he taught painting in the School of Architecture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. In 2008 he was elected Professor of Painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts.
In 1970 he took part in a group exhibition at the Goethe Institut in Thessaloniki and in 1972 was awarded first prize in a competition organized by the Hellenic American Union. He presented his work in individual and prominent international exhibitions such as the Biennale de Paris (1980), the Lisbon Biennial (1981), the Wroclaw Trienale (1981), Art et Poésie at the Centre Pompidou (1981), Emerging Images at Europalia (Antwerp, 1982), the Sao Paolo Biennial (1983), and the Salon de Montrouge (Paris, 1997). In 2006, a retrospective exhibition of his drawings was held at the Benaki Museum and the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and a monograph published with texts by Nanos Valaoritis, Titos Patrikios, Dimitris Maronitis and others. Now Professor emeritus at the Athens School of Fine Arts, he lives and works in Athens.
With the kind support of