…as an intricate interweaving of a 20 years journey by brothers Nikos
and Pandelis Sotiriades
sculpture's big adventure…
The great art of sculpture constitutes through the history timeline, a wide field of human creative expression related to searching for the truth of beings. From prehistoric times, the rational man has used natural objects throughout his evolution to depict and transmute the material world. Ιn the beginning, with his concept of tools, he transforms the primeval touch of materials into a useful 'organ' and later makes the ultimate achievement, the artistic pinnacle, which materializes the higher intellectual composition registered in his progress thus elevating the work of art to a pure creation of a dynamic spirit.
From Stonehenge with its powerful cosmologic symbolism and Venus of Wuppertal, fertile breastfeeding goddess and creator, from the pyramids-land of a sympantic vision - and the unique, simple yet meaningful Cycladic figurines - an evocation to the vision of a magical world - to the outstanding Panathenean procession depicted οn the Parthenon entablature and Micaelangelo's Pieta, sculpture has always been associated with its mystical, excessive and often theological context.
Ιn the classical era, the quest for beauty, deeply embedded in the powerful people - centred quests of the time and the philosophical orientation which produced them, it has remained a constant and persistent challenge for the big masters and artistlc workshops connecting works of art and spiritual creation with the description and revelation of the deeper essence of existence. The human body, the gauge of the harmony existing between the world and art, has experienced the long evolution of the human condition and marked in various ways the tendencies and priorities of each period. Thousands of years had to pass for the advent of the renaissance artists and the ensuing progress of sculpting and a new quest for an 'order' based οn the secret analogies of this vision and which essentially positioned man in the centre of attention.
Until the early 20th century - when radical approaches to all flelds of human quest and unique technological discoveries were being made - sculpting was always associated with the romantic reformulation of resilient artistic values. Ιn the tumult of doubt and novelty, artists like Picasso and the surrealists , Tatlin, Naum Gambo, Arp, Brancusl, Giacometti and Μiro opened up to the dream, dived into the undiscovered depths of themselves, approached the hidden values of a primordial art - the art of faraway civilizatlons, found in parts of Africa and Oceania. - and all the expressions of popular creation so as to create a rift between the artistic and visual regards of a period laden with manifestos and subversions. Ιn our area, οn the path paved by the great Yiannoulis Halepas at the end of the 19th century, other great men like Avramidis, the unlucky Sklavos, Koulendianos and Takis have followed and left strong traces. The liberation of plastic expression and the continuous development in the fields of material technology and constructional methods, have immensely helped the expression of various formulations in sculpting, which reveal and describe the complexity and in many cases the unclear yet brave image of a new and radically different world. Sculpting has always constituted the 'embodiment of truth' (Μ Heidegger)
…and the personal and 'restless' glance through two decades
Sculptors Nikos and Pandelis Sotiriades are already οn the eve of a twenty - year long creative journey. With persistence, meticulousness and οn a constant personal quest, they have managed over these years to transform their skilled structural achievements into an everyday labour of a multifaceted occupation, a memorable place of a personal artistic vision. Α wide field of influences and preferences is incorporated which is evident in a tireless expressionist deposition including an impresslve progression in culmination and scale, relating equally to both small and memorably-sized work with an ease that only a wide experience can achieve (small sculptures and Europa and the Βυll)
From the 'object' to the 'organ' and the 'work of art'. Amorphous or industrially processed natural materials form the beginnings of expression, which develops gradually with practice, a composite, structural agreement which in many cases contains strong visual -stamp-like formulations. Nikos and Pandelis search for 'beauty' not as a romantic regurgitation of classic sculptural tradition, but with the vocabulary and syntax of modernist achievements and the visual subversion that has been introduced by neoterism and the most recent ouests in materials and their process.
