We are confronted with a frame within a frame, with allusions to a historicity and compositional evocations of the sublime.
Plants are rapidly and violently taking over –or reclaiming– the site and its surrounding area and eventually the vista is transformed into a tableau full of life and growth in contrast to the apparent temporal stasis and deterioration of the structure itself. Stripped of its original meaning as an extension of the urban landscape, its narratives negated and its former functionality questioned, opposed, suppressed by some but also defended and documented by others, it is ultimately repositioned into the contemporary social climate. Nature is neutral, but the gaze is political.
Nikolas Ventourakis is a visual artist with a focus on photography and working between Athens and London. His practice situates in the threshold between art and document, in the attempt to interrogate the status of the photographic image. A quest that unfolds in the decisive years of the digital revolution, when a crucial overlap between producers and viewers seems to have reset all previous critical discourses.
Central to Ventourakis’ visual work is a denial for a one-way resolution and an invitation to embrace an ambiguous imagery, where the photographic is not yet real, and the familiar is a projection of a mix of memory –stemming from both private and media experiences– with abstract thinking. Ventourakis’ fascination lies in our need for stories to be conclusive, which cannot but clash with the impossibility for apparent pictures to provide any evidence nor “objective truth”. This is why his work allows for bias and misinterpretation.
Ventourakis completed an MA in Fine Art (Photography) with Merit at Central Saint Martins School of Arts (2013) and is the recipient of the Deutsche Bank Award in Photography (2013). He was selected for Future Map (2013), Catlin Guide (2014) and Fresh Faced Wild Eyed (2014) in the Photographers Gallery as one of the top graduating artists in the UK. In 2015 he was a visiting artist at CalArts with a Fulbright Artist Fellowship and is a fellow in New Museum’s IDEAS CITY. His work has been presented in Greece, Italy, Portugal, USA, Japan, Germany, Croatia and UK among others. He was shortlisted for the MAC International and the Bar-Tur Award. Recently he has exhibited in FORMAT Festival, Derby; Perfect Storm at the NRW Forum, Düsseldorf; MAC International; Thessaloniki PhotoBiennale; the Mediterranean Biennale of Young Artists 18 at Tirana; the Parallel program of the Istanbul Biennale; Hors Pistes 14 at Centre Pompidou; and The Same River Twice at the Benaki Museum, Athens. Since 2017 he is the artistic director of the Lucy Art Residency in Kavala, and is co-curator of the project “A Hollow Place” in Athens. He was a 2020 Stavros Niarchos Artworks Fellow and a 2021, 2023 Onassis AiR artist.
The Museum of Cycladic Art presents the Cycladic Café Art Project – part of the Modern Art Program – combining places of social gathering with art. With the ultimate aim of embracing the Greek and international scene of modern art, the Museum presents works by internationally acclaimed and emerging artists linked to its current exhibitions and activities at Cycladic Café. The Cycladic Café Art Project motivates the dialogue between art and everyday life.
Aphrodite Gonou & Atalanti Martinou