Politics and art have always gone together well and Greece’s current turbulent economic and political situation seems ripe for satire and the mind of an artist to truly make sense of what is happening in that troubled country.
Currently exhibiting in London at the Moniker Art Fair with Artaz Gallery, Corfu based artist Ser has a lot to say about the situation over there. An artist who describes his work as a mixture between pop surrealism, classic graffiti and comic has created a series of canvases in an imaginary land with an undertone in the Greek crisis.
IMF land as he calls it, is a world in which creatures live, an island country where everything is dark and in which the main protaganists are eerily similar to the main players in Greece’s desperate fall from the good times and the land of plenty to bad times and the world of extremism and belt tightening.
Ser’s world presents the sort of commentary based in surrealism and comic book graffiti that makes the crisis understandable. It lays bare, in brutal satire, the stage on which the crisis unfolded and expresses his views on the main players.
The Story begins like a calm before the storm, a creature stands there in his party hat. He’d been celebrating the good times with the Euro getting stronger and stronger before the crash. Now, it’s different, now the party is over and our creature is a bit non-plussed about it.
The next canvas depicts the corporate monster, only slightly showing itself over the surface of the water concealing the majority of it’s bulk and might under the waves. The corporate monster has a big mouth perfectly capable of swallowing everything in it’s way, yet it hides itself from view with only the tops of it’s teeth showing. The corporate monster is greedy, yet still it is controlled by man, even the moon is greedy in this picture. Everything is ripe for the taking.
The Greek elite used to have everything their own way, but no more, now even they are feeling the pain albeit on a ‘deluxe’ level. Still not exactly struggling, their power base has been sapped as new foreign monsters have entered IMF land. The tentacles which used to stretch out have now been cut, others are in charge now.
Mr Conan records everything, he wanders around IMF land taking note of things as they unfold. He records the stories and what is changing. His conical shaped eye is always there peering away. Mr Conan is the good guy in our story. In this canvas he is pictured sailing around IMF land in a cup, which is only proper because this canvas was made for a show in England and here we drink tea!
In Greece the mainstream media and the channels want to tell everyone that everything is good and everything is okay, and that’s the same in IMF land. They have become the voicepiece of the state and are engaging in brainwashing of the people so that the measures they have to take are easier to swallow.
IMF Land has a strong religious power, much like the Greek Orthodox church it is very powerful and still has great influence over the people and the state. It’s been there for a long time and isn’t going any place any time soon, a strong entity but what does it do with that power? Nothing is the damning verdict.
When a crisis comes then evil comes out. Always right on time, extremism takes a hold with echoes throughout history. In Greece it is seen in the rise of Golden Dawn, a situation compared by Ser to what happened to Germany in the 30’s. People are taking advantage of what they can, with the country being sold off cheap, it’s monuments crumble and chaos takes over.
Ser’s work takes on a different tone when he collaborates with fellow Greek artist Simoni Fontana, also exhbiting at the Art Fair. Simoni has a delicate style and a subtle touch as she draws onto canvas depicting an almost childlike innocence. Ser finds himself having to adapt more to her style than his when they paint resulting in a blend of pop surrealism with an aesthetic borne out of Greek icononography from the Byzantine era. The images they create result in an altogether more hopeful view of Greece’s situation
The canvases contain references from the bible written in an older Greek script no longer in use today, a homage to Ser’s study of typography. The message is current because people are scared and what they are saying is not to give up and don’t be afraid of what is going to happen. The images are inspirational and don’t show fear, strong characters to look up to and be inspired by.
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