Narrative Projects, London: 18 November 2016 – 7 January 2017
Shadows for Construction
narrative projects is pleased to present Shadows for Construction, a first solo exhibition at the gallery by Amsterdam-based Greek artist Antonis Pittas.
Pittas’ practice is based around context-sensitive spatial installations and objects, which are informed by architecture, politics, art-historical references, the performative aspects of installation art and its social dynamics. The majority of his projects come into existence over a long period of time, and always in relation to a particular site or context. In the course of his career, Pittas has become increasingly intrigued by the question of how past and present relate to and reinforce each other, and how public memories can be captured in the making.
Over the last few years, the artist’s work has gravitated toward reflections on the historical avant-garde, playfully re-activating the heritage of Russian formalism and Bauhaus to address contemporary social dynamics. Pittas adopts elements – shapes and forms – from modernist artworks, and relocates them in the context of contemporary protest movements and the aesthetic strategies they employ; and, in this way, he has turned the expressions of revolt into monuments.
For this exhibition Pittas has transformed the gallery space into a sculptural installation, inviting a viewer to fully immerse in the formal experience of the early avant-garde. The loud contrast of red and white references the primary colours of Malevich’s Suprematism, whilst the series of photographs present a direct intervention into the drawings by Lyubov Popova that the artist encountered during his research at the Costakis collection and the archives. At the same time, the sculptural pieces are easily traced back to the austere visual language of Minimalism.
Evocative aesthetic and contextual shifts reflect the current global climate of upheaval but also promote fragments from the public domain, from the quotidian to the iconic. Relating to (art) history and its utopian promises adds an additional layer of reflection that allows us to rethink the relation between present and past. Does history repeat itself? And if it does, how and in what form does it reappear?
About the Artist
Antonis Pittas (b. 1973 Athens) lives and works in Amsterdam; he has studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts, the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam and at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, and has been artist-in-residence at the Bard College, Annandale, New York.
His recent exhibitions include: Antonis Pittas – Hold On, SMBA, Amsterdam (2015); Montage, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam (2014); Performing Silence, Joint solo with Sarah van Sonsbeeck, De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam (2013); RETROACTIV, Hessel Museum of Art & CSS Bard Galleries, Annandale, New York (2012); Landart, Benaki Museum, Athens (2012); Untitled (this is a historic opportunity Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven (2011); the Central Museum, Utrech (2002). Selected group exhibitions include: the Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki (2015); Bozar, Brussels (2014); Agora – 4th Athens Biennale, Athens (2013); Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2013); ‘Overlapping Biennial’ – the 5th edition Biennial, Bucharest (2012); Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2011).