“The women’s Photographer”,18/10/2007 – 17/11/2007
On Thursday 18 October at 8 in the evening, Maria Demetriades opens the exhibition of the latest work of Miltos Michailidis. The show forms part of the events for the 14th Month of Photography, organised by the Hellenic Centre for Photography; it is the second participation of the Medusa Art Gallery in these events.
In his first solo exhibition at the Medusa, Miltos Michailidis paints the portrait of V., the women’s photographer, and his irregular gang – a strange quartet he seems to have met in Milan at some point in the past.
As he unfolds a kind of visual journal from that time on the gallery’s walls, Michailidis recalls and pays tribute to another artist: V., the women’s photographer, his friend and mentor. It was from him that the artist learned that what matters in art is the process and that perfection is achieved through repetition.
The whole venture is a visual game of memory which sets off from the premise that memory itself is an interpretation rather than hard fact and hence it can be distorted.
Miltos Michailidis was born in Athens in 1971. He studied painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan. He has had two solo exhibitions in Milan and participated in group shows in Greece and Italy. In 2006 he won first prize at the Premio Internazionale di Video Arte, a competition held as part of the Bienalle Adriatica di Arti Nuove (San Benedetto del Tronto) in Italy.
The show under the title “The women’s photographer” at the Medusa Art Gallery is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Athens.
Duration of the exhibition: 18 October – 17 November 2007
REVIEW OF MARIA MARAGOY IN THE NEWSPAPER ELEFTHEROTYPIA
MONDAY 5 NOVEMBER 2007
A company of men and scripts in the centre of the city.
The photographer of women, charismatic and enchanting man, belongs in the company of four individuals that they meet and make closer company, seven years ago in Milan. A type of script is unfolded, without particular plot, where are mainly described characters and internal situations. In the script, the photographer of women, somebody X. is mostly interested for the process and not for the result of the photograph and for the repetition thanks to which he believes that probably approaches the perfection. (Here they enter, as you understand, perceptions of the artist-scriptwriter). Miltos Michailidis, a young relatively artist (born 1971) employs the script, that could have cinematographic structure in his growth in order to investigate the question of memory. The memory, certain, is not something solidified, as the time in a photograph, but a live and active condition that easily transforms structures and occasionally creates new feelings.
Here the artist uses the memory as initial source of images and dedicates to it an entire exhibition, in the gallery “Medusa” with the title “The photographer of women”. The figure of the photographer but also the models and mainly the questions of lighting of the closed space of the room occupies Miltos Michailidis in his own confrontation with the art of painting (that is to say endless hours of preparation, studies and discussions) where attempts to puts us in the process.
It is an exceptional work this painting of closed space, insistence and solid in its variants of the same room, with different light, introduction of figure, change of position and frame.
If I remember correctly…
I met V. in Milan, at the home of Evangelina Carlson. He was introduced to me as photographer of women. A particularly charismatic person, he made a strong impression on me from the very start. Later, when a kind of friendship developed between us, he invited me to his studio. He was, indeed, a photographer of women. Of that enigmatic and melancholic German woman, Vilma Bauer, and the elegant and rather maladroit Sharlene Benoit from Switzerland, and the always surprising and intractable French woman with such a strange name, Lacey Michaud. Evangelina had at some time dubbed them the Milan Quartet, because, with the sole exception of herself, V. remained unwaveringly faithful to his three captivating models. As a photographer, V. placed the most importance on the process of photography itself. He was less interested in the result. He believed that with repetition, one achieved perfection. That is why he persisted in working with these three figures. When he photographed them, he would spent hours on end running tests on the cameras and lights. Sometimes he squandered entire days in preparations and discussions, without taking even one shot. In the end, the four of them would wind up going from bar to bar along the Naviglio Grande, until the wee small hours of the morning. In this rather bizarre quartet, Evangelina and I were the odd ones out, so to speak. Not that we didn’t have our parts to play as well. For a time, Evangelina also served as a kind of sponsor. My role was that of the observer. V. liked me right from the start. So he accepted my presence there for purely educational reasons. Whatever I heard and saw would be extremely useful to me in the future. This was his point of view at least, and I had no reason to question it. During the periods when my wife came to Milan from Montpellier, where she was residing during that time, she also became a part of that eccentric group. V. held a particular fascination for her, for still another reason. He was an exceptional dancer and loved the tango. When they danced together, or when she was watching him dance, it reminded her as she told me later, of Argentina, the other half of her homeland. Quite a bit of time went by in this fashion and I must confess that what I saw and heard there proved exceptionally useful. Gradually, however, this obsession for repetition and the endless preparations began to wear on me. The brilliance of that Milan Quartet also began to fade, at least in my eyes. I couldn’t share the enthusiasm of Evangelina, and even the beauty of the three other young women left me somewhat indifferent. I was becoming more and more impatient for those days my wife would be coming to Milan. Then we would see some worthwhile dancing, and she could also speak French to Lacey. The scene was changing. The truth is I had begun to feel as if I was suffocating. I continued to be excited by the process itself, but I was after the result as well. V. himself was the first one to understand what was going on. He wasn’t upset in the slightest. He told me that the time had come to do something on my own, that the apprenticeship was over. Thus, he released me from whatever obligations I might have had to him. Nearly seven years have passed since then. I have returned to Milan many times, but I never wished to visit V. and his entourage again. Only once, at the Mondadori bookstore, did I recognize from afar the melancholic figure of Vilma Bauer, but I made no attempt to catch her attention. I often reflect on those years without ever feeling any nostalgia for them. I have kept only a few photographs whish serve as a starting point when my mind begins to remember things. Like adding fuel to the fire. A glance at them and the period of the Milan Quartet unfolds before me, in just the way my memory retained it.