"Deportation to me is when someone abandons an ordinary life either mentally or by force," K.V. said when I talked to him about the images that were created in my mind every time I listened to his musical piece under the same title. I imagined human figures hovering over the ground, in a city where a war had just ended. These men, perhaps dead, perhaps alive, could be easily transported wherever they wanted. I was among them. I didn't want to go somewhere in particular, I wanted to pass from all the places I loved since I could. Then, I met this Centaur outside Selfridges. It could be a scene from a David Lynch film, he wore a sweater from Gap and he was Japanese.
The Centaurs, according to Greek mythology chose to be exiled to Arcadia after they had been defeated in a battle. My Centaur is definitely their descendant. We don't know where he was before or where he's going next. We don't even know if he really exists. If we decide that he does exist, we have to prove it too. The Greek mythological system gives a clear description and Photoshop does the rest. In the Postmodern age representation precedes and defines the real according to Baudrillard. The ancient Greeks needed to believe in the existence of myths they themselves had created. Today the mediation of software results in the depiction of these myths. My Centaur travels with me to London, mingles with the crowd in a city centre and someone can see him only when he really wants to believe in his existence.
He seems to be perfectly integrated in his new environment, as if he was there forever. He could have been there forever without anyone having noticed him. What is different is not always visible and everyone perceives it differently. Besides, who defines what is normal and what is usual? What is representation and what reality? Perhaps the whole world which we inhabit is the representation of another. Carrey represents with engravings the Parthenon's pediments. Nobody can really know what they actually looked like, however there can be infinite ways to represent them.
If the only choice is representation, then this is also the only truth. We have the privilege of multiple versions but also the danger of exaggeration. A Centaur walked along Oxford Street, met a Siren in Trafalgar Square and then took the tube. At Holborn station he saw the Minotaur going up the escalators. When the night fell, he found himself in Soho, along with Pan meandering among tourists.
I recently undertook to set up the publicity campaign of a Greek fashion designer. He had seen the four snapshots (from the Deportation series) and asked me to collaborate and to create a series of pictures in the same way. I had first of all to think who the new creatures-protagonists would be in this story. In no way I was interested to use a centaur again or another siren, whose form had been already determined. I considered that if I was going to involve them in this situation, either with modifications of the originals, or with their variations, they would lose their importance and possibly the meaning they had for myself. Therefore, my new heroes weren't representations of some famous mythical monsters but originals (inspired from certain festive customs of Eastern Thrace, descendants of pagan ceremonies in Ancient Greece, maintained up to nowadays) and newcomers.
A man with a goat head was wandering along with a woman with an owl head in the market, in the centre of Athens among unsuspecting immigrants. A woman with a wolf head poses by night in Syntagma Square in front of the Parliament's building, among stray dogs and people passing by. This time I wasn't travelling in myths but I was inventing my own myths that made their debut in the familiar environment of my country.
Although it was a commissioned work and I should feel more limited, I felt more free than ever. This time I did not have to face pompous Art but I worked for fashion, which was more accessible to me. Perhaps it was also the first time that I wasn't stressed by the possibility to fail. I now realise that this was also the only way to make a step forward. To not be afraid of a potential failure. I was just a visitor (guest) in a world in which I do not belong but that has influenced a lot my work. However where precisely lies the thin borderline between what is art and what fashion? If there is such a line ...
I open Purple Fashion and Cindy Sherman appears (shot by Juergen Teller) in a series of Marc Jacobs's ads. A permanent public sculpture from Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, entitled "Prada Marfa" is located on a desolate ranching land at Texas. Drawings of Takashi Murakami on Luis vuitton bags. David Remfry gives his drawings to Stella McCartney. I try to distinguish the photographs of the fashion photographer Terry Richardson from those of the artist Nan Goldin. Why photographs in fashion editorial remind me more and more works like Jeff Wall's, Wolfang Tillman's and Gregory Creadson's?
My three new monsters were born by a collaboration of fashion with art. Finally the designer considered that I degrade the quality of his clothes in my pictures that did not bring out the least metropolitan element since all their references had to do with local reality. My proposal for the campaign was rejected and thus the goathead, the wolfhead and the owlhead set free from any categorisation and restriction.