"The limits of appearence"
Sphinx Art Team

This project is a visual material installation of an interior space with a background of sound and in the same time it’s a collective performance with the participation of the audience that investigates the limits of the sanctuary and the humanistic aspect of the initiation at a community’s level. The play targets to a reflection on human state, referring to the lost horizon of an ideal relationship with nature, with ourselves. The participant is led, through three different levels of initiation – and with the interactive participation of the members of the team “Sphinx” – to a process of methexis to human prehistory and the recognition of the limitless relationship of humans with the planet which takes place as an act of purification that comes at the end. The play consists of a complex surface of ceramic volumes which compile a form of primordial scenery in front of which a horizontal field of laid salt is formulated, as an altar of deposition of archaic, animal- and human-faced heads. This scenery is surrounded by a frame of vertical veils which act as cells of questions, conversations, sensations, experiences prior to the visitor moving towards the centre.

The project designed by Konstantinos Aggelou and takes place via the collaboration of 15 members of Sphinx.

 

Justification

The project investigates the size of the participating, creative and social act, and refers to a wide range of audience while being a collaborative monument of expression and an act of a “religious” initiation, which investigate the horizon of social interaction of art. As a denier of cheap impressiveness, that act, as an artistic practice, targets to exercising the revealing simple but ancient truths and experiences. The scenery that refers to is a scenery of a primitive world where the future returns straight to prehistory, to the timing of eternity and self-sufficiency: an internal and delicate awareness unknown to us, transfers the reverse of thought to a more sensational act of opening, the clarity of an authentic relationship. The set up investigates the limits between patriarchy and matriarchy, primitive and civilized, sacred and blasphemous.

Investigating the unfathomable universe of human experience in time, looking for the secret path to Ithaca of primordial feelings, digging with impatient warmth the soil with which a decayed and suppressed civilization buried the past in an automated model of a mega-social machine, through this play, we call on the lost horizon of an ideal relationship with nature, with ourselves. This collective play concerns a redemption which comes after an act of methexis to human prehistory, the recognition of an ineffable atrocity that bears down on human species, the immodest relationship of this species with the planet which is in the same time an addicted and self-destructing tendency to itself.

 

In the model of a detached, from the world, human, the unholy act of opening is considered as an outing of their lost connections, as a desire of chasing a means of transition from the violent state of a civilisation to another one, a passing which constitutes the denial of the daily caged experience to the reveal of the earthly one. The making shows up always in front of the hierarchies of things that correspond to the loyals and the citizens. The development of the world itself, the same violence, the one which is always present in the heart of the visual systems of every system of symbolling and representation (according to Benjamin), is the sanctuary of a world which covers the reactions of a living species, the risks of human civilisations on the “naked flesh”.

Our work is exactly these limits between hidden and obvious, violence and its cover up, sacred and unholy of the living body. What we are looking for is a gradual reveal, a reveal favourable to imbalances, to the disclosures of incompleteness’s, to uncertainties. We are also seeking a temporary reveal, as what is shown up, falls already in the oblivion of the next visibility, in the welter of an impossible enactment. The reveal constitutes not only an individual experience but also a social act, an experience in the framework of social sculpture and takes place as a reverse action through negativity.

 

(https://www.sphinx-biennale.com/social-sculpture-2018)

Visual act

An untreated smooth rock in the center of a biomorphic vertical surface. The evocative in various definitions vertical element of the stone, calls for the horizontal white field of the salt at the front of it, as an obvious common area of deposition for cut-outs of human-faced heads of animals or animal-faced heads of humans. The element of sacrifice is joined with the limiting risks of human life, with the element of human assault. The sacramental element is detected in the anthropological level of the civilizations, where the dimensions of life are compared sentimentally as nodes of a space-time definition, as divine elements of defining the human being. 

The play “The limits of Visibility” is the ontological reveal of the holy and hidden transition, a manifestation of the imposed character of a sacred which hides and gets hidden, concealing the lost relationships of the human species with other species of the planet which adjust to the its imposed, paranoid and neurotic accomplishments. The human element, by then looking for a solution to the human dead ends, tries to reinvent the sacred, something that is facilitated in the choice of a process of manifestations which take place in stages:

 

The first stage is the stage of information and judgement; the second stage is the stage of internal awareness, of experiential reveal. Finally, the third stage, where the deepest change takes place, the change of taking on the responsibilities, when the completed poetic act, by unifying its notional body background, overcomes the atomised records by intruding in the collective area as an institution of atonement and clearance. The recognition and the request for atonement that lead to clearance, are the autonomous existential movements of the living which are extrapolated as gates to life on this unified area of “social sculpture”, where art is no longer needed by life because everything is now art, where the irrational and the unmediated take place, the self-sufficiency of the slurry, the universe of infinity.

Description of the installation:

  • “Altar”: complex surface of ceramic volumes (roughly 6X3, 5X1) which acts as scenery on a horizontal field in front of it, laid with salt. Dimensions of central area: roughly 60m2

  • 100 Ceramic animal-faced and human-faced heads

  • Ceramic sculpture – “sink”

  • Surrounding configurations of vertical flat veils around the central “altar”. Total dimensions of the area: 200-250m2

  • Sound installation which will be repeated in a roughly 1 hour pattern

  • Installations with lights

  • Installations with special perfumes

 

Function:

Preliminary stage: The visitor gets informed about the summary of the process. Next, they are called to wash their hands outside the main area of the set up and then it’s their entrance to the main area of the play, starting a process of transition to 3 different levels of initiation:

First stage: Getting informed. This process takes place via members of the Sphinx whispering in the areas that are created between the veils which surround the main area. This process includes examples and explanations about the composition and the actions of ancient civilisations, examples and questions around human violence, questions about human needs and desires etc.

Second stage: Intuition, internal awareness. The visitor gets to the main area and sits around the central “altar” where they reflect everything that has been said so far while in the same time they feel the sensory data of the place. The evocation of the situation constitutes to the realisation of this biomatic revealing of the tragedy of nature in the eyes of human brutality.

Third stage: restoration of the relationship. The visitor leaves a model of animal-faced head in front of the “altar”. The altar that constitutes the centre of the set-up, corresponds exactly to this centre of mental recognition that comes with human act. The play is the gate, the ontological passing to a path that takes place in the same time with the visitor themselves for whom is the only way to reach their destination.

In detail:

Participants: 15 people. The total cost in time is estimated to 1160 hours.

Materials of the play: 30m2 enamel-coated ceramic surfaces integrated in wooden skeleton, ceramic shapes randomly spaced

Final dimensions: Central area:  350 cm(height) X 720 cm(width) X 550 cm (depth) –

Total surface with area of veils included 150m2

Participants:

Konstantinos Aggelou

Lefteris Ayfantis

Fotis Vasiliou

Stella Douka

Maria Kantika

Maria Karahaliou

Eustathia Kouli

Tasos Koustas

Olga Mamali

Ioanna Manopoulou

Zoi Mastrothanasi

Eleni Baka

Patra Baka

Pepi Papadimitriou

Sofia Sotirhou

Zografia Hristou

Images - documents of the specific participatory, experiential educational process dedicated to the project.

Images - documents of the production process of the project.