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NINU NINA Interviews / – FEB 17 >>>
Today A Conversation with Stylianos Schicho
Portrait Photo: Daniel Lichterwaldt
Greatest inspirations or influences?
If you are an artist – everything is a possible influence – the world is full of strange and fascinating things – these create disappearing images, and art is trying to keep some of those images for the future.I keep emphasizing that the so called namedropping is nothing, but role models are important in the way of creating an example – how to attain certain things within your art – delivering a constant demand towards yourself and your art – because the biggest critic is the artist her/himself.
Important for me is questioning the inner self, while I am trying to analyze the outcome .
What are those images – which patterns do appear… ?
What are ongoing issues in the global society?
What is this collective consciousness in the time of social distance and lockdown. . ?
Tell us a bit about your creative process?
It’s difficult to talk about your own work, it’s like being a bird and an ornithologist at the same time.
But my focus has always been to observe socially relevant flows, currents, tensions and other issues- in order to transform them into art. In short, to map and depict global social events. In addition my image formats usually inevitably confront. I want the viewer to think that, due to the format, they want closeness, almost force it. For the personas in my pictures, this also means that their disguises do no longer offer protection. In recent works, the figures with their semi-transparent bodies turn their backs on the viewer. You can recognize a certain refusal, a turning away, maybe the ultimate retreat, a persistent, circular border around the protagonists separates them with thick lines of coal. Their territory is being staked out. You have been delivered, only the white space around the screen still offers some freedom.
In my opinion, the current situation has developed rapidly, into something explosive – politically and socially.
In 2017, I did create a piece that can be seen as an analogy to the work “Angelus Novus” by Paul Klee from 1920. Its interpretation by Walter Benjamin provided an approach in terms of content in which my years of work accumulated. Out of an impulse I drew an owl in the dust of an old glass door as a reference to Angelus Novus, Klee’s angel of history. It stops with its open wings against the wind of progress, wants to bring rescue, but can no longer close its protective wings. The owl is driven backwards into the future. An additional aspect is the angle of the light reflected on the dusty glass and its shadow play, creating a double image. Something always remains hidden from us, is swallowed up by the outline that we ourselves cast on the glass surface. It is no longer a question of our being observed, no longer primarily about the surveillance apparatus and today’s communication society. My main concern is to be aware of one’s own perspective, to recognize one’s own blind spots. It is, in a significant way, about the point of view that we take and whether we can let ourselves be moved from here and live with the downside that emerges.
How has this year changed your creativity or how you see the world changing moving forward?
To be honest, as an artist, I am used to loneliness and isolation in the studio. If a comparison can be drawn at all, it is like the work of a lighthouse keeper … so not exactly sociable – but the real adventures with artists take place in the head.
The great art is always to deceive oneself in order to be able to break new ground, both formally and artistically.
At the moment the past – in form of my old works – seems to be catching up with me – due to the precarious current situation – the images do resemble the reality, although I’m not talking about a Cassandra effect. The result is a very strange and uneasy feeling … it is like I’m starting to wait …for my own past…to become past, but it won’t stop – being future… like a daily routine of going in circles…At the same time it is worrying for me, to see my pictures become (somehow) real.
Modern human life is a constant struggle between closeness and distance, communication and interaction, intimacy and isolation – these points have always been the focus of my work and have now become even clearer and omnipresent. A scenario that we all now know from our daily life is the encounter of sober, evasive looks, while important facial expressions remain hidden by the face mask. It is that seemingly distant attitude that my characters also express.
Anything else you’d like to share?
At the moment exhibitions and presentations that I have been working towards have been postponed. Visiting friends, art enthusiasts and collectors is difficult or impossible and it is also impossible to meet people … and many of us are in this situation. Nevertheless there’ll be a solo-exhibition at gallery -Hilger NEXT- at the end of April in Vienna, I hope to see you there.