Interview: Ioannis Dimopoulos

(The Interview with Ioannis Dimopoulos took place on WhatsApp between April 27th and May 31st, 2021.)


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April 27th:


[ Ioannis ]:


Hey Chun, this is Ioannis from the CAP 2019 Residency.

I hope all is good given the current situations and that you are moving forward with your work.


Could you please provide me with some more information in relation to what this website and interviews are about??


Looking forward to hearing from you.


Best

Ioannis


[ Chun ]:


Yes of course Ioannis! The website is my attempt to create an online community of emerging artists, like an online crit group. It has mainly evolved into an avenue to features artist interviews. The interviews are about the artists' thought processes, research and studio practice, experiences, and the works themselves. Ioannis, I might be interested in interviewing you! If you would like to be interviewed, could you share with me your website or your portfolio? Thank you so much! Sincerely, Chun.


[ Ioannis ]:


That’s sounds so cooll.


I also scrolled through and saw the interview as well.

It looks really interesting.

I saw also Sophie which was in our residency year.

Are you including only from SVA or also from outside of it?


[ Chun ]:


Inside and outside!


[ Ioannis ]:


I would love to be included and be part of it.


Besides the portfolio, would you like me to send something more as first step, or just that for now?? Like a quick CV or some more info??


My website currently is under re-construction.


[ Chun ]:


Yes Sophia was interviewed recently! She's amazing.

I see! I would love to see your portfolio and any kind of artist statement or writing that you have explaining your work!


[ Ioannis ]:


She then went into my school for her MA—I had showed her around RCA beige she applied.


[ Chun ]:


Please send me the relevant materials to... [my email].

I see haha! That's truly wonderful


[ Ioannis ]:


Okkkk perfect.


I am reshaping it currently-including some new works-and I will be sending it to you as soon as possible, if that works for you.


[ Chun ]:


Thanks so much Ioannis! Looking forward to it!


[ Ioannis ]:


Lovely.


Thank you for sharing it with us at first place ☺️


[ Chun ]:


Thank you Ioannis for your interest! Have a wonderful day and keep in touch!


[ Ioannis ]:


You too 👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻


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May 24th:


[ Ioannis ]:


Hey Chun, I hope all is well.


I have just emailed you my CV and Portfolio containing works from 2015 up to 2020. The work varies from happenings, performances, writings and more.


Once you have checked them, tell me how you would like to proceed.


☺️


(The CV and Portfolio can be downloaded here for your viewing: )

I. D CV
.pdf
Download PDF • 251KB

I. D. Portfolio
.pdf
Download PDF • 9.61MB


[ Chun ]:


Thank you so much Ioannis! Will do soon!


[ Ioannis ]:


Thank you at first place for sharing it. ☺️☺️


[ Chun ]:


Of course haha


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May 31st:


[ Ioannis ]:


Hey Chun, good morning and I hope all is good.

Did you have the time and chance to have a look at the material I sent you?


[ Chun ]:


Yes I will look at them right now. Thank you so much for the reminder.


I might have a little bit of difficulty understanding everything but please be patient with me. I will read through everything by tonight


[ Ioannis ]:


No no worries at all.


I totally understand as many of the works were happenings with quite some stuff happening simultaneously and on different platforms.


I have tried to put them in order and each artworks has its own description, medium and elements.

Some they have their own descriptive text as well.


I can provide you more details and even have a quick call if there is something requiring clarification.


Plus, my work many times is a harsh and “cruel.”


[ Chun ]:


I understand Ioannis! Will get back to you later today


.

.

.


Ioannis, so there are 6 works?


(Screenshot from the portfolio #1)


[ Ioannis ]:


Yup exactly! Starting from 2015 up until 2020.


[ Chun ]:


Ioannis Dimopoulos is the latest work in 2020 right?


[ Ioannis ]:


Yes


It was my degree for royal college of art.



(Screenshot from the portfolio #2)


[ Chun ]:


Does the first project go all the way from page 2 to page 5?


[ Ioannis ]:


Well for the digital show at least—the physical one will take place along 2021.


Yesss!


It has many platforms as I combined a couple of lectures and livestreams.


[ Chun ]:


I see I see.


Who gave the lectures? The hunters?


Can we go over the portfolio page by page? I am kinda confused because I am usually a painting guy, not conceptual, installation art, happenings type of person.. hahaha..


[ Ioannis ]:


No worries at all about that.


The psychologist Tina Feidia in collaboration with the Kapodestrian Uniberisrt of Athens.


[ Chun ]:


I see. And that's part of your installation


Thank you so much.


What is on page 5 (aka page 6 if you include the title page)?


I see Alcestis which is a myth.


And then I see two screenshots of pink clouds with text and images inside, such as "Iona Mitchell / SMA Ioannis Dimopoulos / GEorgina Watson / FIENDS."


