Sculpture, 26/01/1994 – 26/02/1994 – Medusa+1 Art Gallery
On Wednesday, 26 January 1994 at 8:00 in the evening, Nakis Tastsioglou presents his latest work at the Medusa+1 Art Gallery.
In this exhibition the artist attempts an artistic reworking of the gallery’s interior architecture with four large-scale sculptures made of Plexiglas, iron and light.
The transparency of Plexiglas combines harmoniously with the austere lines of the works and ‘conspires’ creatively with light to depart from the traditional concept of sculpture, assert its rights and put forward some interesting new propositions.
The exhibition will run from 16 January to 26 February, 1994.
ARTI May- June 1994
(Medusa, Jan 26 – Feb. 26, 1994)
While related to site – specific sculpture, the notions explored by Nakis Tastsioglou in his recent exhibition at the Medusa Gallery reflected a rather personal interpretation of this art form. Modifying its demands to suit his needs, Tastsioglou came up with works that were only partially site -specific- meaning the installations were not made for this particular gallery space. Rather, they were made for architectural openings: doors and windows as sites – in general. Secondly, the installations were achieved in compliance with the demands of the medium regularly employed by the artist over recent years: plexiglass, to which he gave paramount importance. Lastly, the element of light, integrated into the make-up of the work and elevated to cardinal status, was manipulated as a tangible, physical medium, and made to function in exact conjunction with the plexiglass. Hence, the artist also forced the component / medium of artificial light, like that of synthetic plegiglass, into the echelons of formalism.
In effect Tastsioglou projected a distinctive concern for the formal issues of sculpture.While his work was concrete, solid and tangible, it appeared ethereal and immaterial because of the transparency of the material. This contradiction was magnified by the vacillation induced between the sculpture / installations that possessed either three – dimensional postures of two – dimensional stances. The works occupied space, as does all sculpture. But, whereas the viewer did not need to go around the work to take it all in – the work΄s transclucence allowed for its immediate appraisal – one΄s movements were both foiled and directed by the specific location (site) of the installation. Thus, the viewer was forced to see the work only from a frontal position. Obstructing outlines formed out of plexiglass sheets placed across the openings were expressly made to appear lucid white by means of specific lighting, further stressing the two – dimensional attributes of the sculptures. It seems that Tastsioglou wished to get around the notion of sculpture in the round – the three – dimensional physical object. Ultimately, however when Tastsioglou dallies with the idea of seeing all sides of a sculpture at once, the result appears to be nothing more than a direct quotation from early Modernism – specifically Cubism – which after a fashion lands him, like so many artists before him, on a Post – Modernist bandwagon.
Tastsioglou also accentuated the qualities and attributes of light and plexiglass – artificial and synthetic respectively. His installations reflected the merits, polish and the touch of resplendence of plexiglass as a material. That the color of plexiglass en masse is white like light, and that this whiteness is better projected by an artifical light that is effectively a controlled factor, justifies to an extent the contrived darkness of the gallery area. In a spirit of consistency the artist also seemed to advance the notion that the synthetic and artificial – both manmade – are inevitably a perfect match.
Thematically, the works were based on the idea both of physical and visual obstruction. The proposals for doors different from those for windows. In the former, passage through the door was physically blocked, while in the latter, the view through the window was hindered. In both cases, the function of architectural openings was nullified: for instance, the viewer΄s physical motion was halted at the door by means of thick plexiglass bars, while one΄s of vision through the window was deterred by a plexiglass installation placed behind the window pane.
It is evident that Tastsioglou whishes to physically cross the viewer΄s path. Αt the same time, he imbues these real and tangible installation / obstructions with all those conceptual ramifications associated with hindrance, prohibitions and prevention triggered by social, moral and religious mores and ideals, as well as by health habits and practices. And so, like these customs, principles and patterns, to be convincing, Tastsioglou΄s barriers are impeccably served up, veiled as they are by the socially imposed and required aesthetic garb. The works are rendered both as precious and handsome, qualities attained by means of the artist΄s abundant use of the plexiglass – generous quantities that accent this medium΄s conflicting formal attributes of weightiness and incorporeality, at once luxuriant and refined.
ATHINORAMA – 11 February 1994
A flood of allusions and references awaits informed visitors to the latest work of Nakis Tastsioglou at “Medusa + 1.” The subject of the show is the Gate, with all its associations, charge and conceptual content.
If we were to talk about the gates of Love and Death it should not be readily dismissed as too simplistic, for the whole life and its essence goes through this very ‘dipole’. This cycle of work begins with a bright prelude of love and reaches the dead-end of a darkroom.
In-between there is a sinister gate with a triangular lintel as ‘memory’ from the lightening triangle over the Lion Gate or the pubic triangle of the gate of life—a multivalent and perilous passage. The exit from the window is equally dangerous. Having taken my own risks with this descriptive approach, I come back to the philosophy of the work which imposes itself automatically, although its starting points are more formalistic. The way from Plato to Bergman is endless, and so are the changes. Only a mystical communion through art allows a degree of access to the sanctum sanctorum. I do not know whether the outlook of Nakis Tastsioglou is a pessimistic one; his work, at any rate, brings a lot of optimism for art.
Olga Bati – 2 February 1994
A young artist at the “Medusa” gallery works in the shadow, away from the usual limelight of marketing. Nakis Tastsioglou attempts a visual alteration of the gallery’s interior architecture with four large sculptures made of Plexiglas, iron and light. With characteristic skill and lines of archaic austerity, the young artist brings his material into harmony with the surrounding space and its vibes, with the prevailing atmosphere. This invests his sculptures with classical qualities, as works which propose new applications of sculpture in space, yet remain essentially what sculptures ought to be: the ‘co-ordinates’ of space-time, the three- or two-dimensional embodiments of all those elements which determine time and space. And it is certain that time goes through Tastsioglou’s transparent Plexiglas to assume the shapes given by the gaze of each sensitive viewer.
In this way the poetic powers of matter remain intact, and sculpture remains as an aesthetic proposal worthy of gaining ground. Is the local marketing going to allow this to happen?