”The Sureness of Immobility”
Depo Darm Gallery
Nov 2 – Dec 30 / 2016
curated by Panagis Koutsokostas
SNAPSHOT – ”The sureness of Immobility”
In his new solo exhibition titled “Snapshot: The sureness of Immobility”, Dimitris Fragakis addresses with his body of work the imprint of the objective, the realistic and the imaginary. Beyond the narrow limits that representation defines, the paintings and sculptures of Dimitris Fragakis create a visual context that borrows elements from amateur, almost rough / draft photography (snapshot).
Installation views – Photography by Chris Doulgeris
Speed and stillness, instant capture and pending recording, craft of the machine and human creation, closed frame and open horizon are a few of the negotiated principles of the artist on the territory of contemporary art.
United enemies, pencil on paper, 103x71cm, 2016
Sailor man, pencil on paper, 21x29cm, 2016
Jockey, pencil on paper, 68x69cm, 2016
Any object produced by painting is unique. The hand that creates a painting leads to the authenticity of an artwork which is essentially unrepeatable. The course of painting from faithful representation to abstraction or surrealism went through many stages and received influences internal and external, either from art theorists and critics or from mass media and techniques such as the invention of photography. In his emblematic essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin sets out the concept of the aura of an artwork which can be reproduced, copied with precision and multiplied, thus undermining the standing of the object. Several years later, Susan Sontag pointed out that photography is branded by a reputation for realism and thus by the ease of reproducing and imitating the subject created and portrayed by the artist-photographer.
Everyday snapshots take up increasing amounts of space in our digital devices and demand increasing amounts of time or our gaze. The camera, as a constant tool, captures moments which are not instantaneously grasped or understood. The way this medium operates ever since it became widely available is like a tireless weapon that targets the subject and shoots. Like a hunter, the photographer stalks his surroundings, identifies his prey and shoots, as Susan Sontag puts it.
Today, in these liminal times, the scale on which the average western viewer is assaulted by images is such that any comparison with the situation as it was at the turn of the 20th century would be pointless. The artwork is no longer purely a museum item but is fetishised or revered outside its original context. The speed of information and images promotes a tendency to seek mass pleasure over the internet and a constant search for new material. In view of this, how much do we as viewers still value the notion of immobility?
Ceramic factory, oil on aluminium panel, 28.5×29, 2015
Porcelain factory, oil on aluminium panel, 29x27cm, 2015
In his solo exhibition Snapshot: The sureness of immobility, Dimitris Fragakis makes a visual analysis of the photographic condition of capturing the realistic, the objective but also the imaginary. Going beyond the narrow limits of representation, the photographic and sculptural works of Fragakis at the Depo Darm Gallery establish a visual context with elements he borrows from amateur photography and the “snapshot”. Speed and stillness, instant capturing and the wait for the registering, machine technique and human creativity, the closed frame and the open horizon are some of the principles through which Dimitris Fragakis approaches the scale of contemporary painting.
With the core of the exhibition featuring mainly paintings but also sculpture, digitally processed photos and pencil drawings, Fragakis questions the speed at which viewers take in the artwork. His creations generate a feeling of pause and wait against the bulimia of the photographic medium and the way we perceive the world around us. A surrealistic setting of two claustrophobic houses competing for access to a window that faces the sky; a soldier-hunter with bow and arrow at the ready stalking his approaching prey; an acrobat poised on his trampoline at the moment of his top jump — all these attest to the dreamlike aspect of the works in the show. Stereotypical images of everyday people captured at a moment of immobility. Portraits of individuals and views of melancholic factories turn into a dreamlike universe the things we usually consider ugly, dismissing them because of their momentary speed. The visual representations of Dimitris Fragakis have a purpose: to violate the condition of idealisation and narrate a momentary truth: the truth of the sense of security afforded by immobility.
Art historian, museologist
Curator of the exhibition Snapshot: The sureness of immobility
Thessaloniki, October 2016
Hug, oil on aluminium panel, 23.5×34.2cm, 2015
Works photography by Lazaros Grekos