Following the 2009 financial crisis, tourism provided the faltering Greek economy with some reprieve. However, the number of visitors to Greece has more than doubled in the decade that followed the crisis. When infrastructure cannot sustain the strain of overcrowding caused by rapid growth, tourism can exasperate environmental and social issues. Santorini is one of the islands experiencing a growing tension between the affluent but transient tourists and its permanent residents.
Dewi Glyn Jones frames assemblages of static bodies and lively objects within Santorini’s bleached bright spaces. Deflating inflatable flamingos, discarded beach mats, abandoned sun loungers, a parched sunflower stooping down towards the tepid dregs of an iced coffee, five chairs and stools in conference around a table – ‘things’ liberated from proprietorship – populate Jones’ compositions. Instead of the expected relations of hierarchy, nonhumans share the space with humans on equal terms. In one image, a wave breaker seems to consist of a pile of smooth pinkish boulders, smooth pink bodies and a smooth pink pedalo, grouped in repose at the tideline, soaking up the strong sunshine.
Jones’ lens draws the spectator’s attention to the straight lines, curves, triangles and circles that connect each entity within these assemblages. One image is composed of layers of geometry. The horizon splits the image into two blue halves. A small harbour is flanked by two stone jetties, moving diagonally through the lower half. A dark red car, a dark red motorcycle and the sunburnt throat of a bather form a triangle. But this assemblage is not fixed. A new component sits at the end of the furthest jetty looking out towards the line of the horizon. His inclusion into the assemblage modifies the triangle into a quadrilateral. Another image presents the spectator with a yolk-yellow triangle displaying a low black curve and a white circle. In this reality of pure geometry, the shapes echo the rounded white-washed rooftops and the slope of powerlines in the background rather than perform as a cautionary warning of speed humps in the road.
Something remains hidden behind the still composure of Jones’ images. A viscous membrane separates Santorini’s parallel realities, the one experienced by the visitor and the one experienced by the resident. The back of a wooden blue sign hangs in the blue air. A white delivery van is parked almost in the wings of the frame, a single back door swung open revealing incomplete information. Pure colour and form, depersonalised humans and anthropomorphised nonhumans, therefore, represent the parameters of the tourist’s ability to access an impenetrable reality.
Words by Dawn Worsley
Dewi Glyn Jones
He was born, works and lives in North Wales (UK). He graduated from Plymouth University (Exeter) School of Art and Design in 1997, and received the ‘Greg O’Shea’ Memorial Award by the University for being the student who demonstrated excellence as a photographic design student.
He also received in 2005 the ‘Ifor Davies’ Award by the National Eisteddfod of Wales for his work at the Eisteddfod Visual Arts Exhibition, demonstrating the struggle of the Welsh Language, its Culture and Politics.
His work has been published and exhibited on numerous occasions in Wales.
Dewi visited the Island of Santorini for the ﬁrst time in 2014 with his family.
As an Artist and Photographer he began documenting various aspects of the Island from his ﬁrst initial visit. He has then returned every Summer and in the months of September and October to proceed with his photographic work, which has resulted in this exhibition.
The Another Island Photographic Project is still currently being developed as an idea, however Dewi Glyn Jones has also started a new project which is a direct contrast to this current work, entitled ‘ When the World Disappears ‘. This work in progress will concentrate on Island life long after the main tourist season has closed.