Selected to curate a solo artist booth at Art16 by Jonathan Watkins (Director of the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham), Joanna Bryant and Julian Page weave a tale of how one artist of the next generation is successfully forging a line of enquiry, by encompassing the challenges that a dwindling supply of artists’ studios and facilities in London are posing to artists choosing to try and work in our city. The presentation constructs a positive tale from a negative headline.
Rising rents and a shortage of studio spaces are challenges for which serious artists have to find solutions in increasingly inventive ways. Kostas Synodis has converted a 170cm x 150cm windowless cupboard into a makeshift studio.
The small scale of the works and the sensations of constriction and compression in the artist’s subtle manipulation of his materials, reflect his circumstances in London. In a previous life Kostas’ studio had been used to serve tenants with tea and sandwiches. It has no windows and the smell of resin hits you hard as you open the door and experience the tiny working space of one of today’s emerging artists in London.
All the works presented were made in this confined space, which is recreated to scale and installed in the middle of the booth, its entrance initially hidden from view. Visitors will be able to enter – one by one – and experience the artist’s miniature working studio. By contrast, works will be immaculately displayed on the surrounding floor and walls of the booth, to highlight a stark juxtaposition between the source of creation and the world of the art gallery.
Through subtle alterations of surroundings, Kostas’s man made objects are made to seem dysfunctional and, at times, disconcerting.
These materialised flights of imagination are complex fabrications that have the contrasting appearance of being casual, playful acts.
By challenging the authenticity of our visual perception, Kostas’ works have a conspicuous presence,
and the qualities of both a practical joke and a more serious reflection on our material awareness – indications perhaps of the strength of character required to endure today’s challenging environmental conditions for the next generation.
Images Courtesy Antonio de la Hera