Nikos and Pandelis have become familiar since their childhood with metal, its texture and rigidity, tamed by experienced hands. Being themselves galvanised with metal's harsh features and its almost physical process which requires brains and hands, they managed to discover laboriously during a long apprenticeship in their father's workshop, that what is most valuable apart from this original, unprocessed, harsh material is human intellectual activity which gives form and meaning to the amorphous, unprocessed, natural status of objects. Ιn Hephaistos' furnace, the hot, protean magma was transformed intο the giant Talos, symbol and soul of man's metaphysical concern to protect his existence from the threat of a harsh and unpredictable world and a natural hierarchy which is not only charming but also ruthless.
Man-artist, a small god himself, by using meta, stone, wood, coal, glass and earth gives
substance and 'space' to objects and after making them useful 'organs' completes their
transformatlon into a higher - of almost moral content - expression which can operate in every
possible way, according to man's personal truths. The case of the Sotiriades' brothers is in
itself a workshop of readings and quests in the ontological description of sculpting terms,
in the unique way with which Martin Heidegger posed questions about meaning.
Niko's and Pandeli's sculptures are a 'space' within themselves where truth is revealed and the vision of a new world develops essence. Without reservations and distance from the evolution of life and the realities of our time, artists reject the purity of the expressionist venture and the sensitization of material and form and actively participate in the quest of a new conscience and a radical role, which, in their opinion, art is obliged to have. From the 'superchords' and 'bio-landscapes' in the beginning, to the works of their 'middle' period ('trees-farewell') and their recent figurines with their constant allusion to primeval forms of existence, the same persistence and concern for the stability and duration of the natural world - vessel of materials and 'all of life' - is maintained and developed. And of course, the anguished and evident expectation for the maintenance of the fragile entropy which foreshadows the preservation of life and beings.
The extremely rapid technological transformations οn the eve of a digital age and the change from a human-centred organisation to an almost hysterical and bulimic, hyperconsumer, 'sensationalist' society is undoubtedly a nightmarish vision which doesn't fail to leave its mark on artists and any thinking person. The discovery and the magic of images of artistic revelation constitute active resistance to a virtual reality and oppose the transmutation and transformation of man-creator into a mass production machine.
Αn interesting fact here is the use of the same materials of this rhetoric and their unlimited incorporation in various ways, in the sculpting composition. Sometimes as faint reminders or bright outlines and other times as active parts of a work, they appear partly to support it and simultaneously to subvert it by working almost expostulatorily and 'portraying' equal members of an indivisible unit which is artificial, pretentiously 'organic" in a way 'ironic' and self-negating and a far cry from any meaning of natural form and yet it is this that it seems to bypass. 'The naked emperor' the well-known fairytale acquires through sculpting one of its most unexpected versions.
And of course, beyond the directed presentation and the visual, almost frenzied, allusions to the whole corpus of materials, what these artists have to offer is a constant and worrying query which has an almost eschatological context. 'What is becoming of this world?', a definitive question but also a condemnatory verdict. Maybe there is still time for us to answer it… Until the worst comes to the worst, let's motivate ourselves towards what they propose so we manage tο salvage whatever we can from this magical reality which was generously handed tο us and is called existence and life ..
The emotion one feels when looking at a work of art is unique tο each and every one of us… It depends on our perception and our ability to have an open mind… Nikos and Pandelis simply provide the material. Or, if you like, the catalyst that will start a 'reaction' which acquires if nοt an absolute 'ecological' character, then at least a moral one and an almost, Ι would say, missionary context… 'In the beginning there was Man' The beauty and charm of οur world, the gift of His creation and inspiration are… We?
The recent work by Nicos Sotiriadis who continues to materialize his personal deposition for
the everlasting substance of things that concerns our Existence, widens in a magic way the
perseptive arrangement of his personal sculptural vision and he classifies with graceful hand
movements and careful counterpoints the inherited experience from his previous works.
The first quests through hard daily research for the expressive means and the inevitable smoothing that comes along with the time, begin to give form into pieces of work that sease to function as plain instrumental classified original forms which are transubstantiated instead into symbolic figures with contents and significance broader from their actual scale and natural dimentions.
