The landscape is unbreakably connected with time. Every passing moment, the position of the Sun, the movement of the clouds, the Spring, the Summer, the Autumn, the Winter transform the landscape. Every time you visit a place, the picture you see is unique. Representations of physical space since the dawn of human history. Every era approached the landscape in a different way. Nowadays, photography and cinema use the landscape either as a basis to organize the narration, or as a dominant subject. There are many movies that deal with the subject of landscape, each one in its own way. What I recall most vividly from Ki-Duk Kim’s movie ‘Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring’, is a small wooden room on a platform floating in the centre of a lake surrounded by mountains. It was exactly this emphasis that the director bestowed on photography and the recording of the influence exerted on the landscape by the succession of the seasons, as well as with the understanding of how small and unimportant man is compared with the grandeur of nature, that made me contemplate once again the subject of my own choice...

Why the landscape?

 

The title is a bit misleading because it does not refer to a philosophical question but rather to an inner quest that arises from the effort to interpret my last works. At first, the subject I was trying to depict with my painting and photography referred to an interior architectural space, a man-made construction to isolate and protect man from the environment. A space constructed, imaginary or real which I was searching for many years now, lost in the architectural debris. There, I was struggling to detect the traces of human presence, signs imprinted in space, a sense of a certain activity.

I explored long corridors, rooms with weathered walls, windows closed with the scarce light trying to invade the desolate space. There were the cases, however, that a window was left wide open, a glimpse to the outside world. A way out of the isolating interior space. The window frame acts as a boundary sequestering a section of nature, presenting it as an independent picture. It acts as a photographic camera, the only difference being that the film is you. The twin nature of the open window, acting both as a photographic frame and as a gate from the inside to the outside, led me away from the dark interior to the vastness of nature. From the search of cracks that allowed the penetration of scarce light to a shattered interior, I was standing in front of a grandiose interplay of colours, textures and shapes.

The landscape is an abstract concept because it does not encompass the wholeness of nature, but just a fraction of it that we perceive as nature when we are not entangled with it via agricultural or other productive processes. The artist, as he watches nature, he secludes a fraction of it using sensory criteria in an effort to record the psychic tone of the landscape. This psychic tone creates a bond with the viewer, arousing his psychic world, unifying the individual depicted elements with the wholeness of nature, creating emotions he would have experienced, if he had been there. My contact with the landscape led me away from the dark interiors to a new world. From the search for human traces in an abandoned space, I found myself looking for the psychic tone of the grandeur of nature and with the process of photographic record I was creating photographic landscapes in order to transfer this psychic tone to the viewer, reminding him at the same time of the connection between man and nature. A connection that was, however, lost when we isolated ourselves inside the cities we built.

 

Christos Simatos

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