Socrates Fatouros | Teach Me Something Wonderful

30.10.21 – 04.12.21

Socrates Fatouros re-synthesizes narratives and pictures from previous eras, recovers memories attempting their reconstruction by creating an indefinite and otherworldly environment where he invites us to enter. For the exhibition Teach Me Something Wonderful, he transforms the gallery space into an in-situ installation urging the viewers to come across a different state.  Departing from the gallery entrance, the hollow ground of the installation forces our bodies to make an excessive gesture in order to continue the course of entering inside the unfamiliar and cold environment of the beast.

 

Fatouros creates a narrative around three main characters/thematics; the beast, the hunters and the bait. Facing the beast’s environment first, we come across a landscape of melted metal, reminiscent of an aquatic and liquid place. The beast within, on a human scale, helplessly sacrificing itself to the human-hunter. The bait, a blue monkey, is used by the hunters as something inferior to them. They have imposed an entirely unknown condition on an animal from the tropics, now trapped in this cold, very different habitat.

 

On the contrary, the hunters facing each other in a conspiratorial manner, are depicted on a large scale, revealing their hostile intentions. The distortion of reality is attributed to humans as a characteristically anthropocentric and violent behavior. We can see how they have appropriated nature in a way that they destroy it and take decisions for it with such hatred, while the other two elements of the narrative do not engage in this battle. Their endeavor to enforce power on the beast and the bait, suggests their agony for control over nature and further control of their own mortality. Therefore in an attempt to neglect nature, the humans struggling to contain themselves, rebel against God and death. The abstract figures of the hunters represent the humans’ internal struggle with their own selves, a battle that might have already been lost.

 

As it is suggested by the word wonderful, we find beauty within violence and vice versa. The utilization of industrial, hard materials at his works contrasts with the loaded emotional thematics in order to equate the endurance and strength of the material, and the subject-matter. An antithesis consistently maintained by the multiple layers of the story’s characters, and the paradoxical emotions the installation caused to stir the viewers up.

 

The exhibition title Teach Me Something Wonderful, reveals explicitly the need of the artist to learn from us the viewers, what we have obtained from our experience in this unprecedented environment. The construction of an environment designed to perform intentional gestures is the starting point of an empirical situation for whom it might enter. We are invited to encounter a new experience by entering this space, perpetual and isolated, to relate with the story and reflect on how the narrative is affecting us. Those three elements of the installation set the narrative we are called to take part in. By placing the viewers inside this encapsulated space, Fatouros suggests a process towards experiencing and viewing the world and ourselves. The question who is the beast after all comes to the foreground. Are we?

 

Text by Odette Kouzou.