Beyond the event
By George Georgiou (UK) and Yannis Stylianou (GR)
The Beyond the event exhibition is our collaboration with the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography as part of this year’s PhotoBiennale Festival, curated by the British photographer of Cypriot descent George Georgiou. In the exhibition, the established photographer presents his most recent work in the form of a dialogue with Thessaloniki photographer Yannis Stylianou, who worked on a similar theme half a century before.
George Georgiou photographed parades in various cities in the USA against the backdrop of the Trump presidential campaign, producing a series of works entitled In the Company of Strangers: Americans Parade (2016–17). His black and white photographs maintain a strict distance from the event, focusing on the idea of the spectator. His detailed look offers us a glimpse of a scene in which he deals thoroughly with the urban landscape and the composition that encapsulates it.
Half a century earlier, in 1967, Yiannis Stylianou photographed the 25th March national holiday parade (commemorating the War of Greek Independence in 1821) in Thessaloniki, emphatically ignoring the official event, turning his lens instead to the restlessness of the crowd, the desire of the people to see, climbing on cars and scaling posts, and also to the spontaneous mix of classes and ages. A month later this spontaneity froze when, on 21 April, a military coup took place. Stylianou’s black and white photographs, in the spirit of humanist photography, engage the audience through gestures and expressions that attempt to capture the pulse of the day and of a particular era.
In the exhibition, Georgiou highlights both photographers’ dense, multilayered narrative in which no visible incident takes place and ordinary people are involuntary protagonists. The coupling of their work underscores the change of pace in their photographic approach: Georgiou adopts a distanced approach that captures in the same shot the allusive interrelation of people with the public space that contains them, whereas Stylianou seems to get as close to the unsuspecting citizens as his discreetness allows. Paradoxically, both artists reveal a great deal, although they are capturing something that exists beyond the frame.
25 September 2018, 20.30
25 September–25 October 2018
17 Nikis Avenue
546 23 Thessaloniki
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