....In the summer of 1967, Michael Fried published his seminal text, Art and Objecthood, a swan song of modernist orthodoxy in the Greenbergian tradition. He advocated the need to safeguard the purity of visual media, arguing against a practice of mixing them together, which could subject the visual arts to a condition no too dissimilar to that of theatre. When the work of art forfeits its character as a perfectly self-contained entity, existing only in and of itself, and is validated instead in the presence of a viewer, then it has been eroded by the condition of theatricality. According to Fried, theatricality does not simply constitute a misguided aesthetic choice, but rather, and perhaps more so, an all-round threat to social mores and to society at large. Fried’s jeremiad was in fact a rather belated response to Minimalism and to those who upheld its theoretical principles (Robert Morris in particular), whose reading of art production reduced it to the level of a phenomenological investigation of relationships formed between viewer and artwork, between viewer and the object within space. The work here becomes nothing more than a body’s experience.

My perception of the work of Kostas Bassanos is filtered through the tradition of Romanticism and the turn art would take, already from the beginning of the 60s, as it rose in defiance of Greenberg’s and Fried’s opticocentric modernism. In other words, this means that I tend to view his work in relation to the prehistory and, at the same time, to the crisis of the phenomenon usually described with the term “modernism” (if, that is, we should approach the history of art in terms of the ruptures occurring therein).

Kostas Bassanos’ systematic use of the fragment is perhaps where one may primarily trace his affinity with Romanticism. Exponents of this particular practice and on the forms it took, all leading figures of the movement’s first phase, somewhere around the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth, when Romanticism would sweep through the art world like a storm, would show an unwavering preference for the fragment, as they appreciated its open-ended quality in terms of interpretation, while deemed it able at the same time to reveal universal truths. However, contrary to what one might expect, the fragment does not really originate as a result of abstractive processes. What we usually encounter in abstract art, for instance, is a gradual process of subtraction, of purging, that may supposedly lead to a point beyond which there is nowhere more to go; the abode of some sort of profound, hidden essence. The rhetoric of abstract art has almost always been essentialist: there is a deep, hidden meaning to things, their essence, which the artist forces to the surface by removing all that is redundant. But the fragment is not a remnant in this sense; neither is it, in fact, a narrative device.....

K Ioannides

excerpt from the text in the exhibition catalogue Nowere, 2009.
read the whole text in Pdf here (Gr, En)


Kostas Bassanos
Silence (2013), 20min HD video, audio

More about the work

by Galini Notti, April 12th, 2013, read review at http://www.thenaked.nl/ . (En)

Interview by Maria Passarivaki at the latest issue of måg magazine featuring Jannis Varelas, Gregos Theopsy, Georgia Sagri, Yorgos Stamkopoulos, Iris Touliatou, Kostas Bassanos, Gosia Bojkowska, Radhika Agarwala, Amir Chasson, Timon Botez, www.nabroad.org . (En)

Kostas Bassanos, Review, C. Marinos, Flash Art International, March-April 2009, p. 90
. (En)

'A Dense Nowhere,
G. Konstandatou, Higlights, N.39, March-April 2009, p. 32
Ενα πυκνό Πουθενά
Γ. Κωσταντάτου, Highlights, Τεύχος 39, Μάρτιος-Απρίλιος 2009, σελ. 32
www.highlights.gr (Gr)

Hermetic Romanticism, A. Zenakos, To Vima, 22-2-09, B2/45/11. (Gr)
Ερμητικός Ρομαντισμός
, Α. Ζενάκος, Το Βήμα, 22-2-09, Β2/45/11

Hard Times for princesses, M. Marangou, Eleftherotipia, 16-02-09, p. 19.
Δύσκολοι καιροί για πριγκίπισσες
, Μ. Μαραγκού, Ελευθεροτυπία, 16-2-09, σελ. 19. (Gr)

R. Georgiadou, Eleftherotipia, Epsilon, 8-2--09, N.930, p. 82.
, Ρ. Γεωργιάδου, Ελευθεροτυπία, Έψιλον, 8-2-09, αριθμ.930, σελ. 82

Nowhere, A. Zenakos, To Vima, 24-01-09
, Α. Ζενάκος, Το Βήμα, 24-01-09 (Gr)

The limits of the Habitat and the Landscape, (interview with Chr. Marinos), Athinorama, 15-01-09, p. 88
Τα όρια κατοίκησης του τοπίου, (Συνέντευξη Χρ. Μαρίνος), Αθηνόραμα 15-01-09,  σελ.88