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T-FACTORY

The Tomato Industrial Museum D. Nomikos in collaboration with Santorini Arts Factory-SAF cordially invite you to the opening of the exhibition T-FACTORY by artistic photographer Christophoros Doulgeris, on Monday, June 18, at 20:00, at SAF’s exhibition hall in Vlychada, Santorini. The exhibition will display recent works by Doulgeris, comprising a photo series depicting machinery and industrial spaces.

As Gérard A. Goodrow points out: “The compositions of Christophoros Doulgeris are by no means an objective and exhaustive ‘photo documentation’ in the narrow sense of the term, but rather highly poetic eulogies to a past, which serve both as homage and warning…Doulgeris’ photos of dust-covered machines are strangely reminiscent of portraits, not necessarily of family members or state officials, but rather of actors in an ancient Greek drama… Unlike the tragedies of ancient Greece, however, the drama played out in Doulgeris’ photographs imply a ‘happy end’, no matter how far away in the distant future this may be.”

Giannis Bolis and Domna Gounari note: “Purity and clarity of colours; precision in the composition; a solid, austere and contemplative use of form; vivacity and a scenographic practice that is decisively and clearly reflected in the end result: these are the elements that define this set of photographs by Christophoros Doulgeris…The machines — some out of order with visible signs of wear and terminal obsolescence; others modern and robust, at the peak of their function, but mostly autonomous and independent of the production chain they belong to — acquire a monumental quality, towering over space. They resemble surprising, postmodern “still lives” or archeological finds, evidence of industrial age technology or expressive futuristic sculptures. They are remarkable for the dynamism of their form, the powerful plasticity of their masses, their shinning metal surfaces, their steely architecture and geometrical design.”

Exhibition editors: Gérard A. Goodrow, Domna Gunari, Giannis Bolis

Exhibition duration: 18 June – 7 September 2018
Grand Sponsor of exhibition:
D. Nomikos S.A.

{slider The Photographs of Christophoros Doulgeris}

The Photographs of Christophoros Doulgeris

Our contemporary post-industrial information society –characterised more than anything else by the fact that the service sector of the economy generates more wealth than the manufacturing sector– has obviously reached its limits. And unfortunately, turning back the clock is not an option. This is especially apparent in times of economic crisis, of which Greece has certainly seen enough in the past several years. One symptom of this massive social shift is increased urbanisation, which is inherently accompanied by a decrease in and ageing of the population in rural areas.
Christophoros Doulgeris was born in Serres in northern Greece in 1975. Located in Central Macedonia, Serres is the capital of a largely agricultural district, with a focus on tobacco, grain and livestock. Since the late 20th century, it has also become a centre for the production of textiles and other manufactured goods. As a child, Doulgeris then moved with his family to the German city of Essen. The Northern European society he encountered during his youth in Essen was in the midst of a painful paradigmatic shift from a largely industrial (primarily coal and steel) to a service-based society and economy. Among his “heroes” at the time were a number of representatives of the so-called Düsseldorf School of Photography, students of the conceptually-based photographer couple Bernd and Hilla Becher, who, already in the early 1960s, set out to make an encyclopaedic photographic documentation of the rapidly disappearing monuments to the region’s industrial culture. It is thus no coincidence that Doulgeris would later study Sociology at the University of Crete and then Photography at the Camberwell College of Arts in London, thus setting the tone for his future career as a socially engaged photo artist.
The fact that Christophoros Doulgeris is indeed an artist –and not merely a photographer with a background in sociology– is clearly evident in his most recent series of colour images of defunct factory buildings and dust-covered industrial equipment on the island of Santorini. Like the rural school buildings that formed the focus of his previous project, the factories of Santorini are “beacons of Greek culture”, the centres of livelihood for thousands of residents of the small Cycladic island. The Nomikos family has recognised this and is currently in the process of transforming one of several defunct tomato factories into a space for contemporary art exhibitions and events.
Although in a certain sense “commissioned”, the works are by no means objective and exhaustive “photo documentation” in the narrow sense of the term, but rather highly poetic eulogies to a past, which serve both as homage and warning. As viewers, we are confronted with images of industrial spaces and machinery, some of which has not been used for more than forty years. This passing of time is more than obvious through the heavy layers of dust that have accumulated over the years, covering the machinery, workbenches and desks with a soft but fragile blanket. In this sense, Doulgeris’ photos can be seen as contemporary interpretations of the centuries-old tradition of the memento mori and vanitas motifs on a grand scale. The art historical term memento mori (Latin: “remember that you must die”) denotes a moralistically based reflection on mortality that goes as far back as the Middle Ages. At the centre of these reflections is the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits and, perhaps more importantly, the vanity (i.e. futility) of earthly life. On the surface, we have precisely this in the works of Christophoros Doulgeris, for what we have here are not so much images of a long-gone industrial tradition, but rather much more evidence of the passing of time, that is to say of transience and the futility of our all too human efforts to stop time, even photographically. “The passage from life to eternity”, Doulgeris explains, “as well as the idea of the ephemeron, which always has an expiration date, are ideas which have tormented me…”.
Contrary to traditional memento mori and vanitas motifs, however, Doulgeris’ images
–although warnings that we, too, shall one day perish– are only to a certain extent moralising. Yes, they do indeed point to the negative side of so-called economic and social progress, but their greatest strength is derived from the fact that they emit a sense of hope in the future –or at least in the present. The conversion of a defunct factory space into an exhibition space for contemporary art is but one, albeit prime example. In a certain sense, the artist is telling us with his photos that, although you cannot stop time, you can indeed make the best of what you have. The warning inherent in Doulgeris’ images are thus more than anything else a plea for carpe diem (seize the day).
Doulgeris’ photos of dust-covered machines are strangely reminiscent of portraits, not necessarily of family members or state officials, but rather of actors in an ancient Greek drama. The machines are depicted “life-sized” so to speak
–already here we have the notion, if only semantically, that the machines are somehow “alive”. The ragged tarpaulins draped over the metal machines are mentally transformed into cloaks, such as those worn by the great personalities of Classical Greece, then political, economic and cultural capital of the known world and cradle of western civilization. Images of the great philosophers Plato and Aristotle come to mind, but also of tragic mythological figures such as Oedipus and valiant heroes such as Theseus. Unlike the tragedies of ancient Greece, however, the drama played out in Doulgeris’ photographs imply a “happy end”, no matter how far away in the distant future this may be. His images of defunct factory buildings and dust-covered machines can thus be read as a plea to follow the example of the Nomikos family and take things –indeed to take our future– in our own hands, to become actively engaged in forming the future of our own society. In this sense, they are reminiscent of the so-called “Christ Principle”, which was developed by Joseph Beuys in Düsseldorf in the 1960s and forms the basis of his concept of Social Sculpture, which in turn describes art’s potential to transform society: “For now, it is no longer the case that God will help humanity as in the Mystery of Golgatha. On the contrary, this time, the Resurrection must instead be achieved by humanity itself”. It is perhaps no coincidence that the most effective slogan of the American sportswear company Nike (not coincidentally named after the ancient Greek goddess of victory) is “Just do it!” –an appeal, which also lies at the core of Christophoros Doulgeris’ images of dust-covered machines and defunct factories on the island of Santorini. Carpe diem! For your own sake –as well as for the sake of the numerous “beacons of Greek culture”!