(Screenshot from the portfolio #3)


[ Ioannis ]:


The artwork “ioannis dimopoulos” consists of two main works, each one subdivided in two.


The first is called “it is the night of the hunters” containing the works “hunters society-the confession” and “professional mourners”.

It explores the situation between men and women and how there is still a ritual in Greece about prostitution, hookers between men.


[ Chun ]:


I seeeee!


That is like a striking resemblance to women performing rituals for the animals killed in the hunt in prehistoric times.


[ Ioannis ]:


It could be as well.


The second artwork is titled “and the day of the Unborn” containing the works “Alcestis....” and “she."


Here the main point is from the women’s point of view and the love -from Alcestis- as an adaptation to today.

In the lecture the psychologist talks about the stigma that these women-prostitutes from the first part feel and bare.


The artworks “Alcestis...” was also featured in institutes of contemporary art in London, thus the pictures —as an archive for one to access.


[ Chun ]:


Mhm. Is there a link where I can click and interact with these features?


[ Ioannis ]:


My main point was to showcase the parallels in predators/men as hunters —and bringing out the archetype instincts, not on animals though but on women through their sexual use.


Thus the two livestreams playing on the same time. The confession and the inside of the brothels.


The same time the Hunter speaks, men pray on women lurking in the shadows of the brothels.


It might be confusing as it was online so the visuals of it are not that profound—-going back that you are a painter.


[ Chun ]:


I understand now. It's the metaphor/analogy.


[ Ioannis ]:


Exactly.


I used the digital platform for the show as a dynamic and active one, rather than as a simple showcase of my work


[ Chun ]:


What is the implication of the metaphor? The idea of men as hunters and women as hunted animals/trophies... - what implication does that have for equality and feminism?


[ Ioannis ]:


It showcase that despite all the fight about equality, despite all the feminist theories, and above all democracy’s existence that all life’s are equal under Life, there is still a dark and broad side between men that sees themselves as the hunters and woman as their prey.


No matter how much we try to change the works and titles from “hookers” to “sexual workers” for instance, that side still remains and in my opinion there has to be a deeper way to find its root.


[ Chun ]:


And does your art try to remedy this situation - does the very act of shedding light on this nature/psychology of men against women introduce any room for self reflection?


Or does your art perpetuate the stereotype, imagery, and the metaphor that men are always the hunters and the women are always hunted? (Like, does your art bring greater potential for women to have greater agency rather than being passive objects to be taken over and consumed?)


[ Ioannis ]:


My point is that inside human there is something that we cannot control. Irrelevant of sex, desires, ethnicity and other characteristics.


This goes back to instincts that over the years we have been trying to convey, confront and many times justify in order to comfort ourselves.


We are in a point at which we thought we had solved quite some problematic behaviors amongst us, and here we are again.


One is that despite all the fights for sex and thereupon gender equality and liberation, still in many parts of the world men still try to prevail.

I try to show that dark side which I despise and try to move beyond it.


[ Chun ]:


It's like a desire for control, dominance, and power that's a deep rooted instinct for humans, in particular, men.


[ Ioannis ]:


I am not speaking for women or about women.


I speak about a specific road in Athens-called filis- which the ritual has from my dads days up to now that young men go and fuck hookers—-I said it raw.


And that still a great amount of such behavior exists and is problematic.


[ Chun ]:


I understand.


[ Ioannis ]:


And yuppp!


All three lines you wrote there.


[ Chun ]:


Does your art relate to the concept of phantasmagoria concerning the capitalist economy in which powerful people control everything like puppet masters running a puppet show, including the production and consumption of goods and the iconography and the ideology behind the products and images... these are said to be problematic, and the problems that you point out are part of the same problem of human nature to be in control and to dominate, and that makes true equality difficult to achieve...


[ Ioannis ]:


Well I would not make it at such extend or as a commentary on capitalism.

I am not addressing per se what pop art did.


I believe that in most of my works, even though there are indeed sometimes included and used such symbols like in the work Aηdial-Man, my point is human/individual the center.


[ Chun ]:


I understand. How about Post Humanism? Does your art point in that direction as a solution to the deep rooted dark psychology of people? Because Post Humanism proposes that everything including people, animals, and cyborgs share equality.


[ Ioannis ]:


I place human as “god” in a sense that is us we have the power and freedom and life in our hands on how we live, live with/alongside others and how we treat and respect life.


In the work “Lord today...” for example, even though I am using a claw machine which literally is a symbol of capital and gain and luck and all that, my point was on human realizing that it is the human at stake for the price of 1 euro. And the power of one person to own the other and be god.


[ Chun ]:


That's an amazing piece by the way. I am just now beginning to see what it is visually.


