Mark Hadjipateras presents his new series of artworks where he has evolved several new species of flora and fauna to inhabit his unique domain. Viewers familiar with the artist’s enterprise will recognize many of his essential genetic building blocks, recombined. There are also some distinctly original life forms, notably stand of Trees, whose pole-like trunks randomly sprout stalks and bulbous growths. Of approximately human height, the Trees have clearly organic origins with no trace of the mechanistic mutation that frequents Hadjipateras’ entities. In another rather radical departure from the uniform monochromes that have characterized his free-standing sculpture in recent years, Hadjipateras has given the tree trunks a scum bled coloration that visually contradicts the tactilely smooth, burnished surface.
The mottled beiges and browns call to mind the characteristic texture of birch trees, a primordial species whose bark once provided roofing, canoes and shoes for North American Indians.
Hadjipateras’ second species of inhabitants are mutant relatives of his familiar City Dwellers. These hybrid creatures – part biomorphic, part mechanistic – seem to have developed characteristics and body parts in adaptation to the specified roles or tasks in their social order: outsiders, raconteurs, musicians, technicians, teachers, shamans – the diversification is endless. This population, cast in bronze with a soft gunmetal patina, is small in stature, averaging 25 cm. But their common ground makes their scale ambiguous and relative; they could be as easily minute as monumental.
A third occupant in this cosmos fills an evolutionary niche in scale, morphology and social function. These simpler figures, with their classical-modernist echoes, are the Progonoi (Ancestors). Some stand upright and static, others explore the ground. Bearing trumpets and funnels, they act as heralds, hunters and gatherers – conduits of wisdom for the new world to come.
This entire society is witnessed, celebrated and commemorated by five Totem Poles. Northwest-coast American Indians carved tall trees with sequences of totemic symbols representing family lineage, mythical or historical incidents, and other social situations, which they erected before their houses. Similarly imposing, Hadjipateras’ Totem Poles are tightly composed vertical stacks of his familiar vocabulary of organic forms and primal symbols. They stand, self-contained and firmly on footed or solid bases, inscrutable – the resonating sentinels of some ancient or future civilization whose ritual purpose remains unknown to present culture.
Andrea Gilbert, Art Critic
a.antonopoulou art gallery
20 Aristofanous St., Athens(Psyrri) , http://www.aaart.gr/
Until June 29, 2012
Wednesday-Friday: 14.00 - 20.00
Saturday: 12.00 - 16.00