The Breeder is pleased to present Jannis Varelas’ solo exhibition “New Flags for a New Country”, which consists of two parts.
The first part is the series of large-scale painting “New Flags for a New Country” whose main intention is to map a maximalist system of recording and shaping the notion of absent-mindedness. This concept is directly opposed to the ideological prescripts of neo-liberalism today. It is in essence a proposal juxtaposed to the notions of competitiveness, concentration and efficiency and productivity.
The context shaped here conveys the intention of the artist to produce an aesthetic treaty outside of the rational commands of a production process. It is organized as an ensemble of notes, for the final result to be understood as the general imprint of a creative behavior.
The artist is not interested in the organization of a fictional model that will function as a narrative structure, rather than the process of depicting a parallel negotiation that starts from the conventional reality and through the actual procedure of artistic production, leads to a parallelism also captured here.
The resulting process is an irrational way of expression that aims to stay tuned with an intuitive perception of reality. The narrative does not exist as an objective stake, only as a recollection or a thing heard amiss, like the sounds of a lecture that are transformed in the ears of an absent minded student, who at the same time scratches his desk, into something illogical but simultaneously essentially real.
The second part of the exhibition is a four hour long performance that coexists with the paintings. The performance is realized by five characters: a bear, a rabbit, an anchor, a banana and a caterpillar who perpetually work on a production line whose result is never revealed. The structure of the performance is a direct reference to the revolutionary theater of the 50s and 60s in San Francisco and especially to the work of Ronnie Davis and San Francisco Mime Troupe, but also to the narrative structures of the theater of the absurd.
A parallel world to the paintings is thus created, like an almost secret production line, that captures the process, upon which what we call real is constructed. The characters put through an intricate process that seems coordinated towards a very important output that is actually never realized.
Jannis Varelas (b. 1977) lives and works between Los Angeles, Vienna and Athens and is a graduate of the Royal College of Art in London (MFA) and the Athens School of Fine Arts (BA).
Selected solo shows include: “Sleep My Little Sheep Sleep”, Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati, Ohio, curated by Xenia Kalpaktsoglou (2012); “The Oblong Box”, Kunsthalle Athena, Athens, curated by Marina Fokidis in collaboration with Jannis Varelas (2011); “Brandybell Series” Autocenter, Berlin (2010); “Blue Soldier-Opera Costumes”, The Breeder, Athens (2009).
Selected group shows include: “Paper – works from the Saatchi Collection”, Saatchi Gallery, London (2013); “Hell As Pavillion”, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, curated by Nadja Argyropoulou (2013); “DESTE Prize 2011”, Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens (2011); “Skin Fruit: Selections from The Dakis Joannou Collection”, curated by Jeff Koons, New Museum, New York (2010); “Lebt und arbeitet in Wien III: Stars in a Plastic Bag”, Kunsthalle Wien, curated by Xenia Kalpaktsoglou, Raphaela Platow, Olga Sviblova and Angela Stief (2010); Cairo Biennial, curated by Ehab Ellaban (2010); New Orleans Biennial Prospect 1, curated by Dan Cameron, New Orleans (2008); “Destroy Athens”, 1st Athens Biennial, curated by Xenia Kalpaktzoglou, Poka Yio and Augustine Zenakos, Athens (2007).