The sculptural space enriched from the agony of submiting the "big" to the "small", the transfer of our senses through the micro-cosm to the mega-cosm and ομτ fascinating journey beyond Space and the present Time, is created by means of an impressive composition of "topion" where the conjectural offer attains unexpected dimentions when connected comprehensibly to the parameters that consist and give significance to the artist's personal vision.
LIFE: MATERIAL - ELECTROMAGNETIC - BURNING ( ? )
Α complete theory of our cosmic web, through Nicos Sotiriadis' personal poetry formed with hard and cold and hot materials as well, builds up and forms among steps, pauses and brilliancies fascninating topio-gonia creations that mobilizes in an unexpected way our attitude not only towards the object of art but towards the very same consistency of our being.
Not just a "white quadrangle with black background. Νο more silence or boasting in the
background. But an excessive modesty towards life and the way it is approched by Art. Nicos
Sotiriadis is only at the beginning of his expression. His knowledge is not complete nor has he
used the outmost of his visional sensitivity for the approach of the immense hospitable, to our
existense, space. There are still plenty left to search and discover, to mould and construct with
iron, fire, glass and stone, his personal bio-topia perhaps utopia of a lonely wandering in a
world that exhausts daily its bio-topous and perhaps together with them the existence of all
living created beings.
It is not a pesimistic disharmony the appeal Ιο man's primary materials and spaces, perhaps itconstitutes an appeal to the lost charm that bequeathed us in uncounted times the protozoa through the first cells that built οur world.
Yes, Nicos Sotiriadis' bid is lively and aggressive.
Αn ecological, real attitude towards our structural consistency that risk any time to be altered and be replaced by horrifying terato-topia. As Manicheism suggests in adversary awe and at the same time as perhaps in a hidden guilt and bio-topia. Places inhabited from the primordial - to be exact - substance that formed our world.
The sculptor Nicos Sotiriadis, with his "Superstrings" and "Biotopia" has already started a long journey that undoubtedly will lead him into adventures. Perhaps to such fascinating wanderings as those familiar to us during our chilhood, with Robinson, Gulliver and Ulysses on his return to Ithaca, tracers of magic and search without an end but always a shell waiting for them, made out of the same materials that form and control our world since the time the great explosion took place…
Sotiriades' sculpture is the outcome of their life experiences and therefore
it is strictly personal. Working with a hard medium such as iron, has given
Sotiriades brothers an opportunity to deall with his concern in a tough minded
way, free of simplistic solutions. Exploiting the metal as far as possible but
always retaining its archaic qualities. An imposing art of sculpture,
meaningful with unprecedented internal links. Their incessant search and their
growing, from their original work to a nearly aggressive expressionism
severely governed by the source of geometry not so much in its different
shapes but in its content, have revealed an artist particularly sensitive who
does possess the skill to master every way of expression.
Their have simultaneously been preoccupied with metal structures particularly with those which involve precision and structural perfection and this have provided Sotiriades brothers with an inexhaustible source of knowledge and experience which their have applied to their sculpture. Particularly in recent works their handling of the medium, their comes close to surpassing theirself. The concept and application are tenaciously associating with a theory which perfectly illustrates human existence. Movement and rhythm are depicted in a startling way, without exaggerations, through metal. The, artist is not concerned with good and evil, from and mass, the rigidness style or shape. Their sculpture is shaped into a vision of the world. Their style of epression goes beyound any artistic expectation, seeking an unshaken alibi for human existence through probing for shapes and materials. Naturally after the extensive search tranquility follows. The total familiarisation with their art and its acceptance through surfaces and curves. One can automatically sense that nothing was put there casually.
I strongly believe that among us stands an artist and a human being with a different concept of reality and our world. Lucky are those who after the disastrous blaring of the trumpets which brought down the wall of Iericho are still enchanted by its ruins.
♣• Odysseas N. Sgouros Architect and Chairman of the Cultural Organisation of Ag. Nikolaos