PANDELIS CHANDRIS: “Man is an island”
Insightful, rigorous and critical but warm interlocutor,
Pantelis Chandris, the awarded artist by the Association of Art Critics Hellas, talks about his “Island”, the dead ends and the pleasures of life with the tastes for cooking, to fellow artist Efi Spyrou, in Athens.
Pantelis Chandris "180⁰", 2010. Pencil on paper. 15x20cm each
EFI SPYROU: Artist “based in Athens.” What does this means
PANTELIS CHANDRIS: “Based in Athens”, means nothing. You are considered out of the larger map, out of the game.
Those who live and work in Athens live and work in a purely regional locality. Artists who live and work in London, New York, Berlin have a more extended target audience and
these are cities where things happen.
What do you doagainst this reality?
While I am working on my art projects, I make my living as a professor in the Athens School of Fine Arts.
Are you teaching what you are working on?
No. It would be tragic to teach what I am working on. To work, means trying to find a way to
create something. Exploring a personal issue. Besides, the allurement of teaching has to do with the process of dealing with the impasses of others.
With origins from island of Chios – do you feel that your homeland is your “island”?
My island, my place, is what I do. And to the extent that I can do it, I think I do it well. This makes me feel good, gives me confidence and security. I think everyone’s place is the conjunction of different things that give it a
sense of safety. This place, shelter, is the starting point for moving ahead.
Do you have your own shelter?
Shelter can be sometimes a trap. You see…all those things we often “manufacture” can create a microcosm in which we feel safe; a certainty which may be fictitious. But this microcosm prevents you from seeing the reality outside of it.
Your last work has to do with dialogue. Tell us more about it.
It’s an introverted, internal dialogue. A monologue.
A personal effort to acknowledge my bipolar nature that organizes me. And to reconcile with my other,
And what about the outside? Does it scare you?
What matters is how you converse with your own self. The nature of the dialogue determines the outcome. If someone speaks honestly with himself, begins to find the way to speak in sincerity with others.
Do we speak in sincerity?
We no longer care about each other. We live in a society which feeds a superego only through its system. A benign superego cannot converse with the other; obviously not with itself.
We see around us countless ads that relate to communication.
Communication though, does not exist.
Internet communication, telephone communication…an endless list.
We have lost personal and meaningful contact. Once people were saying a few words over a cup of coffee, now they are exchanging short messages with very small costs.
What is the financial situation of an artist today?
Depends on whom we refer to. There are artists who can survive through what they do and others are forced to resort to other sources of income.
Who are they? Are they categorized?
Different areas of creativity. Not categories. Creativity based on the average
preferences and creativity based on contemporary problem thinking, and research.
What is the role of the artist?
The role of the artist is to produce work. The artist cannot get the role of a trainer nor to popularize his art.
left: Pantelis Chandris "If and-may be", 2010. Pencil on paper. 182x90cm right: Pantelis Chandris "Soft chamber", 2009. Stuffed fabric and polyester resin. 280x60x50cm
In Greece of today what is your target audience?
The one that enters a gallery to see my work.
How many people go to a gallery to see contemporary art?
The question is who is prepared to confront a problem. A work of art is a problem to which there must be someone to stand up.
Tell us about the “problem” of your last exhibition.
My last exhibition concerns with the concept of dialogue; everything I have found through the course of my work in recent years.
What differentiates the new from the previous statements?
The reason again is the text, but the plastic response and thus the resulting morphology is quite different.
A new image?
The new always has to be
There is a tendency of recycling ideas, images. Artists either take advantage of their glorious past or they refer to safe solutions, suggesting something already conquered.
I was never in favor of recycling an image nor interested in the recognition of my work. The work of an artist can operate along a single backbone, which organizes things. There is no need to run on a superficial image that has to do with a consolidated picture of the artist.
My work is experimental… without saying that suggests the original, innovative… what I am waiting for is the result to surprise me first of all.
How the final result comes out? Through the process, research, memory?
What stimulated me all these years was an amalgamation of personal experiences, collective memory, cinema, literature, music. All these with the right filter, the proper process and proper handling in the right time become something. A result should be characterized by integrity, one component flowing through many balances, occasions, beginnings.
What are your expectations for the future?
My new exhibitions to be better than the previous ones.
What does a great Award such as The AICA Price, mean to an artist? Does it provide any help?
A recognition award is a great tool for an artist.
If a project travels easily, becomes part of great Exhibitions, is purchased by collectors ,subsequently
the development of the artist is supported.
Do you feel that major events, art prizes, celebrities and glamour have become one?
This happens always. There were always events around which celebrities gather. Something like the pollen that bees harvest.
Do you attend to glamorous events?
And how do you spend your evenings? Someone told me about your talent in cooking.
Laughter …. I cook to please good friends.
I suggest we finish this interview with a recipe for friends…
Laughter … liver with ginger
Pandelis Chandris: "The place of mind", 2010. Painted polyester resin, iron, projection. 250x280x350 cm