Socratis Socratous

Born in Paphos (Cyprus) in 1971. In April 2011, six years after his last solo exhibition, he presented his new work entitled Inviolable Refuge, at Omikron Gallery, Nicosia. In 2009 he represented Cyprus at the Venice Biennale with his work Socrates Socratous/Rumours, having as a curator Sophie Duplaix. A year later Socrates Socratous photographs Athens for the Athens’ and Epidauros Festival at the Benaki Museum. The artist has solo shows in Cyprus, Greece and abroad. He has also taken part in group exhibitions, for example in Paris (during the Paris/Chypre-La Saison Culturelle Européenne and Nuit Blanche), in Arles (Les Recontres d’Arles, Photographie) etc. In 2001 he represented Greece in the Tirana Biennial and in 2009 he participated in Thessaloniki Biennale 2. Socratous was the official photographer of the preparations for the opening of the 2004 Athens Olympics. Some of his works have been exhibited in Athens (National Museum of Contemporary Art, Kunsthalle, Museum of Cycladic Art, DESTE Foundation), at the Old Archeological Museum of Thessaloniki etc. In 2007 and 2008 Socratous undertook a commissioned project with Hermés-Paris in Dubai and Bahrain and in 2011 he was commissioned the artistic direction of Hermés-Paris group of shops in Venice. He has also taken part in the group exhibition (2011) Farewell at Kunsthalle Athena.

 

 … Having the same impulse as a starting point, the intention to examine the possibility for a non-existent place (u-topia in Greek is defined as no-place), for an inviolable refuge as he calls it, the artist turns to the urban landscape in search for answers. At a time when everything is falling apart and violated, this should remain untouchable, he suggests, offering shelter to the dream for a better life. Affected by recent violent incidents, racist attacks and social upheavals in urban areas around the world and especially in Athens, the artist transforms the city into his own “battle field” and strips her off her materials. Objects with which the citizen usually “armours” himself in order to express his resentment, his frustration and despair in an undeclared war against “the system”, become in the artist’s hands the raw materials for a different type of sculpture.

 

… From Plato’s Kallipolis in The Republic to Le Corbusier’s propositions, the city has been associated with the search for happiness and ideal coexistence. However, the urban landscape is often transformed into a place of violent conflicts and extreme behaviours. At the same time it is being constructed, transformed, recreated, it can be destructed, ruined, deserted and remain a city compromised by its own debris. This is something that Socratous engages with in his art. The artist identifies in the urban space what Mumford said: “the city is a theatre of social action”1.

Extracts from Elena Parpa’s text “The Cyprus Experiment” on Socratis Socratous’ work Inviolable Refuge, 2011.

 

1 Mumford, Lewis, “What Is A City?”. The City Reader. Richard T. LeGates and Frederic Stout, eds. London, Routlege, 1996, p.94.

 

Photos

The School, 2008 60 slides Courtesy Omikron Gallery, Nicosia,Cyprus
The School, 2008, 60 slides, Courtesy Omikron Gallery, Nicosia,Cyprus
The School, 2008, 60 slides, Courtesy Omikron Gallery, Nicosia,Cyprus
The School, 2008, 60 slides, Courtesy Omikron Gallery, Nicosia,Cyprus

Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011 Biennale de Lyon