|ALEXANDROS VOUTSINAS /
CHARITON DOUKAS / LEONIDAS KOURGIANTAKIS (HELLAS)
PORTRAITS OF VARIOUS FACETS OF TIME
SPONSORED BY I. & V. GERAMAS O.E.
PHOTOGRAPHY CENTER OF THESSALONIKI
Approaching these pictures with any degree of perceptiveness, the observer will discover that beyond
the thematically customary triad of body, landscape and object, deep down there exist links creating a
common axis that governs and characterises these images.
The two determinant elements that underlie and define that axis are the concept of the portrait and the
concept of time. The pictures in question are all portraits, to the extent that they are expressions of
and characterised by living features, the elements that constitute and define the human portrait in all
its various manifestations. That is, all these pictures arouse empossess sentiment, expression, motion
and - most importantly - a vibrant pulse and life, as if they were living beings.
This impression, which marks all the pictures, escalates and climaxes in the portraits of the aged. The
first series of photographs, photographs of objects, is divided into two categories according to the
nature of the subject. The first category consists of useful art objects, which are the mirror of an entire
age. They constitute different and autonomous entities, like all works of art bearing indelibly upon
themselves the imprint of the group of people who lived with them. They are portraits of a society, of
the culture that created them. The second category consists of mechanical objects, that express in
addition the beauty of the no longer useful, of the used, of the element that has completed its cycle.
They express the beauty of the worn, like the mixture of sweet pain and nostalgia in a beautiful old
face - a portrait.
The second series of photographs comprises evening landscapes and buildings, naked bodies, the
structural elements of a society. Every building, with its own body and its own unique constitution, is
a separate and distinct portrait.
The third series consists of human portraits, photographs of bodies, photographs that are,
tautologically and essentially, human portraits.
The second element that characterises and rules these pictures is the element of time. Along with
related manifestations, time leaves its mark on these categories of images. In the first series, the body
constitutes the most striking instance of the corrosive presence of time. The human body, the female
body, the universal symbol of beauty, as transmuted by the passing of time. The female body from
which time has stripped the flesh, transforming it into an emanciated, Biblical, figure, a Byzantine
saint. With the inner beauty that time has, despite everything, bestowed upon it.
Next comes the series of evening landscapes. Here, too, time is present. Perhaps a little harder to see,
a little harder to perceive, but still occupying a fundamental structural place in the constitution of the
images. The landscape, the buildings, the inanimate components that constitute a polity, a human
society, are by definition symbols - sculptures - of human creativity. Here time does not appear as a
consequence, in the natural wear and tear on objects and buildings: this is not what the pictures show;
this is not the point. They go farther, presenting another dimension of time: time as motion.
Heraclitus' ancient maxim "all is motion" finds its perfect application here. It is the contrast of
concepts, the contrast between the stationary building and the moving stream of time that gives life to
these photographs. The concept of time lost and time transformed, of time's motion expressed through
the imperceptibly blurred image.
The second category of objects is totally different, and expresses a diametrically opposite conception
and manifestation of time. These are mechanical objects and mechanical components of objects.
Objects that are the pre-eminent expression of the age that produced them, the age that invented them,
the technological development of their age made manifest.
Here, time is present in an entirely different way. Here, time has the primordial role, expresses the
beginning and the end of the objects, characterises the essence of their existence. At the moment of
their appearance, they represent all that is most advanced and modern in the technology of the age.
Once crippled by the fatal wounds of time, they are replaced by new objects, of newer technology, and
become essentially useless. They are born with an expiration date, they are bound and characterised by
time and its passing, they are at its mercy, they retain only a semblance of their original novelty, like
the bitterness of nostalgia.
Leonidas Kourgiantakis was born in Athens in 1973. He graduated from the department of
photography of the national Technological Educational Institut of Athens. He worked in the
Photographic department of the National Library of Greece.
Alexandros Voutsinas was born in Athens in 1974. He is about to graduate from the department of
Photography of the national Technological Educational Institut of Athens. He has been photographing
since 1991, and was represented with work in the group exhibition of his school in 1993.
Chariton Doukas was born in Athens in 1973. He is about to graduate from the department of
Photography of the national Technological Educational Institut of Athens. He has worked in the
public education sector, in a Technical Highschool where he taught basic technic in Black and White
photography. Today, he is working in the Graphic Arts.