RELAPSE – Identity: Behind the scenes at the new Peltz Gallery exhibit

This post was contributed by artists Vasiliki Antonopoulou, Nikolas Kasinos, Dimitrios Michailidis and Penelope Koliopoulou – members of the RELAPSE collective, whose next exhibit ‘Identity’ will run at the Peltz Gallery Birkbeck School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square, from 28 April to 28 May.

RELAPSE collective formed as a result of the three of us finding common ground in our practice and deciding to organise this group exhibition. During our struggle to find an affordable space and consequently funding, we decided to create a collective online. Forming an international platform that brings people together being a strong desire from the beginning, virtual space as border-less and free, became the perfect host to do so.

The upcoming exhibition that started it all is based around ‘identity’. Thoughts around displacement, the self and our place within space underline the work to be presented.

We invite the public to take a step back from themselves, and join us in a ritual of self-observation in order to open the work to collective authorship negotiated between performer and viewer thus reclaiming the constructs of our own identity.

Beginning here, we aim to manifest ideas born in RELAPSE from the virtual into the physical realm on an annual basis. We hope that the ‘spot’ inside the virtual world that we occupy, becomes a platform for a growing and diverse community of openness and solidarity.

More About the Work:

Vasiliki Antonopoulou. I Don’t Want To Lose You, Video performance / installation (2015)

Vasiliki Antonopoulou. I Don’t Want To Lose You, Video performance / installation (2015)

I Don’t Want To Lose You by Vasiliki Antonopoulou aims to combine old traditions with pop culture as two ways of communication. One old and one new. One strictly site specific, and the other globally trending. As a life long expat, the performances in her video, show the artistʼs reflection on the place that forms a major part of her identity even though hardly present in its formation.

Going back to Greece as an adult, an attempt to reconcile with the displacement felt there unfolds a conversation between body and space. Using performance as her tool, the artist performs her own baptism. This is done as a symbolic ritual to re-establish her roots with the place. By performing this ʻinitiationʼ, she allows her self to access old traditions and customs. A privilege that she uses in order to place a silver offering on the Church of Tinos, bearing the name of actress Eva Green – the prize she wished to gain.

Nikolas Kasinos. Courage In The Face Of Reality, Multimedia (2014)

Nikolas Kasinos. Courage In The Face Of Reality, Multimedia (2014)

Courage In The Face Of Reality by Nikolas Kasinos is an exploration of the self as it manifests and changes within the context of society. An on-going investigation of the meaning and power of ʻtruthʼ in relation to elements of human culture such as morals, ethics, stereotypes and traditions. Interested in the (oppressive) effect these concepts have on people and consequently the self and identity, the artist experiments with different materials, symbols and signifiers of national, cultural and socio-political realities.

The tension between screen and performing act shifts contexts of public and domestic, opening the work to be negotiated between performer and viewer. With each individual performance an abstraction of the singularity, within the bigger context, is created. Even more so as a group of video performances, the installation emphasises the multiplicity and complexity of an attempt at locating the self within society.

Dimitrios Michailidis. Oedipus III , Mixed media installation (2015)

Dimitrios Michailidis. Oedipus III , Mixed media installation (2015)

Oedipus III by Dimitrios Michailidis deals with the fundamental issues one encounters when attempting to place themselves in a society. A comment on a reality in which social injustice, cruelty and anger appear before our eyes, the effect they have on identity and the power dynamics generated.

The great myth of Oedipus is applied as an allegorical comparison to the artist’s own existence in an on-going research and experimentation with form, light and shadows. He is interested and inspired by forms of suppression deriving from highly structured communities and religions. By creating theatrical scenery which allude to the spirit of ancient Greek drama the artist creates an isolated meditative space where mind and emotions can be misplaced.

Penelope Koliopoulou. Self Portrait Series, Photography work (2012)

Penelope Koliopoulou. Self Portrait Series, Photography work (2012)

Self Portrait Series by Penelope Koliopoulou portrays stories about the everyday life of couples, by transforming herself into both partners through the medium of photography. She explores intimacy and sexuality through stories, which question the boy-meets-girl pattern of traditional Hollywood love stories.

She presents a more realistic view into the workings of a love-relationship, by performing both positive and negative moments. Impersonating both partners she intends to make a comment on the issues of personal identity in a relationship and the abandonment of it, as well as gender and social stereotypes, while maintaining a level of humour.

Sometimes Iʼm ARrt by Nikolas Kasinos is an exploration of the potentialities of gender and (online) identity through the continuous palimpsest of performance. Combining live performance and video the artist seeks to re-present fantasy and desire from a viscerally located ever rewritable subject point. Transformation and/or frustration are portrayed and experienced through characters manifesting spontaneously from the act of performance.

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