Interview: Christos Ilias

Christos IliasImage courtesy of Christos Ilias

Interview: Christos Ilias

Luca Curci talks with artist Christos Ilias during LIQUID ROOMSVenice.

Christos Ilias was born in Albania in 1987. He studied in Athens University of Fine Arts (2006-2011) . He has done several group and solo exhibitions, some of which are : “100 years of Sculpture”, National Art Gallery (Albania), 2015; Liquid Rooms, Venice (Italy), 2014; Visual references to El GrekoArtSalon – Exhibition space G.A.K. (Greece); 2014; “The UnDivine Comedy” – National Historical Museum (Albania) 2011; “WEAR & DENATURATION” – ASFA (Greece) 2011; “Athens Photo Festival” – (Greece) 2010; “TUBERCULOSIS” – Sotiria Hospital, (Greece ) Publication 2014|; “Christos Ilias, mes gjuhes se skulptures dhe fotografise” – newspaper PANORAMA (Albania) Portfolio Review 2014; PhotoIreland Festival (Ireland).

Christos IliasImage courtesy of Christos Ilias

L. C. – Can you talk about your personal experience in Venice with International ArtExpo? How was your experience with the organization, the staff, the venue and all the artists involved?

C. I. – The exhibition “Liquid-Rooms” that took place at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi in Venice, was in every account a wonderful experience. During the exhibition I had the opportunity to come into contact with many artists from different countries and exchange ideas as well as opinions, inspired by the culture of each country, regarding art in general. The organizers’ experience was a significant factor concerning the choice of the ideal exhibition space, which provided the artists the possibility to present works of different visual arts (eg. painting, photograph, video, performance) in an artistically impeccable way.

Christos IliasImage courtesy of Christos Ilias

L. C. – Which was the moment you preferred most during the two openings?

C. I. – I found the openings of both exhibitions equally impressive. The works had been placed in a way that the more you explored the area and observed their diversity, the more an inner feeling of adventure gradually grew. This feeling came to a climax by the more interactive works, like the performances for example, during which you could see the spectators being actively involved. What was especially impressive was the fact that by looking at the works, anyone could imagine a completely personal story concerning the meaning of these liquid rooms, as well as what was taking place inside them.

Christos IliasImage courtesy of Christos Ilias

L. C. – Can you talk about the artwork you presented in Venice? How is it linked with the festival’s theme?

C. I. – My works mostly deal with the idea of the unconscious, a world that is characterized by fluidity and transformation, a world of liquid nature in a way, which takes shapes according to each human “vessel”. Therefore, it displays common characteristics with any liquid such as fluidity and adaptability to its carrier. It is also a vast, labyrinthine and polymorphous world, yet a fragmented one by each of us into many tiny pieces, or rooms as we could say. This, in a way, is a safety valve created by the conscious part of our self, so that when the average person tries to approach this world, his personality won’t be injured.

Christos IliasImage courtesy of Christos Ilias

L. C. – What are you currently working on?

C. I. – My works discuss a journey that is travelled upon an explorative path of the unconscious yet recorded by man reality, with its aim being to narrate it.  This reality, though it exists parallel to the world daily perceived by man, is concealed by the conditioning and projections of his personality. My aim, through artistic projection and construction of sculptural environments that resemble the unconscious reality, is to help Man to cross the portal that stands between these two realities and descend to this “new”, for him, realm so that when he becomes acquainted with it, he will come into contact with the innermost aspects of his existence. Also, through lifting fears he has faced and therefore comprehended, a kind of catharsis will occur and he will be able to integrate them and thus broaden and better himself.

Christos IliasImage courtesy of Christos Ilias

These fears and limitations are the outcome of the entrapment the human mind undergoes in its daily, degenerated reality of the Fall, for which there is an inner need to be breached so that Man can seize his true potential. By acting this way, he can build a new and improved outer reality and a more just social structure. This journey of interactions, considering that it is a personal experience, cannot be chronicled through conventional and therefore limited narrative techniques, as the existence of multiple different pathways renders it impossible. By connecting with this new Idea, he is forced to forge and be forged by an ever-changing environment, to which this journey impels him. In this kind of journey, every human being needs inspirers and fellow travelers, even spiritual ones. In my case, these were Hesiod, Plato, Dante, Kazantzakis and T.S. Eliot among others.

Christos IliasImage courtesy of Christos Ilias

For this perpetual change to be made understandable by the public, I employ many different materials, hoping to generate new artistic pathways. These are paper, wood, iron, nickel, wires, wire mesh, craft glue, black and white plastic, polyurethane, silicone, tar, sprays and plastic bags. My purpose in making use of materials that are, in their majority, common in daily life is to highlight how this process can be accessed by every human. Looking at these materials, one can notice that some are ephemeral and others more enduring, as a portrayal of the concurrently temporal and eternal nature of human existence. In conclusion, I wish to note that even though generations succeed one another, this journey continues, as it is caused by a deep inner call inside each human being.

Christos IliasImage courtesy of Christos Ilias

L. C. – What is art for you?

C. I. – For me, Art is the means which gives me the ability to express everything that I am unable to do with the use of words. I was always concerned by man in all his aspects and I was intrigued by the contradictory behaviours he employed in everyday life. These behaviours are displayed in my work not as an object of criticism, but as an attempt to understand and go deeper into the innermost human aspects. These aspects are difficult for all of us to approach, meet and comprehend even in our own self.

Christos IliasImage courtesy of Christos Ilias

L. C. – What do you think about International ArtExpo organization?

C. I. – The International Art Expo is an organization consisted of very experienced organizers. Looking back, we can see festivals, events and exhibitions that have been carried out under the aegis of the organization and are not confined to the borders of one country. This constant effort has gained the trust and respect of the public and artists. International ArtExpo is a very active organization as shown in the course of time which has utilized various communicative means that led to its recognition and establishment.

Christos IliasImage courtesy of Christos Ilias

L. C. – Do you think International ArtExpo organization can represent an opportunity for artists?

C. I. – I would highly recommend to any artist to take part in the events organized by International Art Expo, due to the diversity of the artistic means they present, since they are open to new ideas, experimentations and integration of artistic methods. Through these events, artists will be given the opportunity to expose and promote their work internationally, come into contact with the public, exchange views and become familiar with other cultures and therefore broaden their artistic horizons.

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