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Always Watch What the Hands Do

March 10 – April 21, 2007

Essay by Efi Strousa

Pavlos Nikolakopoulos’ first solo exhibition at Qbox is entitled Always watch what the hands do and consists of two works:

The in situ installation Always watch what the hands do (2007) addresses the essence of hand craftsmanship and occupies the larger part of the gallery space. The artist has used stones – mine debris – and wire to construct a meditation enclosure into which the visitor is invited to contemplate while seated on a metal chair.


The work Between light and dark (2005) dimensions 140 x 140 cm, addresses the Body. Thin wires and the artist’s nails, collected over 7 years, are tightly interwoven creating a thin web onto which a faintly drawn hand breaks the motion of a foot (or is it the foot that drags the hand?).


Pavlos Nikolakopoulos takes a critical stand on the model instituted by the Enlightenment. His critique centers on time saving, on the pursuit of economic profit or the maximization of utility. The artist, “wasting” time and energy, invites the public to enter the installation, to look at the minimum (debris and nails) and to contemplate on what is work (as in W used in physics); not in terms of the artistic or manual work but rather as to what each of us does when our day begins. According to the artist, work is the command given by the brain to breathe. The rest is up to us.


The last work segment of Pavlos Nikolakopoulos is no more than the continuation of his strives with the process of creation. Under the wider title Always watch what the hands do, the artist’s tetralogy consists of interpretive pieces of the human economy. The work addresses the fundamentals of thought, the study of human action, the power of the imaginary, and the dexterous and regular intensification of hand motion.


The other two pieces of the segment are: The nous shapes, having the right to incomprehensibleness (2005) dimensions 130 x 210 x 40 cm, which addresses the Speech and was created from the texts the artist has kept since 1996, while the piece examining the Imaginary is entitled Vehemens Animalis Imaginatio (2006). Thousands of interwoven razors are forming a scaly surface (200 x 350 cm) which is partially fanned producing a rustling sound.


Common characteristic of all four pieces is the process of creation, whilst the choice of forms is derived from the artist’s known vocabulary of symbols. The time-consuming and repetitive weaving brings the artist closer to a meditative state; the dexterous and regular hand motion frees the mind.

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