Yiannis Pappas
Kenotopio. Old Greek Cisterne, Velianitatika

Yiannis Pappas (1978, Patmos, Greece), lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Throughout Pappas’ work runs a deep fascination for the relation between space and the human body in natural and urban environments. His visual language is rich and varied, encompassing multiple forms of expression, such as video work, photography, performance, installation and interventionist practices, all of which bear the signs of Pappas’ anthropological and phenomenological approach to his subjects. His artistic work and research explore how different places are sustained collectively and individually throughout history.

Through subtle vulnerability and a deliberate yielding to pure practice, Kenotopio, two works performed for the 2018 Paxos Contemporary Art Project, are innately tied to landscape, yet also are a “becoming” of landscape through motion, presence, patience and repetition.

Digestive vacuoles are formed when trophic particles or microorganisms are introduced into the animal cell which will then be used or destroyed.
The bodily or psychologically hollowness zone of ones-self. Through this void, the useless and wasted are taking an essential meaning or usage. 

Kenotopio I, begins with 60 steps around a cistern of stone atop a rough peninsula reaching deep into blue sea—a trance induced purely by focus and surrender. Perfect circles calculated in perfect rhythm—the tick tock of a metronome making time, as the sun slowly sinks behind the hills. A single solemn shadow traces the silhouettes of the small audience crouched in scrub and rocks. Yiannis, walking slowly, lays down heels first, toes last, timing each step—his stately action strained by the jute rope wrapped around his waist, conjuring many imagined scenes of security, safety and/or restraint. The artwork itself extends through the public observation and further into the orchestrated documentation— a drone and two agile photographers. A slow buzzing symphony of space and reflectivity, leaves viewers alone with themselves to question attachments, ideas of place, site specificity, history, judgements, domestication, and personal struggle. The action continues uninterrupted, present, precise, methodic— while effortlessly becoming the single focal point—a channel for opening parts of ourselves we avoid—the parts which never sit still, which we disown and for the most part, fail to recognize. It is often simple and repetitive practices or as Yiannis describes “body mapping” which gives one measure, time and space to reinvent and return to ones own wilderness—a nature free of self inflicted boundaries and limitations.
In the next act, captured by video, Kenotopio II, an underwater crevice gleams turquoise against dark forms of submerged rocky outcrops. A respite of sand and a netted pile of stones lay at the base of the performance. A desire or willful lust to carry this net to the surface is thwarted by physical realities of breath capacity and heaviness. An impossible mission and struggle of intention, weighted by self imposition alone. The performance emulates the traps we self make, self proclaim and stayed tied too—writhing in misunderstanding and reluctant to release our past wounds and burdens.
Perhaps these two works contain less meaning than one wishes to make, and are in essence simply gestures of being—yet they offer a tangibility to mired emotions of landscape, physicality, mind, and fragility— and leave us alone with the complexity of our humanity.
(Text by Lisa Lee Benjamin)


long durational performance/ sound installation 

photos: Giannis Petrou, Jewgeni Roppel, the artist