Yiannis Papadopoulos

The Book of Stones

14 May -21 September 2019

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Kalfayan Galleries are pleased to present the solo exhibition of Yiannis Papadopoulos (b. 1975 Patras) titled ‘The book of stones’. The exhibition at Kalfayan Galleries (11 Haritos Street, 106 75, Athens) opens on Tuesday, 14 May 2019, 20.00 – 22.00.

[…] There are intellectual activities where it is not the big books but the short monographs or articles that constitute a man’s proud achievement. If someone were to discover, for instance, that under hitherto unobserved circumstances stones were able to speak, it would take only a few pages to describe and explain so earth-shattering a phenomenon.

from Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities, p. 264

Yiannis Papadopoulos’ first solo exhibition at Kalfayan Galleries reflects upon the artist’s research and artistic experimentation during his residency at WIELS in Brussels. The paintings presented in the show constitute a visual essay on archetypical shapes/actants, which he collects and studies and which are deeply rooted in his daily work practice.

This new series of works is in fact the precipitate of Papadopoulos’ intensive studio work without electricity and the walks he took upstream a river, from Patras to the inland of Peloponnese. More specifically, the main source of inspiration in his new works are stones, taken from the river Glafkos. A torrent which flows into the Ionian Sea south of the center of Patras, the birthplace of the artist. He collected the stones during the winter season when the river was raging and dangerous. The choice for this specific river is in relation to the role it has as a connection point inland, or as a frontier post which connects or divides. The collecting of stones is followed by a thorough filing and study in accordance with the artist’s long-term fascination with Classical Studies, Mathematics and Sciences. At the same time Papadopoulos organized a color scale based on the role of colors in typography, a discipline that the artist invariably researches within his publishing platform OMBLOS imprint. The artworks’ elementary materials, such as the cotton fabric or paper, hail from ‘Piraiki Patraiki’ (the largest Greek Industry of cotton textiles and ready-to-wear garments, 1919-1996) and from the Ladopoulos paper factory in Patras (1928-1991) were also chosen based on their relation to the city where the artist lives and works. All stages of production and every single choice related to form, media, working conditions (there is no electricity in the artist’s studio), materials and ways of presentation are an integral part of each work.

Yiannis Papadopoulos’ paintings echo his obsession with allegories and symbols related to the earth as a surface of nature and source of energy. Characteristic of his multifaceted artistic practice is the way in which Papadopoulos understands and relates to artistic production, with a methodology that balances between poetry and science.


Extracts from the artist’s notebook:

-                A way for someone to enter from the prefecture of Achaia to the Inland of Peloponnese is against the river stream of Glafkos, which during the months of winter is very raging, especially this year when there was a lot of rain.  i, ii, iii, iv, and v were found at the river banks.

-                At the auction 9376/17 Απ. 81322 Μ. 1163 , F.M. acquired a large amount of cotton fabrics of ‘Piraiki Patraiki’, which I have been buying systematically because I find it has an exquisite type of grain. The fabric should not be washed though. It will shrink more than 20% and its structure will change.

-                With the change of winter time I earned one more working hour; since April I can work at the studio from sunrise until 20.00h. [...] while for the drawings I follow a working method which resembles that of an ‘administrative curve tracking control’.