Michail Pirgelis

Born (1976) in Essen, Germany, and raised in Xanthi, Greece. He lives and works in Cologne, Germany. He studied at the Kunstakademie of Düsseldorf (2004-2009). Pirgelis’ artistic practice explores the sculptural possibilities of decommissioned airplane parts. Through his work, what he seeks to explore is the notion of “fragility” as he calls it, as an aspect of
“psychological experience”. Man’s dream of flying, if not the hubris associated with it, embodies this fragility by drawing the finest of lines between complete success and total failure. Flight will always be an unnatural phenomenon for human beings and the ability to comprehend the science of flight -the one that makes it technologically possible- remains for many the very thing we attempt -perhaps out of fear- to psychologically defer if not repress. Solo exhibitions: Aeromaritime, Artothek (Cologne, 2011); Los Angeles, Galerie Monika Sprüth Philomene Magers (London, 2011); Akropolis, Galerie Monika Sprüth Philomene Magers (Berlin, 2010). Group exhibitions: Neues Rheinland, Museum Morsbroich (Leverkusen, 2010); Der Westen leuchtet, Kunstmuseum Bonn (2010); Great Expectations, ArtLab21 (Los Angeles, 2008); Quattro Stelle, the Villa Romana (Florence, 2007); Play, at the Stadtmuseum Düsseldorf (2005).


Ι’m always after airplanes. I’m actually looking forward to their ultimate landing. They are the transit, the passageways of contemporary migrations from and to diverse environments and temporary dwellings; in other words, the entrances that smoothen the vibrations of the unbearable awkwardness associated with “authentic” origin and locality. This bounds to be a claim of rhetorical territory rather than a geographical one.  I don’t know whether or not Untitled #8 is an android ready-made. Possibly it is. A ready-made, a large part of which wants to go back home, while half of it remains where it is being exhibited. A trans-modern shell driven by water in the hard sand of a river, where white-haired women beat wrinkled cloths upon stones. It is preserved in a situation of a perpetual balance between the heterogeneity of its surface and the imbalance of its own skeleton. Its roughness is nothing but a self-complacent remark of its romantic fragility. It refuses to choose direction. It is suspended in a state of waiting, only to remind us that it is land, roots and being in common –through self-empowered departures– that are worth taking about. Untitled #8 has the aura of a contemporary totem; it shifts its body to protect migratory narrations.

Eleni Garoufalia’s summer notes about Michail Pirgelis’ personal wonderings.


Untitled (from Air saddles #8 series) 2011, Original airplane part (window frame), aluminium abraded, rubber, 240 x 60 x 58 cm, Courtesy the artist and Qbox Gallery, Athens and Sprueth Magers, Berlin-London

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