STYLIANOS SCHICHO – “… it’s cold out here”    

In the view from above, the earth appears as an unpopulated globe. Zoom in, and a view appears of regions and cities, houses and roadways, playgrounds and parks, cafes and stores, all populated by humans who appear tiny, like ants, occupied, engaged in a multiplicity of movements. The view from above relativizes the action. It strips the individual of particularity. and dissipates into the countless paths of the masses. Such an overview of the viewer is primarily based on this moment of his unobservedness, aloofness, and distance.

What if, however, curiosity strikes? If the view creeps ever closer, for those who are interested in checking out life below in more detail? It involves the unavoidable risk of the voyeur: being caught in the act by a sudden, disturbingly inverted gaze.

The pictures of the painter Stylianos Schicho reveal such instants of immobilization in which time stops, but at the same time, everything overwhelms. The observer loses his bird’s-eye view and is suddenly sucked into the ant’s world. And the observed ones suddenly see themselves reflected. They sense themselves under a stranger’s view, which relativizes their inattention and their attention at the same time — a deer-caught-in-headlights effect.

Where surveillance uses technology as a channel, the private eye as a discoverer stays anonymous. The view is there, but the viewer is missing. In such a panoptic situation, in which humans gaze meets the lense, a direct confrontation is missing. Instead, movements towards withdrawal begin: the retreat of the observed ones under the observing gaze. The ones who observe become more and more hidden, the observed ones expose themselves – an ever larger hunger for detail.

Stylianos Schicho, sees this development rather pessimistically. One may not nevertheless let go. It should be possible to capture at least one moment of waking up and becoming aware. (wh/jn)