• Phiale

    The image depicts the convex surface of a bottle on which the reflection cast by the surrounding room can be discerned. Daylight streams through tall curtained windows into the room. The interior of the bottle contains a photograph. On the right edge of this photo a man playing the double bass is visible and on the centre-left side two men are holding a fabric cover high over the model of a building placed on a table. The scene is from a rarely seen photo that came to my attention back in the beginning of 2011. It shows Le Corbusier (the man playing the double bass) and two of his assistants in the process of unveiling the model entered in the international competition for the Palace of the Soviets (Moscow, 1931). The photo belongs to the estate of Orestis Maltos, a Greek architect and one of the two assistants in the photo, who worked for Le Corbusier’s Paris office.

    The Le Corbusier photo was printed on A5 size paper and then inserted in the bottle. The strange composition of the photo looks stuck to the convex surface of the bottle, generating the effect of a concave panorama.

    The bottle containing the photo was, in turn, placed on my studio table and photographed on a dark background using natural light. The studio space that is reflected on the glass surface of the bottle blends with the space in the photo, thus creating a single new image out of both physical and representational space elements. Objects and spaces are seen as both reflecting and reflected, illuminated and hidden, making their own visibility and withdrawing from it. From the initial two versions of reality, that which contains and that which is contained, a disquieting third is revealed. Contained and enclosed by the convex surface of the bottle and hollowed out by the concave panorama effect, an enigmatic, ambiguous and unsettling space captured by the camera emerges.

    By using a small ordinary camera, I here seek to explore ways of seeing images and objects by generating interstices between things and phenomena. I am interested in ‘letting things happen’, as if inadvertently, and in bringing into play whatever element emerges through the quirks of the camera. No complex digital or collage techniques were employed, I relied, instead, on artistic approaches and optical techniques that allow a more natural and free encounter of elements to take place.

    I set out to explore the ways in which things are composed and installed, looked at and experienced. Size, perspective, proportion, rhythm and measure guide and inform the decisions made in the attempt to find that distance and proximity within the elements of a work and between work and the viewer, that could simultaneously reanimate the senses and intensify the mental space between them. To that purpose, various artistic approaches will be employed in order to provoke the viewer’s physical involvement with the image. I have two different size prints of the photo, the first one based on the height of the physical object (the bottle) and the second based on Le Corbusier’s height with his arm raised.

  • e.tsantila-phiale-01

    Phiale, FineArt Inkject Print, dimensions variable