We recap the interview with architect Andreas Angelidakis and artist Angelo Plessas who are exhibiting their show titled “Headquartes” at the Rebecca Camhi gallery that will be open for a few days more.
How did the idea for the joint exhibition come about? AP: The Jeu de Paume museum in Paris initially asked us to work on something relating to the Angelo Foundation – it was an idea of curator Maria Ines Rodriguez. It might sound funny but, after all these years of living and occasionally working with Andreas, we had never actually worked directly on a piece together; that’s how www.TheAngeloFoundationHeadquarters.com came about. In the period we were working on the idea, the studio was total chaos: boxes-heads, fake tropical flowers, gold gilt chairs, projections and other self-made instruments – all of which were used for the piece.
ΑΑ: Rebecca then asked us to do an exhibition inspired by the place we live and work. Instead of doing a “normal” exhibition, we decided to recreate a space that included all those elements more dynamically and under constant development.
In an era when self promotion rules isn’t a such a move slightly contradictory? AP: I’m not looking into doing things that do not relate to my reality. My everyday life is tied in with Andreas to a great extent; it’s much more fun for me to contribute to the success of people who I love and admire! It’s bad karma for couples to be competitive. As far as “self promotion” goes, I don’t really mind that, there are many people who can pull it off well, without being tiring and pretentious or coming across as desperate. In our era there’s so much stress about those 15 minutes of fame, it leaves me totally indifferent. AA: I have to confess that I’ve never thought about trends; this exhibition is a very natural thing to me.
How did you collaborate for this project? AP: The main project is made up by the work in development currently on show in Paris. From that we had to exclude collaborative and non collaborative works; for example Andreas’ architectural models are not all part of the show, those that are directly relate to those that aren’t. The same goes for the collages-portraits, some of those could become part of it, as the International Portraits Collection is an integral part of the Angelo Foundation headquarters (www.internationalportraitgallery.com). This whole universe is interconnected in a multiplicity of ways. AA: Angelo Foundation Headquarters is the basis around which everything evolves. All the different works make up a conceptual field.
To what degree do you feel that you complement each other? AP: We are very lucky to experience similar stuff together; we talk about everything. Even when I travel on my own, I like to lose myself in libraries, museums, strange places, anywhere really and than talk about it to Andreas and the other way round. ΑΑ: We usually spend our free time together, go traveling etc; that’s when we usually get the inspiration for new works. We usually discuss our personal projects with one another, so collaborative projects are much easier to arrange.
Do you intend to work together again in the future? AP: Of course; ideas and thought are the most important factor; when they’re present then possibilities are infinite. AA: Yes the collaboration was perfect; in a way we are totally opposite characters, I’m more of an organized type, whereas Angelo will come up with the craziest ideas.
How do you view this recent abundance of art related events in Greece (exhibitions, galleries, museums etc.)?AP: Such International activity is great for me as an artist – the crème de la crème of the art world have appeared in Athens in one way or another and they like it a lot; the era when one had to move to New York to get a career is long gone. This positive activity needs to have a duration and quality control though– it shouldn’t happen to simply add to events, just because contemporary art is considered trendy. Despite this dynamic sweeping the Greek scene, we are still to see the founding of a body that will invest in and objectively evaluate Greek artists, offering residencies as well as funding projects in Greece and abroad. In Cyprus for instance, they seem to have come to terms with this; this fact means that a lot of artists don’t find opportunities, something that becomes ever more important during times of financial crisis. We need more non profit organizations that entrust local art produce, what we don’t need is any more galleries. ΑΑ: The Athens Biennial for instance, who I just happened to work with. It’s a private initiative that started out as simply an idea and has managed to become part of this city. We need more initiatives like this and we need the state to change the way it deals with contemporary art. As far as architecture is concerned, it’s a bit of a joke in this country. Running a company is almost impossible and even teaching architecture demands many sacrifices.
What are your plans for the future? AP: I’m exhibiting at the 2nd Athens Biennial with my work “Monument of Internet Encounters” in the section curated by Cay Sophie Rabinowitz in conjunction with Athens Pride. The work will take part in the parade through the centre of Athens and it will end up at the Trocadero where it will remain during the Biennial. I will be holding various events centered on the monument; some will be pre-organized and others ad lib; details about the different events will be available online. I’ll also exhibit in the EMST as well as Remap; then I’ll spend a few months in New York in autumn doing research under the Fulbright Foundation scholarship; there are some more things in the pipeline but they haven’t been finalized yet. AA: I will be taking part in an exhibition held in a castle in Belgium during the summer, with a piece entitled Sound Mirror Orchestra, it’s a model of an concert hall divided into segments, just as you would with an orchestra. I’m talking about planning an exhibition in Northern Italy, within a medieval town, which could be very interesting. Simultaneously, I’ve got things going on in the office such a designing a house in Antiparos and much more; the last few years, I’ve just been working non-stop.