ΚΩΜΩΔΊΑ/COMOEDIA by PANOS PROFITIS at THE BREEDER [from 20230915 to 20231026]

[Photos: Thanassis Gatos]

The Breeder is pleased to announce Κωμωδία/Comoedia, Panos Profitis’ first solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition comes as a contituation of Profitis’ takeover of the gallery’s atrium during the summer, with a site specific installation. Both the title and the structure of the exhibition draw inspiration from the theater and the narrative poetry, Dante’s Divine Comedy, the Aristophanic work, but also from Gustave Dore’s engravings, religious art, utopian philosophy (Tomas More, Lewis Mumford, Adorno), as well as from Brecht’s comic allusions.

Inhabiting the gallery’s basement and interacting with the architecture of the building, the exhibition evolves on three conceptual levels while activates a scenographic, almost metaphysical viewing. The sculptures unfold their story on different levels of action. The quest of the viewer begins with an installation that refers to the chthonic element, the Underworld, to evolve into the earthly in the present time, a level that in Dante’s approach is the purgatory. In the same space the viewer also encounters an almost divine composition, where the supernatural element dominates the works. These creatures belong to a utopian sphere that has cracked and its fragments intrude into the urban landscape, posing a contradiction with the works themselves. In the exhibition all three levels of action and meaning merge with each other, allowing every individual work to participate in all states at once, and every viewer to pivot and create their personal cathartic journey.

Profitis’ works raise questions around the role of the creator, the internal conflict, that goes beyond the limits of the initiatory art and enters the spectrum of speech, the tragicomic, the sarcasm and its redemptive nature. If history and life itself can be thought as a coin, the two sides bear tragedy and comedy respectively. This body of work is characterized by a duality in the play of faces, as angelic figures possess limbs sharp as blades and aggressive as weapons, while the materiality of the sculptures is underlined by the coldness and monumental/anti-monumental quality of aluminum.

The front sides of the sculptures are carefully worked while the back remain rough, revealing the way the plaster model has been worked, the artist’s hand movements and textures of the materials. Both sides, visible to the viewer, explore dualities such as the stage and the background, the face and the mask.

Where could these demonic/angelic forms reside? Do they roam the streets of metropolises? What does the flickering of their wings or their sardonic laughter sound like? Thus, the modern city is an inhospitable environment for them, because such creatures could overturn its ostensible structure and balance – a capitalist construct that hostages trapped, alienated souls, who work like cogs, for the benefit of a fictitious “progress”.

Κωμωδία/ Comoedia examines the urban landscape that spreads before us posing a vital question: will the poet manage to save the city, as in Aristophanes’ Frogs, or are they just observing us indifferently from the firmament, like Dante when he moved to Paradise?

Panos Profitis lives and works in Athens. Profitis holds a Master in Visuals Arts (2016) from the Royal Academy of Arts in Antwerp focusing in site specific arts/ installation art and a Bachelor degree from the Athens School of Fine Arts (2013). For his Master he received a study scholarship from NEON organization (2015-2016) and for his master thesis he was awarded in 2016 the Hugo Roelandt Price by the Royal Academy of Arts, Hugo Roelandt Estate and Objectif Antwerp. Selected shows: Unboxing Maria Callas at SNFCC (2023), The Agprognostic Temple Brussels (2023), Cycladic Cafe Art Project at Cycladic Museum (2022), A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Alkinois (2022), “Epistemologies of the Sun” at Rebecca Camhi Gallery (2022), “Mythologies/ New Terrains” at SNFCC (2022), “ Prizing Eccentric Talents” Pet Projects Athens (2021), Hydra School Project (2020), Turtle Soup Ex Dogana Rome (2018). Profitis was a fellow of Artworks (2018), Artist Support Program SNF Artist Fellowship. In October 2018 he was a resident at the Initiator AiR Program in Eleusis (European Capital of Cultural 2023). In 2013 he represented Greece at the Young Artist Biennale in Ancona, Italy. During documenta 14 Profitis worked as artist collaborator for the Nigerian-born visual artist Otobong Enkanga. In 2017 he had his first solo show at Annie Gentils Gallery in Antwerp (Belgium).

[Text: The Breeder]

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