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Telémachos Alexiou: The Culture of Refusal
April 14, 2016 - April 16, 2016
Thursday, April 14, 6-9pm
Friday, April 15, 12-6pm and 8-11pm
Saturday, April 16, 12-6pm
SCREENING: Queen Antigone followed by conversation between Alexiou and Zackary Drucker
Friday, April 15, 8-11pm
Telémachos Alexiou is an artist whose medium is pictures. They can move as videos, they might flicker as movies or just attempt to freeze a moment for a posterity they will never know – but they all share a power whose intentions aim straight for the heart and mind.
In his films – most notably “Queen Antigone” (Germany, 2014), a road movie about contemporary Greece that is as political as it is personal in the way that only tragedies can be – a world of symbols and allusions clash with reality. Hostile to the lyricism of truth, preferring to remain addicted to its own legends, life becoming a teetering diva whose self-inflicted demise becomes a final act as necessary as it is unavoidable.
This need to reach catharsis, to find closure, to achieve conclusion is a constant theme in the work of Alexiou – no statements are left half-said, everything and everyone has a defiant stance in the play of life and death: sex, relationships, emotions, thought, wants, needs, frustrations and happiness are all equal on a stage that dares you to ignore the spectacle.
Full of bodies bearing witness, his work is fiercely confrontational, in both format and content – brutally direct video installations document the exuberant uniqueness of icons such as Vaginal Crème Davis or the artist and curator Dimitris Antonitsis; experimental in subject but crystal-clear in form photographs associate random visions that lurk between fetish and lyricism; texts violate the reader with ancient rage and contemporary seduction; everything about his visuals is meticulously meant to explode in the retina like a burst of a strong yet sophisticated mind-altering substance, subtle in effect yet effective in distortion of consciousness.
Telémachos Alexiou is a next generation artist, discussing his temptation to exist beyond the sarcasm and idolatry that has been dominating the main discourses in the contemporary art world – he arrives with a declaration of belief whose self-definition is as defiant as the ancient culture his work is a part of.
The culture of refusal to compromise one’s freedom.
Panagiotis aka Otis Chatzistefanou (Mr.)
Editorial Director for www.nakedbutsafe.com
Telémachos Alexiou’s second feature length film “Queen Antigone” is a sumptuously visualized allegory of the current, dismal, geopolitical situation of his fatherland. Framed in exquisitely aestheticized vignettes and fusing allusions that refract references from Sophocles to Gregory J. Markopoulos and from Michelangelo Antonioni to Jack Smith, the scenario of this intense and stylish movie follows a disenfranchised young woman and her teenage brother as they desperately attempt to escape the double burden of historical inheritance and contemporary bankruptcy. An elegy about the spiritual breakdown of a nation, the narrative resonates with barely contained rage, unfolds at a meditative pace and ultimately ignites the screen with a volatile combination of existential emergency, languid lyricism and spectacularly modern photography.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Telémachos Alexiou is a twenty-something filmmaker and artist who, during his childhood and teens, received formal ballroom dance training and won several national titles. At the age of 17, he moved to London to study Communications and Visual Culture at the London Metropolitan University and three years later to Berlin, where he studied Film Theory at the Freie Universität and started working as a filmmaker and artist. His diverse body of work includes narrative feature films, media installations, performance art and photography. Among other places, his work has been hosted by the Berlin IFF, the Thessaloniki IFF, the Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art in a mini-retrospective of his films, the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin, the HAU Berlin, the Los Angeles Outfest, Queer Lisboa 16, etc.
Apart from his own films, Alexiou has worked with other filmmakers and artists, including Bruce LaBruce, Zackary Drucker and Vaginal Davis.
Queen Antigone (2014)
Directed by Telémachos Alexiou
Produced by Jürgen Brüning & Telémachos Alexiou
Music: Sergei Rachmaninoff