Artist/Maker: Nikos Aliagas (b. 1969)
Edition: Limited (15 pieces)
Object/Materials and Techniques: Photographic Paper / Photo Rag® Baryta de Hahnemühle/ 315 g/m² · 100 % Cotton · White · High Brilliance
Date: Captured in 2019
Dimensions: H. 42 cm. x W. 29.7 cm.
Art style: Fine Art Photography / Black & White Photography
Current Location: Artist’s collection
➞ This is a limited edition artwork of Nikos Aliagas, inspired by Hellas, offered exclusively to the International Foundation for Greece (IFG) for public benefit sale through the |’n Art| gallery online platform.
Curator’s note: It is widely known that Nikos Aliagas is drawn by hand photo shots. Throughout his artistic career, he has captured the hands of several people including renowned personalities.
Additionally, he loves dealing with time and age stigmas on the human body and hands, one of the most favourite themes of his.
Nikos Aliagas’ photographs of weather-beaten, worn by labour chipped hands, with marks and folds, skins that inscript the timeline of a life, are broadly acknowledged for their strong impact to the viewer.
As he himself has stated: ‘I love taking pictures of hands because you can change your face with plastic surgery or make-up, the way I do when I’m on TV, you can try and look younger, but your hands… you can’t change them. They will always be the same and they carry the weight of time, often they say what you don’t.’
In the present photography work on offer, the portrayed aged hands of an ordinary elderly Hellena from a rural region, fidgeting with the characteristic Hellenic worry beads known as ‘komboloi’, conjure a sense of the personal life story that lays beneath; a sense that further evokes an emotional, nostalgic atmosphere for Nikos Aliagas’ ancestral Hellas, and the soul of Hellenes.
The hands of the man in the photo act like a ‘functional sculpture’, an organic entity, with its own sovereignty, character and an unspoken voice deep inside.
The detachment from a specific locus, intentionally or unintentionally, especially the homeland, is incorporated in the general context of distancing oneself from a particular state of life, a situation, the inevitable consequence of which, is the outpouring of emotions such as remembrance and nostalgia. However, simultaneously, within the core of this emotional experience, a dynamic psychological field of ‘disembodiment’ of what memory produces is methodized, having as a result, on one hand, the redemptive repulsion of any suffocating memory, and, on the other hand, the activation of an objective code of approach towards and perception of that distant locus, in its multiplicity and wholeness.
It is this exact impartial reception of the acting reality that distinguishes the rich photographic work of the Hellenic-born, multifaceted Nikos Aliagas, resident of the French capital, as this is recorded in the album about an extraordinary country like Hellas.
Free from any clutter and forced wear or emotional charge as brought about by the daily habit, each and every return to his homeland is lined by an endless photographic caption of the majority of the hellenic scenery. Through a very personal archive of memories and stimuli, plus having as main driver the revelation of time and truth of things, the process of capturing is articulated and built on a harmonious integration of the memory reference, the past component, recent or distant, along with the pulsating present element.
The timeless ‘language’ of Hellas through the camera lens of Nikos Aliagas is recorded and transformed into a photographic narrative, vested by the power of legacy. Through an energetic and relentlessly honest sight, he becomes involved with an idiosyncratic archival process of composing and projecting a world of images, absolutely unique, completely personal, which, at the same time and without reaching out for it on purpose, permeates the general public, affects many people, concerns, represents, expresses them and becomes their voice.
This ability of Nikos Aliagas to produce a thread, a line of communication with the mass, is the key factor that further makes him timeless and global. A parameter, among others, that acted as a catalyst in him being announced as an Honorary Patron of the International Foundation for Greece (IFG).
Integrated in an ecumenical and universal environment, he gives to the nature of his works characteristics of collectivity and worldview, automatically internationalizing their hellenic identity and, furthermore, his own hellenic origin; a factor that works cumulatively with the central beliefs of IFG in terms of contributing to the expansion and promotion of the contemporary national cultural scene, and the development of international synergies and collaborations.
The obsessive and relentless pursuit for the capture of the moment turns his photo albums into calendar palimpsests of a time series, both through the past prestige and current charm of cities, country-sides, islands, neighbourhoods, streets, monuments, populations of the hellenic land.
His preference to reproduce his shots in the doric scales of white and black, as visually reflected in the negative of a film, contributes exponentially and catalytically to the highlight of the rare, unpretentious beauty of the subjects, intertwined with a subcutaneous feeling of pride for his origin.
Therefore, in this group of photographic works of hellenic theme, unknown or familiar hearths of homeland life unfold, natural landscapes, human-geographical features, historical aspects, architectural facets and stylistic idioms, mores and customs, traditions, cultural references or local particularities. Inter alia, people’s encounters and occurrences, physiognomies, portraits of all kinds, invisible joys, inward secrets, archaeological sites, temples, monuments and sculptures, traditional home areas, localities and neighbourhoods with human breath and the roar of ‘living’ existence, rhythms and noises, are indicated, marked and caught in a photographic successiveness of true and genuine hellenic identity.
A selection from these artworks is offered exclusively by the creator himself to the International Foundation for Greece (IFG) for a public benefit sale, as an act of claiming the responsibility of all towards society as a whole.
With a dual point of reference, national and cultural, and having as starting point the authentic power of these particular photographic depictions, a coalition like this, of two tireless, active and, at the same time, deeply sensitized personalities, the President of the International Foundation for Greece (IFG), Aspasia Leventis, and the multifarious creator, warm supporter of IFG, Nikos Aliagas, can set up a maximum-potential driving force for social contribution and awareness.