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Spyridon Giasafakis is a Greek artist and musician currently based in London, UK. He holds a B.A. in sculpture from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, a Post Graduate Diploma from Byam Shaw School of Art(St Martins)and a Masters in Fine Art from Wimbledon College of Art. In 1994 he formed the musical ensemble “Daemonia Nymphe”. The ensemble uses reproductions of ancient Greek instruments and ancient Greek text.

About the work

My work could be divided in 4 main categories.

a) Reliefs: Although most of my sculptures are actually reliefs, these pieces are reliefs made in  a supposedly classical way having mainly a canvas as a support. They are images created with the combination of cast containers that resemble images of different spiritual worlds or even (as irrelevant as) images from computer games. Some inspired by mythology, entertainment or everyday activities and all presented within a theatrical atmosphere. The combination of irrelevant themes adds to the idea of the complexity of human personality. Consuming-creating, creating-consuming, in between are the products of our existence, whether they express our beliefs, our actions/activities or even our need to transform ideas into objects.
All these works should be presented as an installation rather than individual pieces, because my intention is to create an atmosphere that these artworks bring into existence; a dialogue between the pieces in a particular space. Spiritual or non spiritual aspects of human life can not be separated. All the objects can have symbolic meanings and as such they have been used by mankind. The usage of packaging reflects the notion of presentation, the same way a container presents an object, it can also present an idea.

b) Totemic series: Images created with the constitution of everyday objects that create human forms inspired by the quote "we are what we eat","we are what we consume".
All these objects are actually consumer goods, they are all being constantly consumed by humankind since it existed. Consuming could mean eating as well as reading (e.g. ephemeral news, literature) watching (e.g. television) or doing all sorts of everyday activities with everyday objects. Our consumerism somehow defines us as human beings, our preferences are evident through these objects, our creativity, even our own image is formed by the way these goods are being used by us. Food transform our bodies, readings transform our ideas, images transform our aesthetics.  Combining the casts together I created figures made of the containers.
Our body can be seen as a container which holds our organs and all the important parts (if seen as a mechanism) which make us who we are and at the same time help us remain functional. To retain our existence we feed our body with food, books, images, sounds etc. All these activities form our own image.
To my surprise by combining the objects/containers together, the shapes that were formed  were resembling
tribal ones. I did not intend to connect tribal forms with industrial western ones, although the fact that something that is perceived as exotic and distant by the West is being created by using forms of the West can not be ignored. 
All these "totems" are actually constitutions of different objects/packages( mainly attached the one next to the other)  which create the form of a new object.
The work "meat-yogurt-meat-yogurt-meat-toy" is about the transformation of the fragile plastic object to a permanent metal material. It preserves/presents our remains, and elevates them to the level of a monument, the same way an important moment in history becomes a monumental piece.

 The forms made from the cast containers are apparent.  Besides the transformation of the plastic useless fragile containers to a strong unbreakable bronze material there is this idea of creating a monument to our leftover, to our remains. Because of the new material that is transformed into, the forms look much more industrialized and maybe even threatening because of the strong machine-made shape they have.
The bronze piece serves different aspects of my practice. Plastic takes a lot of years to decompose in a landfill site. In this case plastic transforms into bronze, thus it becomes a monumental piece. It is still the body of our devouring habits. The piece is evidence of our consumerism, it stays there as evidence of our culture, our consumer culture, assumedly to be found by future generation in a landfill site, after a supposedly future cataclysm or catastrophe!!


