The ballads of the challenge

Category : 2000, Reviews

The knowledge of D. Xonoglou and his sensitivity, allowed him to “paint” images in the space, borrowing materials and techniques from different moments in the history of art, remaining however a contemporary artist and an intellectual that express his time.

The artist in 2000 is absolute, ascetic, leaving behind the bliss of color and the sensuality of the touch of his materials, even the use of fire. Today his media is modern, but his mood and attitude have not changed. The title of his recent work is “tender ballads for sensitive industrialists”.

The sarcastic mood of D. Xonoglou is apparent and the immediacy of expression is relentless. He is a romantic, a lover of materials and yet he moves comfortably in the field of new media. The sharpness and purity of his forms are also impressive.

The three main works of the unit are the factory, the wave bed, and Marx’s chair, which are each independent works.

The factory is a wooden construction, a factory simulation, with three radial buildings with sloping roofs and chimneys, at the ends of which are integrated screens in which video films with sound are projected. The provocative content of the videos is a modern visual version of the production chain as well as the quality of the value, of the final products.

Today, when dematerialization is a fashionable term and even the stock market values are transformed into intangible securities, D. Xonoglou seizes the opportunity to scoff at the material and energy recycling of the outside and the inside world, based on the theory of the ancient Greeks according to which “gas is a matter (substance), but the least material of all the others.”

The wave bed that is exhibited, is hanging on the wall (like others objects in the past), so it is obvious that its functionality has been reversed and any connection –other than the conceptual- with the concept of sleep and rest is an utopia. This bed has rhythm and musicality, but it also has a complex structure reminiscent of ornate wooden floors. It is a shape that refers to a geometric progression something like a wave that spatially-temporally extends to perpetuity.

Marx’s chair is a complex construction, in which of course one cannot sit firstly because its seat is a pyramid and secondly because Marx’s capital and its mirror image are already “seated” at the top of the pyramid.

All three works are nothing but artistic realizations of the idea of utopia, of the revised theories and of the bankrupt visions.

With the anticipation of the promising rest, with the late romance of the once modern industry, with the expectation of the socio-political-economic equation, man incessantly succumbs to the temptation of utopia and tries to give it flesh and blood.

But only art can realize visions and utopias. Dimitris Xonoglou “traps” in this section the impossible and in a timely manner gives another example of the power of artistic discourse.

Katerina Koskina

March 2000