Apostolos Ntelakos’ artistic work is focused, already from his studies, on the field of intensity that is created between the concepts of “applied” and “fine” Arts.
His artistic presentation at a.antonopoulou.art observes and comments through a sculptural installation the ambiguous manner with which the visual vocabulary of the artistic avant-garde of early 20th century was diffused (especially that of constructivism) in the everyday life of interwar period through objects created by the Art deco movement.
The transition from the space of “high ideas” to the “real world life” that such vanguards have so strongly envisioned meant, in addition to the democratization of their ideas, also the transformation of these ideas into aestheticized consumer products.
The installation shows a double artist's book along with a set of ceramic sculptures that trace the contradictions of the history of the modernist geometric form.
On the first part of the artist’s book he collects, classifies and gives a huge amount of Art deco sculptures’ images that he has collected after thorough research online. On the second part, he constructs a narrative with the techniques of experimental writing, which combines the historical reality with the invented reason of fiction.
Regarding the sculptural part of the exhibition, the artist assumes the role of animalier, that of the sculptor who historically deals exclusively with the representation of animals, exposing a series of seemingly decorative porcelain sculptures made with the graceful and frivolous vocabulary of Art deco.
The sculptures of different dimensions are imprinted, penetrated or cut by constructivist manipulations. With this morphological, almost literal, way Ntelakos shows how the geometric language of the avant-garde of the early 20th century has gone into the design of the objects of everyday life.
However, this passage did not happen exactly as the idealistic and theoretically inaccessible early 20th century artistic avant-gardes have imagined it. The avant-gardes have envisioned the elevation of the everyday object to the level of art accompanied by the simultaneous moral lifting of the individual. The Art deco does unconvincingly the opposite. It uses the vanguard geometric language to talk about decorative and frivolous. However, it succeeds in making the language of non-performing art accessible to the general public and by proposing economically advantageous mass production as a way of accessing the high art.
The ambivalence of this particular historical development characterizes in its way the whole artistic endeavor.