Jannis Varelas Exhibition 
May 30 – September 3, 2012
CAC Cincinnati

Jannis Varelas’ work explores the contrast between appearance and reality and exposes the increasingly theatrical nature of our lives. Sometimes ironic and caustic, sometimes purposefully saccharine, his depiction of the human condition and the construction of dystopias, critically comments on the changing relation of the individual to society and sacrilegiously approaches revered structures such as history, sexuality, politics and religion. Varelas’ practice is layered with characters and narratives which reveal an intense interest in understanding social shifts. The artist approaches specific world events: recent sociopolitical changes in his native country are obviously addressed, albeit through metaphor and allusion. Literary, cinematic, theatrical references and techniques are employed for polemical purposes, exposing, in the process, extremely timely and pertinent questions for the new world order. In the large mixed media installations plywood panel surfaces are covered with drawings and collages featuring grotesque, fantastical figures. These troubled characters should not be treated as eccentric, “gothic” personae but as victims of a world turned upside down. At the same time the videos suggest a snapshot of much larger events and carry on Varelas’ exploration of the distance between expectations and reality. An aphasic version of Samuel Beckett’s play Not I, provocatively cancels the incessant logorrhea of the protagonist; Jean Genet’s classic play the Maids where upper and lower classes are viewed as two sides of the same coin, performed by puppets; an old fashioned munching money box with an obscure brightly colored gentleman ready to swallow all your missing change…
Jannis Varelas treats the CAC exhibition space both as a rehearsal studio and a theatre set and stages a rickety phantasmagoria of relationships between the individual subjects in his work and the social, political, financial and cultural context to which they belong.Xenia Kalpaktsoglou is a curator and founder and co-director of the Athens Biennale. She has curated Jannis Varelas exhibition “Sleep My Little Sheep Sleep”, CAC Cincinatti

44 East 6th Street Cincinnati, OH
Mon 10am–9pm
Tue Closed
Wed-Fri 10am–6pm
Sat-Sun 11am–6pm
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