[ Ioannis ]:


I am speaking honestly that even though I am aware of “post humanism” as a phrase I am have not read or researched it at a great extend so I can’t answer as I don’t have knowledge around what it says.


But for sure I can say this,

Life is life, irrelevant of what bears it.


Check the video link to see exactly the installation and performance of it.


(Video link from portfolio)


[ Chun ]:


May I ask why the other people are lined up behind the first person in the claw machine? In a typical claw machine, you choose a doll or a product among many. In this, all the people are lined up so you have no choice like as in a claw machine, right?


It's just an amazing piece.


[ Ioannis ]:


The answer is really simple. I built it all by myself, so there were many difficulties and really expensive solutions if I wanted to built a machine resembling the actual claw.

Thus I found ways in creating my “own mechanism” of things.


Two constructions instead of one, one for the merch to stay there and everyone to see and one for the game for the player.


So each faces the two process without distraction.


[ Chun ]:


I understand. What is the ritual at the end supposed to be about?


[ Ioannis ]:


Every hour has two parts.


A 45 minutes which the performers were inside the claw machine and 15 minutes of break.

So once the 45 mins has finished I had for each of the performers their “tombstone” thus the work title as well, and I was giving them the minimal to “survive.”


Dry nuts, water and orange juice.


It was really slavery I was showcasing.



(Screenshot from the portfolio #4)



[ Chun ]:


I understand. How many hours total was the performance?


[ Ioannis ]:


And I had people trying to play the game for like 20 times in a row and like another 10/15 people cheering them up.


It was shocking how much people wanted to own another human.


[ Chun ]:


What was that? crazy... and sad right? That's crazy.


[ Ioannis ]:


I know. I simply couldn’t believe what I was seeing.


3 days by 8 hours due to the institutes operating hours limitation.


In my mind I want to run 24/7 with multiple performers.


[ Chun ]:


I feel something profound about this piece.


It's like the Yoko Ono's cut piece, where she lets the spectators cut her clothes, and instead of being afraid or unsure or conflicted, they cheer on whoever is cutting up her clothes.


[ Ioannis ]:


If I told you I found about that work some years later, I liked Yoko Ono's work-not all of it- but I understand it’s power at the current stage.


And perhaps not the visualization and portraying of the situations she described might be a bit off date nowadays, the subjects she referred are more than current


Take for example all that craziness with only fans, sugar daddies, exploitation and more... Instagram, YouTube, influencer apologies... It happens everyday for many sides


[ Chun ]:


I see haha. Can we talk about the next piece?


"It never brought any solace but me," 2019.


It's a work in progress? I don't understand the content of the writing.


[ Ioannis ]:


It is finished, a 65 pages experimental wring piece addressing quite some stuff.


Part of it was presented in the exhibition titled “work in progress.”


This was something completely new to me.


In my whole life besides a book I wrote when I was 10, I had never written anything.


When I arrived I London, I didn’t want to do the same stuff I was doing, plus the material there were way way different and more expensive than Greece.


But the main factor was that I was in a really stressful situation this writing came as the most natural and immediate way of expression.


In addition to that I was writing in a foreign language and everything I wanted to express came with the exact words.


[ Chun ]:


I see it has several parts to it.


[ Ioannis ]:


Yes.


The whole writing is as if I was in drugs-which I wasn’t- but my mental state was so depressed and unstable as I was living in a psychedelia.


[ Chun ]:


I understand. Sometimes your best art comes out from such a difficult time period.


[ Ioannis ]:


In my situation I believe most of it comes as such—although when I work out I have found myself to have greater clarity on the works created.


[ Chun ]:


work out = training in a gym?


[ Ioannis ]:


Not necessarily. Anything making the body active and the mind blank.


[ Chun ]:


I see I see.


How about "Save Me?" How is the work self referential? And what is the meaning of the bird and heart surgery? Oh also, you never exhibited the pieces visually, but someone had to talk to you about it?


[ Ioannis ]:


Ooo that’s a harsh one.


This was the last work before a one year of conscious absence from any kind of artwork.


The work showcases what to be part of something, what to eat flesh of one and be saved-Christian holy communion- actually is.


(Screenshot from the portfolio #5)


[ Chun ]:


Oh wow... so you didn't make any art for 1 year?!?!


[ Ioannis ]:


I didn’t create anything or read anything or did anything.


In general I don’t consider my work as art, but rather as creations I bring into life.


Yup! It was “mystical.”


In the exhibition the two curators had the role of speaking about it until the completion of the participants.


[ Chun ]:


What did the completion entail? how were the participants involved?


[ Ioannis ]:


The first part, The holly communion and Ostia.


[ Chun ]:


I understand. So people could decide that they want to participate in your project, and, once they "participated," they would find out what they had done?


[ Ioannis ]: