Archaeon Neon

In the exhibition “Archaion-Neon”Zetta Antsakli presents a group of 16 large-scale colour photographs.This assemblage shows the thematic direction her work has taken over the past three years.
As early as 2012,with her “Greek Flag”Zetta Antsakli redefined the parameters of her work in photography:from objective record, documentation, and documents as expressed in the collection:”Sights and Sites”(2005), she has moved on to a postmodern photographic and conceptual framework. The title of her current exhibition, featuring the ambivalent term ‘neon’(new) as a temporal modifier and in the sense of postmodern artificial lighting (neon)alludes to this shift.
In the exhibition at Zappeion the photographer heads in a new direction with ‘virtual’ photographic interventions. She photographs well-known Greek archaeological sites,such as Delphi,the temple of Aphaia, Delos, Epidaurus,Olympia,Ancient Corinth, the columns of the Temple of Olympian Zeus-devoid of every trace of human presence.At the same time,she creates ad hoc neon sculptures, which she photographs;then she combines those two photo-documents.This gives rise to work-images,new beginnings, leading to a dialogue between ancient and new,past and present.The photographed object turns into an allegory;and the photograph extends beyond the theme.It does not exist, in other words,simply for the sake of the original theme;rather the photograph itself is also a theme. The image turns into a new fact that the viewer must discover.Zetta Antsakli searches for the spiritual or transcendental element.She understands the process of photography in almost mystic terms.Her photographs are far removed from being documents of archaeological landscapes and compromise conceptual places that can be read by the viewer on multiple levels of interpretation.
Zetta Antsakli is occupied with identity,national and cultural. National identity is expressed through special symbols,such as flags; cultural identity reaches back mainly to the monumental past. Starting from the traces of the ancient world,its places and monuments,she intervenes in her photographs.She adds largely geometrical shapes made from modern material that lends itself to multiple uses,until she is led to sculpture.
The basic concept that plays a central role in her work has to do with the ‘imposition’ and ‘intervention’of these geometric forms in space and on preexisting visual objects.A schematic view of space comes to dominate, together with an attempt to highlight its cultural and spiritual dimension. The minimalist forms of the sculptural works create a dynamic intensity emanating from the relationship between complete and incomplete geometric forms,i.e.,rectangles,squares,circles,and lines behind which the faded,broken architectural members are captured.The light from the starry sky in the archaeological space is ‘replaced’ by the white neon light-blinding,manufactured and linear-in contrast with the ancient marble’s patina of time.
In Zetta Antsakli’s photographs the images have become metaphors, raising questions and evoking emotions.In the dialogue established by the photographer,the photographic object is especially significant:the object is not only the ancient place,but also the moment at which the photograph is taken,i.e.,sunset the transition from day to night.By extension,the photograph itself becomes a metonymy of this blending,a dialogue with time,a symbol of the perpetual movement from past to present.
In the frame work of this aesthetic dialogue,the camera takes on the property of transforming things.Touch by touch,Zetta Antsakli explores the Greek cultural heritage in its global message.She reconstructs photographic depictions of Greek spaces while searching for a new, private definition, a personal interpretation of the aesthetics of the original work.

Tatiana Spinari-Pollalis Ph.D.(Art History),Curator


Written in light

A dazzling bright NEON circle casts its cosmic light upon the ancient temple amidst the nighttime serenity of the sacred archaeological site, illuminating the spiritual message of the “eternal return,” like a hologram.

Αn initiatory dialogue takes place between the historical past and the present; the sacred outline of the circle is inscribed upon the ancient columns by the NEON light, a timeless symbol of “cyclical time.”

The visual artist and digital multimedia photographer Zetta Antsakli remasters the archaeological photographs using digital NEON geometric shapes, thus accentuating the power that light holds over darkness. Her intervention is a symbolic depiction of the ancient monuments’ apocalyptic nature as they emerge into the light, ready to recount History.

Embarking on a personal, existential quest, the artist doesn’t settle for an aesthetic depiction of the romantic ancient landscapes, daring instead to leave a digital impression, interrupting the serene twilight with a bold sheaf of galactic light, an expression of the passing of time.

Suddenly the archaeological site’s photographic depiction undergoes a transcendental change, the new technological means its ingenious tools of expression; it now becomes a conceptual art work that employs a mixed technique, with a post-modern digital aesthetic quality that has the power to enchant.

Clea Souyoultzoglou, Art Historian


Zetta Antsakli
ARCHEON – NEON

Oggi guardiamo le rovine lasciateci da una civiltà antica eppure mai dimenticata e intuiamo che quelle pietre, quelle colonne, quei monumenti ancora ci parlano e lo fanno lasciandoci messaggi nascosti nelle stesse parole che li definiscono. Bellissima è l’origine del termine tempio che deriva dal verbo témno, tagliare, e indica una porzione del cielo che viene idealmente individuata e poi proiettata sulla terra stabilendo un audace rapporto fra alto e basso, fra spirito e materia fino a delineare così un recinto del sacro. Oggi sono gli strumenti dell’arte a poter ripercorrere quelle antiche, affascinanti tracce: è questo il senso profondo del lavoro con cui Zetta Antsakli getta uno sguardo carico di nuova consapevolezza sui siti archeologici greci. Non li osserva come intoccabili reperti museali, non li rianima come in certe asettiche ricostruzioni ideali ma si confronta dialetticamente con loro usando i tubi fluorescenti del neon come elementi capaci di rapportarsi con la maestosità del passato per conferirgli una vitalità attuale ancora una volta implicita, per uno strano gioco di parole, nello stesso termine neon, nuovo. Le forme geometriche riacquistano il loro potere archetipo: un triangolo si insinua fra gli elementi architettonici indicando possibili rapporti fra punti diversi e lontani, una linea attraversa come una freccia scoccata da un arco l’intera fila di un colonnato, un’altra cala dall’alto e colpisce il terreno gettando tutto intorno un bagliore improvviso. Siamo immersi in un momento strano, quello che definisce il confine fra la notte che sta allontanandosi pian piano e il giorno che avanza lentamente, così tutto è immerso in un’atmosfera sospesa quasi cristallina dove l’arte, l’architettura, la filosofia convergono in una intrigante commistione. Si può così osservare il brillio di una scala posta fra le gradinate di un teatro (e, come in Eraclito, non si sa se scenda o salga perché “identica è la via all’insù e all’ingiù”), apprezzare la perfezione del cerchio che indica nella sua stessa natura sia la staticità che il movimento, sorprenderci di fronte alle linee curve che si avvolgono attorno allo slancio delle colonne a ribadire l’antica intuizione dell’eterno ritorno. E guardare, infine, l’installazione essenziale e pungente che, ridefinendo i bordi delle porte d’ingresso di un teatro, sembra invitarci a oltrepassare la soglia oltre la quale si può provare scoprire se stessi.

Roberto Mutti