Gérard A. Goodrow

 {slider A world of machines}

A world of machines

Purity and clarity of colours; precision in the composition; a solid, austere and contemplative use of form; vivacity and a scenographic practice that is decisively and clearly reflected in the end result: these are the elements that define this set of photographs by Christophoros Doulgeris, a series he has been working on for the past four years. The photo series depicts factories, industrial spaces and machinery. The photographs constitute a comprehensive proposition and configuration, a diverse connection of images and situations, an artistic concept, a cohesive artistic environment, one that is original and imaginative, gripping, allusive and abundant, rich in content, connotations and multiple readings. Doulgeris’ images address, communicate and interact with, evoke and aspire to something that extends beyond the manifest. These photos are imposing, by virtue of their power and exceptional aesthetic. The machines –some out of order with visible signs of wear and terminal obsolescence; others modern and robust, at the peak of their function, but mostly autonomous and independent of the production chain they belong

to– acquire a monumental quality, towering over space. They resemble surprising, postmodern “still lives” or archeological finds, evidence of industrial age technology or expressive futuristic sculptures. They are remarkable for the dynamism of their form, the powerful plasticity of their masses, their shinning metal surfaces, their steely architecture and geometrical design. The machines possess a life and defence of their own, acquiring a new role thanks to a process of transformation, reconstruction and “metamorphosis”. The artist expands and goes beyond the mere recording and capturing of the machines  (although this function is neither negated or omitted), aspiring to build a comprehensive, systematic and well-documented archive.

The machines are approached and immortalised like peculiar portraits or members of the human body. Doulgeris’ distinctive gaze and composition is conductive to such an approach, thanks to his symmetrical and balanced staging, the particular angles he chooses, and his distinctive combination of light, colour and cutting-edge image processing techniques. The atmosphere and environment surrounding the machines, as well as the general views of the interior and exterior of the industrial plants hosting them, acquire an unexpected, ambivalent, metaphysical and surreal tension. The photographs in this series build narrations about the past, present and future.

Life, creation and death, technological evolution, the crucial and controversial relationship between man and machine, are all prominent concepts that accentuate the more or less explicit symbolic references. Even the most modern machine will become obsolete and fall into disuse in the not too distant future. This photo series explores precisely this course, aided by the unique, almost experiential relationship Doulgeris has forged with his subject-matter, and by a conceptual approach, in which powerful ideas coexist with the exceptional technique of his sublime in situ photography. The relationship between aesthetic and cognitive value is mutual; beauty, perhaps magic as well, are present and elusive at the same time.

