DIMITRIS DOKATZIS

Αctivism Is Poetry in Full Swing

May 20 – July 4, 2015

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Qbox in collaboration with The Apartment, presents “Activism is Poetry in Full Swing”, an exhibition of new works by established Greek artist Dimitris Dokatzis.

 

Activism is Poetry in Full Swing, the work that sets the tone for the entire exhibition, is a wall - based text piece, which refers to the ambiguity of language. In particular, it castigates political sloganeering and makes a point about the use of language in political communication campaigns and the rhetoric of the text. The work follows on from similar text works that the artist has presented in the past – most recently at the 4th Athens Biennial - and puts forward the artist’s ongoing exploration of the omnipresence of language and its indisputable role in the re-cognition and re-presentation of reality.

 

The artist’s interest in the city (polis), understood in the Ancient Greek sense of the word in its full political and social complexity, has led him to look closely at central squares. Dokatzis’ observation focuses on squares as sites for political debate and platforms where political dramas are often played out. With a multitude of references from constructivism and the Russian avant-garde to Post-war abstraction, the artist reduces the “square” to its basic colours and forms. Executed with industrial paint on metal sheets, these works underline the fluid boundaries between sculpture and painting, minimizing gesture and bringing materials to the foreground. 

 

And yet his project is not one of materiality or of painterly abstraction, but rather one of engaged abstraction. By revisiting ideologically loaded sites such as Taksim Square (Istanbul), Tien An Men (Peking) or the Greek Constitution Square, the artist embarks on an exploration of abstraction in socio - political terms, thus bridging the gap between high modernism’s notion of the autonomy of art and the contemporary desire to delve into the complexities and contradictions of our world.

 

Considering how many of these squares have now become sites of consumerism and social exhibitionism, the artist once again introduces his concern with the reading of the image and the re - interpretation of something predefined. Obstacle further highlights these concerns in the most astute manner: a chunky construction reminiscent of some sort of road block, Obstacle refers to the desire of the governing class to monitor and control demonstrations, protests or other activist moves, often deemed as threatening or subversive to the system. But Dokatzis goes even further: he attempts to “block” the visitor of the exhibition from adopting a complacent view of art and politics, and challenges him / her to take a position. 

 

Dimitris Dokatzis had his first solo exhibition at DESMOS, a historical cutting-edge gallery, in Athens, which was associated with minimalism and conceptual art. Since then, he has exhibited widely both in Greece and abroad. His work was recently included at the 4th Athens Biennial and is currently on view at Incubarte Festival in Spain. Dokatzis' artwork is in the collections of major museums and institutions, including the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art of Thessaloniki, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Crete, and the DESTE Foundation, Athens.