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THEOPHILOS STOUPIADIS (HELLAS)
IMAGES OF A PLAIN COUNTRY II

28/2 - 20/3 1998
MYLOS GALLERY
ANDREOY GEORGIOY 56 / 525-968
DAILY 20.00 - 24.00



There can be no doubt that the environment in which we grow up, live and function has a decisive impact on the formation of our character. Here we are referring to the environment not only in its narrow sense of our family, but also in the broader meaning of our village, town, country or even continent.
Once the individual has as his basis the environment in which he grew up and spent the first years of his life - a village, a town or a wider setting - the idea of 'home' takes shape within him. Each of us maps out his 'home', his specific environment, in a different manner, in a unique way, by means of his familiarity with it and his ability to distinguish among each of its details. Every part of that specific place has its own small but distinctive story, and all of them together go to make up the jigsaw puzzle that is the individual character. The stories may be forgotten one day, but the atmosphere, the aroma, of the place with which they are connected will remain forever unchanged and indelibly engraved on our souls.
Yet visitors to the place will not immediately be able to discern either the atmosphere or all the little stories. They make up a set of items without any particular significance.
In the images, then, we have an emotional approach, while a prolonged absence from the location gives the photographer the right to stand back and produce a neutral photographic result. Each image is a record - the record of some specific place, of the photographer's 'home'. It is the photographer's attempt to record and depict his own portrait.
Images of a PlainCountry II is a continuation of the photographer's previous unit of work, entitled Images of a PlainCountry I. That first unit contains general shots of the area, recording and accentuating its particular atmosphere, but there was a need to capture more details of the elements of which those landscapes consist. The new images come closer to the landscape, and most of them contain specific information about the materials of earth or break the landscape down into pieces, thus ensuring that each photograph contains the outstanding features of the landscape.
These images can be read on two levels. On the first level, the photographs are to be taken in threes and give a general, panoramic view of the area (it should be stressed that the images are not continuous, or not entirely continuous, since this is of less interest than the fact that they all show the same place). The second level takes each photograph or image separately. Thus, in the first instance we have a general impression of the atmosphere, while in the second we penetrate more deeply into the landscape and come to know the materials of which it is composed. The repetition in some cases of the same features in all three photographs places the emphasis on the outstanding features of the landscape. There are no surprises in these photographs, in terms either of the landscapes (which are not 'pretty pictures') or of the way in which they have been photographed. The photographs function in a familiar, almost invisible way, thus promoting their objective and facilitating the direction in which they are moving. Time is of secondary importance in these images. There is no way of determining when the photographs were taken; they contain nothing which refers us to a particular moment in time or even a particular season of the year. Everything strikes us as being motionless in time. Although photography could be said to cut a specific piece of the visible world at a particular moment in time, here, in contrast to the initial idea of space-time in photography, the moment seems to possess duration. Even so, the landscape itself is alive and changes.
These photographs were not taken to keep memories alive. There is no desire for classification behind them, only a need to experience the space itself once more.

Theophilos Stoupiadis