Giannis Bolis – Domna Gounari

 {slider Christophoros Doulgeris}

Christophoros Doulgeris

Christophoros Doulgeris lives and works in Athens, Greece. He studied Sociology at the University of Crete and photography at the Camberwell College of Arts in London. His work focuses on magic realism, photographing either details of abstract and urban architecture or familiar portraits from his daily environment. The notions of land and identity are recurring subjects of his work. Christophoros was voted “Photographer of the year 2014” by Greek magazine Athens Voice. He lives and works between Greece and Germany. His last show in Germany The Secret Life of the Machines, together with Konrad Klapheck and Willem Harbers, was curated by Gérard A. Goodrow. He is represented by Donopoulos IFA Gallery in Thessaloniki, Greece & Franzis Engels Gallery, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Christophoros Doulgeris has enjoyed more than fifty museum and gallery exhibitions, both nationally and internationally, including: State Museum of Contemporary Art (Thessaloniki, Greece); Contemporary Art Museum of Crete, (Rethymno, Greece); Photo Biennale 2010 & 2014, Museum of Photography (Thessaloniki); Fotonoviembre 2013 & 2015, International Photography Biennale, Centro de Fotografia Isla de Tenerife (Tenerife, Spain); Santorini Arts Factory (Santorini, Greece); Medphoto Festival (Heraklion, Greece); Athens School of Fine Arts (Athens); Descartes project space (Dusseldorf, Germany); Municipal Art Gallery of Chania (Chania, Greece);  Linshui Photography Festival (Linshui, China); Embassy of Cyprus, House of Cyprus (Athens); CAID – Scientia et Ars (Athens); Künstlergemeinschaft Hawerkamp (Münster, Germany); Franzis Engels Gallery (Amsterdam, the Netherlands).

Solo exhibitions (selection): Santorini Arts Factory (Santorini, Greece); Contemporary Art Museum of Crete (Rethymno, Greece); Künstlergemeinschaft Hawerkamp (Münster, Germany); Municipal Art Gallery of Chania (Chania, Greece). Christophoros Doulgeris has collaborated with several international curators including: Maria Maragou, Dr. Thalia Vrachopoulos (Ph.d.), Vagelis Ioakeimidis, Gérard A. Goodrow, Domna Gounari, Giannis Bollis, Sozita Goudouna, Megakles Rogakos, George Georgakopoulos and Stavros Kavalaris.

 

Purity and clarity of colours; precision in the composition; a solid, austere and contemplative use of form; vivacity and a scenographic practice that is decisively and clearly reflected in the end result: these are the elements that define this set of photographs by Christophoros Doulgeris, a series he has been working on for the past four years. The photo series depicts factories, industrial spaces and machinery. The photographs constitute a comprehensive proposition and configuration, a diverse connection of images and situations, an artistic concept, a cohesive artistic environment, one that is original and imaginative, gripping, allusive and abundant, rich in content, connotations and multiple readings. Doulgeris’ images address, communicate and interact with, evoke and aspire to something that extends beyond the manifest. These photos are imposing, by virtue of their power and exceptional aesthetic. The machines –some out of order with visible signs of wear and terminal obsolescence; others modern and robust, at the peak of their function, but mostly autonomous and independent of the production chain they belong
to– acquire a monumental quality, towering over space. They resemble surprising, postmodern “still lives” or archeological finds, evidence of industrial age technology or expressive futuristic sculptures. They are remarkable for the dynamism of their form, the powerful plasticity of their masses, their shinning metal surfaces, their steely architecture and geometrical design. The machines possess a life and defence of their own, acquiring a new role thanks to a process of transformation, reconstruction and “metamorphosis”. The artist expands and goes beyond the mere recording and capturing of the machines  (although this function is neither negated or omitted), aspiring to build a comprehensive, systematic and well-documented archive.

The machines are approached and immortalised like peculiar portraits or members of the human body. Doulgeris’ distinctive gaze and composition is conductive to such an approach, thanks to his symmetrical and balanced staging, the particular angles he chooses, and his distinctive combination of light, colour and cutting-edge image processing techniques. The atmosphere and environment surrounding the machines, as well as the general views of the interior and exterior of the industrial plants hosting them, acquire an unexpected, ambivalent, metaphysical and surreal tension. The photographs in this series build narrations about the past, present and future.
Life, creation and death, technological evolution, the crucial and controversial relationship between man and machine, are all prominent concepts that accentuate the more or less explicit symbolic references. Even the most modern machine will become obsolete and fall into disuse in the not too distant future. This photo series explores precisely this course, aided by the unique, almost experiential relationship Doulgeris has forged with his subject-matter, and by a conceptual approach, in which powerful ideas coexist with the exceptional technique of his sublime in situ photography. The relationship between aesthetic and cognitive value is mutual; beauty, perhaps magic as well, are present and elusive at the same time.

Giannis Bolis – Domna Gounari

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