c)  Contemporary Curiosities:  The objects that can not be defined or specified.
They are abstract objects,unexplored,unidentified,unknown.
Esther Pasztory explains "Prior to the eighteenth-century concept of art, there were other concepts about objects. In the sixteenth century, for example, foreign things were put in several categories: traesures such as precious metals and gems desired for their monetary value, strange objects desired for their curiosity value, utilitarian objects largely not desired, and images interpreted as heather idols usually hated and destroyed....Many of the curios came to light in the nineteenth century in trunks in attics and are now in museum as "art" (Esther Pasztory, Thinking with things,page 7).
Are they artistic objects?
As Esther Pasztory claims : "It is not possible to separate art from non-art: there are only things of various sorts, functions, forms, and meanings. Starting with the projectile points of early humans, all human-made things have formal properties and style...It is further possible to classify them by material,size,finish and style...Objects not considered works of art are in no way different-they can all be appreciated and classified by aesthetic criteria..All these things are mixtures of function and forms "(Esther Pasztory Thinking with things page 10)
The curiosities I create are unidentified objects made in western societies (containers and objects of the West)
 to           collected by a non western explorer to be listed in contemporary cabinets. The library display case is where I
               obtained the idea of the curiosities.  This is the reproduction phase.
               I installed the pieces in each section of the library display cabinet.
Thirty pieces of the “earphones and chocolates” work on the bottom section, 3 pieces of the “Abstract” piece and one work on the top section which was not casted and combined in one material but made of the constitution of different casted containers in plaster.
The installation is very colourful and invites the spectator to inspect them more carefully.
The many pieces on the bottom are mostly connected with the idea of reproduction, the notion of authenticity and value, and are inspired by the one-pound shops; colourful to attract the consumer but with many faults in their surface. This was caused by the red(soft) vinamould which when used many times suffers from the material that it copies and each time gets more and more distorted.
As a result every piece is different in shape gesture and colour. I also casted it in many different materials: plaster, rubber, wax, cement etc. Because the pieces are colourful they look interesting from a distance and attract the viewers inviting them to be purchased but when carefully inspected they are more likely to be rejected. The objects intend to attract the spectators with the famous market-quote “buy one get one free” which now becomes “buy one- get them all! There is also the idea of the decadent deformed object , the used object that hasn’t been used, the trace that never happened( doesn’t exist, the deformation which is artificially created with the use of the worn out mould.
     The second level is consisted of three pieces made of three pieces each. In this section the objects are elevated to reference modern sculpture of the 20th century. The moulds of the three pieces combined are actually containers of one pound objects. They resemble modern sculptures and look as if they are carved or casted with a traditional sculptural method.
The white wax piece is more ethereal and the edges are less evident than in the other pieces. The middle piece is made of three different waxes and pigments, so its section is separated form the other. It is less translucent but the colours seem to attract the spectator. The reproduction in this case is referencing the editions of sculptural objects. How many editions should be made? When should the sculpture stop reproducing his work? Is it a matter of offering and demanding? This piece is labelled “buy one get two free”, presented here as a contradiction to the art market, where an art piece would never be given free following a sale of another  one.
    The top piece (which somehow forms a pyramid if all the pieces are seen as one form) is a plaster piece made of the combinations of many different packages.
The piece hasn’t been casted so there is no other edition of it.
It is a “One of a kind” piece and it is much more architectural than the other pieces.
This work is lighted by a spotlight on the top of it and as a result brings the idea of the sublime.
The usage of the display cabinet is referencing the display of an object in a shop, the same way artworks are produced to be purchased in a gallery.


d) events-metamorphoses: The work here is part of an event that occurred in my environment or a found object that carries its trace and is being transformed into another object that retains the memory of the original one. A non significant event that has being transformed into an object. An ephemeral action that left its trace and became a sculptural object. A monument to our existence and our everyday life.
   Like a trace we leave behind; traces gathered to create an image. Or maybe they are not even traces, the activities are matter which have volume and thus become an object.  
While Damian Ortega transforms the object into an event, I intend to transform the event into an object.
The work can be seen as the residue of our activities.  Consuming could mean eating, reading, watching as well as doing things including all sorts of everyday activities. By doing things we are part of an event that occurs as a consequence of our actions. Part of the development of my work is the realization of the events which I am part of. So, besides the idea that we are what we eat, read and generally consume, it could be said that our personality and existence is also influenced by the events that occur in our environment. In some cases we mainly create the event, thus we are the main protagonist of the act, while in others we are just taking part having smaller roles or simply just observe the event. My aim is to translate the event into an object, a sculptural piece, a monument (monumental piece) of the moment. The ephemeral action/activity transferred into a permanent work of art hopefully contemporary as well as diachronic. A monument is usually made to celebrate or preserve a moment in history that is acknowledged as being significant for the society and its development.
I intend to create monuments of the every day thus elevating our activities, the mass produced object as well as our relationship with it. Due to the fact that the way we deal with the everyday object can have various interpretations, my relationship with it leads me in many different directions.
Objects (or even living beings and objects) can be connected by their morphe (shape) in a particular situation and therefore construct a sculptural object influenced by both of them.
For the "stapler event" the object has been created as a result of a particular event that occurred in my domestic place. It was the image of a trapped mouse in a glue trap that inspired me to create this piece. The container of a stapler that wasn’t functional anymore (and which I purchased at the same period)  reminded me of the trapped mouse. It was lying there unable to be functional the same way the mouse was lying glued on the trap and unable to move.  
The pieces "untitled(tribal idols)" have been used in the installation piece "Totemic constitution of contemporary needs" and now are being transformed into a combination of organic and synthetic pieces.
The idol-like figures are made of ambiguous containers, firstly cast in plaster and secondly in vinamould (red and yellow) and covered with synthetic wool. The metamorphoses of the work is evident from a shop-product to ritualistic objects. Unlike David Altmejd's work where the metamorphoses is still in process, in my work it is complete.
The idols on poles are modified and covered in synthetic wool in such a way that they look much more ambiguous because the figures resemble ancient abstract figures and at the same time modern doll-like figures mainly because of the material that they are made of. Even if the synthetic wool resembles tribal figures, the figures have a very strange and unusual appearance so the wool with the rubber idols create an unusual combination. The work plays with the notion of authenticity and connects the contemporary Western containers-objects/products to the so-called primitive exotic art, thus connecting the supposedly civilized West with the tribal-primitive art.
"Omphalos" is made of a found object (baby bath) which carries its trace from its original function.
The bath's new function is to be used as a container to hold water and serve purposes that are connected with sculpture/object making. The rubber shape resembles many different things, from an ambiguous face(or an african mask) to a small body with its omphalos (navel) in its "belly". It is now the trace of an unknown baby which was cleaned in this bath as well as its participation in my sculpture-making. 


More analytical approach in the printed folio