• 9 attempts to type the South

    9 attempts to type the South is comprised of a number of images and a poem “In the South”, by Friedrich Nietzsche, excerpts of which I typed out nine times on an old typewriter dating back to 1904. It can be argued that the poem reflects the stereotypes of Clasical Greece and the Romantic narratives of an idolised “south” of 19th c. Europe. Alongside three photos of landscapes —a field with hills in the North of Attica (Landscape, Summer), a computer screenshot photo of the Reichsarchiv in Potsdam (Landscape, Winter) and a photo of the dark green waters of a Berliner park lake (The Seabed), another central element of this work is a ritual that took place in a Greek church, an incident I witnessed by chance.

    Miraculous Images is composed of a number of merged photographs that were taken from the “gynaeconitis” (in the past an upper gallery in a church reserved for women) located in the St. Dimitrios Cathedral, Thessaloniki. Hundreds of pilgrims attended a special liturgy where sacred icons were in display at the main hall in the ground floor. The liturgy had ended but many of the worshippers lingered on and socialised, turning a solemn religious space into a bustling secular place. The camera captured their random movements and gestures.

    I shot the same scene many times in rapid succession selecting some of the shots for the final image for which digital montage and mirroring techniques were employed. The resulting image was then blown up under extreme zoom and by means of a time consuming technique the digital pixels were soften with “brushstrokes”. With the application of blending, lighting and colouring methods a painterly quality was added to the picture. The image is structured like an aerial view of an anatomy theatre where the horizon line and the vanishing point are at odd angles, generating a picture whose strange perspective confronts the viewer’s gaze. The same human figures appear twice and three times in the final picture, caught in their slightly altered states, postures and gestures. The overall effect is that we don’t so much witness their mirror image as their double, their doppelganger moving through time. In some parts of the picture digital processes are left intentionally and visibly unfinished, turning the meeting of the real and the imaginary into a ghostly apparition.

    In addition, one part of the main hall of the church is expanded at infinity, as furniture and people are mirrored and multiplied, and turned into abstract ornamental form (Polieleos). In bird’s-eye view perspective we see a man shifting into the dark recesses of the church. His hardly perceptible figure appears again in the photo like a dejavu under the pale light of a chandelier (Billows and Shadows).

    The body of my work includes drawing, painting, photography, video, installation, sculpture and performance. I am interested in compositions of different elements, in the complex associations they would allow and reveal in their composition, by choosing each time the artistic method and medium that best unravels the impulses of the work itself. Thus, in an attempt to generate the internal logic of images and things, through affinities and relations that are at times overt and manifest and at times elusive and hermetic. The aim is to raise questions about the means and mechanisms of representation, about memory, identity and the socio-political role of the artwork. Questions as to how bodies relate to the ideological construction of a place and to its symbolic and imaginary charge; questions as to what things reveal and conceal in their specific loci and what they reveal and conceal when abstracted from them. Using the medium of photography and the advantages and limitations of digital technology, I explore the ways we encounter the efforts of the individual to claim social identity and construct and claim collective memory.

  • 001-e.tsantila-9attemptstotypethesouth

    Miraculous Images, FineArt Inkjet Print, 100 x 146 cm, 2014

  • 002-e.tsantila-9attemptstotypethesouth

    Polieleos, FineArt Inkjet Print, 100 x 112 cm, 2014

  • 003-e.tsantila-9attemptstotypethesouth

    The Seabed, FineArt Inkjet Print, 100 x 100 cm, 2014

  • 004-e.tsantila-9attemptstotypethesouth

    Billows and Shadows, FineArt Inkjet Print, 45 x 114 cm, 2014

  • 005-e.tsantila-9attemptstotypethesouth

    Landscape, Summer, FineArt InkJet print, 21 x 30 cm, 2014

  • 006-e.tsantila-9attemptstotypethesouth

    Landscape, Winter, FineArt InkJet print, 21 x 30 cm, 2014

  • 007-e.tsantila-9attemptstotypethesouth

    9 attempts to type the South, selected stanzas and verses from Friedrich Nietzche’s poem Im Süden, typed in greek with an Underwood typewriter (model 1904) on translucent vellum paper, 1 - 9, 21 x 30 cm each, 2014

  • 008-e.tsantila-9attemptstotypethesouth

    9 attempts to type the South, installation view, CACT - Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki, 2014

  • 009-e.tsantila-9attemptstotypethesouth

    9 attempts to type the South, installation view, CACT - Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki, 2014

  • 010-e.tsantila-9attemptstotypethesouth

    9 attempts to type the South, installation view, CACT - Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki, 2014

  • 011-e.tsantila-9attemptstotypethesouth

    9 attempts to type the South, installation view, CACT - Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki, 2014