Kostis Velonis

Kostis Velonis – Craft Boy

Opening January 14th, 2008 at 6:30 p.m.

(Italian text below)

Monitor is pleased to present the works of Greek artist Kostis Velonis (b. 1968, lives in Athens), on display for the first time in Italy.

Kostis Velonis’s sculptures combine the materiality of natural elements such as wood and paint with industrial products, which the artist masterly combines in a play of only seemingly fragile and precarious equilibriums. Whether about solitary cowboys, Pinocchio, or a scornful criticism of rationalist architecture (Bauhaus is not our house), his work vibrates with a force that brings to mind totemic constructions of ancient memory.

It is impossible with these works not to assume a sense of storytelling and history, often suggested by the works’ titles, which touch upon aspects of contemporary collective consciousness through an anti-monumental construction that makes the approach to the works simple and immediate.

The title of the series presented in his solo show at Monitor, Craft Boy, refers to the artist’s most recent investigation of the Bauhaus Manifesto, written by Walter Gropius on the tales of the nineteenth century studies conducted by Englishmen Ruskin and Morris of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

For example one of the new sculptures in the show, Bauhaus Cathedral DYI, references Lyonel Feininger’s Cathedral, a wood-cut for the Bauhaus Manifesto, 1919.

What interests Velonis most is the romantic aspect of the Movement in its start, which differentiates itself from the typical notion of the Bauhaus school that usually displays structural austerity and functional perfection. The roots of failure constitute the key element for this new series. In one of the key pieces, Craft Makes the Universe, the artist investigates the representation of the universe as the stage for a “craft experience”.

As Velonis suggests, “modernity and its international collective utopias are represented by ideological mistakes. For this reason the recent pieces maintain the aspect of a grandiose architecture that, through a minimal human, simultaneously unites the comic and the tragic, place and downfall, futuristic flavour with folklore”.

Kostis Velonis

Kostis Velonis, 1968, lives in Athens.

Solo Shows:
2007 BQ Gallery, European Kunsthalle, “…was einmal über heute gesagt werden wird: KölnShow2”, curated by N. Schafhausen, F. Waldvogel Cologne;
2005 “Blind Date” Kamm Gallery, (with Katharina Jahnke), Berlin; The Breeder Gallery, (with Katharina Jahnke), Athens;
2004 “Bauhaus is not our House”, The Breeder Gallery, Athens.

Group Shows:
2007 9e Biennale de Lyon, “The History of a Decade that Has not Been Yet Named”, curated by S. Moisdon & H.U. Obrist;
2006 “Don Quixote”, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, curated by N. Schafhausen, Sophie von Olfers, Rotterdam;
2006 “Crossing the Borders”, State Museum of Contemporary Art, curated by T. Moutsopoulos, Salonica;
2006 “The Grand Promenade”, National Museum of Contemporary Art, curated by A. Kafetsi, Athens;
2006 “Give(a)way”, EV+A Biennial, curated by K. Gregos Limerick, Ireland;
2006 “Poetry in the backyard”, Art-Concept Gallery, Paris.

The exhibition will be accompanied with an interview edited by Cecilia Canziani and Sotirios Bahtsetzis.

Until February 29, 2008


Kostis Velonis – Craft Boy

Opening 14 gennaio 2008 ore 18.30

Monitor è lieta di presentare per la prima volta in Italia i lavori dell’artista greco Kostis Velonis (1968, vive ad Atene).

Le sculture di Kostis Velonis combinano la matericità di elementi naturali quali il legno e la pittura a prodotti di matrice industriale che l’artista sapientemente combina in un gioco di equilibri solo apparentemente fragili e precari. Che si tratti di cowboy solitari, del Pinocchio collodiano o di una beffarda critica all’architettura razionalista (Bauhaus is not our house), i suoi oggetti vibrano di una forza che richiama costruzioni totemiche di antica memoria.

Impossibile non cogliere nelle opere di Velonis il senso del racconto e della storia, spesso suggerita dagli stessi titoli, che portano l’artista a ripercorrere alcune tappe dell’immaginario collettivo contemporaneo attraverso un carattere antimonumentale della costruzione che rende l’approccio ai lavori semplice ed immediato.

Il titolo della serie di opere presentate per la sua mostra personale presso Monitor, Craft Boy, fa riferimento alle ultime ricerche dell’artista sul Manifesto Bauhaus scritto da Gropius sulle orme degli studi ottocenteschi dell’Art and Craft Movement condotti dagli inglesi Ruskin e Morris.

Una delle nuove sculture in mostra, Bauhaus Cathedral DYI, fa infatti riferimento alla xilografia Cathedral realizzata da Lyonel Feininger a corredo del Manifesto nel 1919.

Ciò che maggiormente interessa Velonis è l’iniziale aspetto romantico del Movimento che si differenzia dall’austerità strutturale e dalla funzionale perfezione tipica della fase più matura del Bauhaus. Le radici del fallimento costituiscono l’elemento chiave per questa nuova serie di lavori dell’artista greco: in una delle opere principali della mostra infatti, dal titolo Craft makes the Universe, viene indagata la rappresentazione dell’universo come palcoscenico per una “craft experience”.

Come suggerisce lo stesso Velonis “la modernità e le sue utopie collettive internazionali sono rappresentate da errori ideologici, e per questo gli ultimi pezzi mantengono l’aspetto di una architettura grandiosa che attraverso il gesto minimo dell’atto umano unisce al tempo stesso il comico ed il tragico, il luogo e la caduta, il sapore futuristico con il folclore”.

Kostis Velonis

Kostis Velonis, 1968, vive ad Atene.

Solo Shows:
2007 BQ Gallery, European Kunsthalle, “…was einmal über heute gesagt werden wird: KölnShow2”, curated by N. Schafhausen, F. Waldvogel Cologne;
2005 “Blind Date” Kamm Gallery, (with Katharina Jahnke), Berlin; The Breeder Gallery, (with Katharina Jahnke), Athens;
2004 “Bauhaus is not our House”, The Breeder Gallery, Athens.

Group Shows:
2007 9e Biennale de Lyon, “The History of a Decade that Has not Been Yet Named”, curated by S. Moisdon & H.U. Obrist;
2006 “Don Quijote”, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, curated by N. Schafhausen, Sophie von Olfers, Rotterdam;
2006 “Crossing the Borders”, State Museum of Contemporary Art, curated by T.Moutsopoulos, Salonica;
2006 “The Grand Promenade”, National Museum of Contemporary Art, curated by A.Kafetsi, Athens;
2006 “Give(a)way”, EV+A Biennial, curated by K.Gregos Limerick, Ireland;
2006 “Poetry in the backyard”, Art-Concept Gallery, Paris.

La mostra sarà accompagnata da un’intervista all’artista a cura di Cecilia Canziani e Sotirios Bahtsetzis

Fino al 29 febbraio 2008