These pictures are the outcome of a three-year photographic wandering of two photographers –Vassilis Konstantinou and Babis Kougemitros– in their places of origin; the provinces of Achaia and Arcadia respectively.
In the context of this wandering, the photographers direct their gaze and lens
to things simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar, focusing on the intermediate zones between the past and the present, the old and the new –zones still coexisting
in the countryside.
This is a photographic endeavour of remapping not only the familiar landscapes
of childhood memories –landscapes now in a state of radical transition– but also
of the people dwelling in them and cultivating the earth. In Peloponnese, this southern part of Greece (which is also the southern border of Europe), the interesting thing lies in the co-existence –at times harmonic, at times full of tensions– of native people, economic migrants and internal immigrants – that is, young people who left the big cities to experiment with different ways of life.
The place and the cultivation of the land is what binds these people on one level, and yet builds new borders and boundaries between them, on another: borders
and boundaries symbolic and imaginary, hence imperceptible. Their co-existence marks the emergence of a place different and uncharted; a bizarre landscape neither beautiful nor ugly, in a process of deep transform tion and reshaping –a liminal landscape.
Using the special characteristics of this southern part of Europe as their background, the two photographers capture a moment of the complex everyday life of these people and landscapes, informing the viewer about their specificities and the identity of all the small and insignificant things which construct their reality, while remaining unseen.
Through their different versions of artistic documentary, Babis Kougemitros
and Vassilis Konstantinou designate their places of origin in the south border
of Europe without pursuing a “typical” representation of the latter –only attempts of interpretation, often in a fragmentary and contradictory fashion.
Vassilis Konstantinou’s project under the tittle’ unintentional
sculptures’ was realized during the years 2015-1017 within the
suburban landscape of Attica (Greece), which has gone through a great deal of
changes due to the economic crisis.
The photographer explores the landscape and decides to focus and
highlight the man-made constructions that reveal the economic and
building activities of the recent past.
These constructions – some unfinished and some timeworn – have finally
transformed the natural landscape with their enigmatic forms in the
most permanent way.
The union of two people resulted in me. I didn’t choose my existence; I didn’t choose my progenitors; I didn’t choose my name; nor did I choose all those traits that identify myself.
What is it that people see, when they look at me and identify me as myself? How does a third person perceive me through this image? In what extent can I guide his view and make him see me through my eyes? And is that the real me? Pirandello claimed that multiple personalities live within each one of us and we present different personalities to different people. Thus, me trying to concentrate all my personalities in just one is practically infeasible. Besides, as my descriptions cannot be precise, since every person gives different meaning to the same words, likewise my image reflects a different me to each viewer.
Through these self-portraits, I build an image of myself, having everything under control, or at least thinking I do. However, minuscule things always elude control and in this infinitely short time, what I perceive as an accident, will complete the image in the most unexpected unique way.
In the end, this is how I choose to depict myself, because this is how I wish to present myself, this is how I want to be remembered, or maybe this is simply how I recognize myself.