SKEPSIS, Anargyrios & Korgialenios School of Spetses
Curated by Annita Apostolaki & Anastasia Manioudaki
Spetses, Greece, 08.2020

The exhibition SKEPSIS by sculptor Nikolas at the Anargyrios and Korgialenios School of Spetses presents his first series of works, the heart of which is the artist’s concern for the future of humanity in an age defined by the rapid development of technology and machine learning.

Carrying with him the experience of Saudi Arabia, Nikolas contemplates philosophically the impact that these new possibilities will have in our lives, following the footsteps of Bernard Marx[1]. The potential seems endless, but despite the awe (see sculpture Wow) that the artist feels for the emerging Brave New World, the persistent question that runs throughout his work is: in the end, how much independence will humans have when everything, even their feelings, could be predicted by machines?

Clearly influenced by the writings of historian Yuval Noah Harrari, Nikolas created Homo Deus. A vision on the verge between utopia and dystopia, where Man, physically transformed by new technologies, flirts with immortality, thus becoming a homo deus (a human god). Exoplanets belongs in the same group of works, in which the artist confronts the insecurities and weaknesses of the human species towards the unknown, unexplored universe and the secrets or the vast emptiness that it may hide. The same applies to Astronaut, the hovering step of which depicts the ambivalent stance humans have towards death. After his exploration, both literal and allegorical, the astronaut returns a winner, having realised his ephemeral existence, having tamed the abyss. The two Black Holes that he holds in his hands, smaller versions of the work Black Hole, are a powerful symbol of the duality of the natural world, the never-ending interchange of matter and energy, life and death.

In this context, the gardens of the Anargyrios and Korgialenios School of Spetses, which now operates as a model Educational, Cultural and Sports Conference Centre, come to work as a cultural “Plato’s Academy”, as the School did for education and science in the past, culminating to James D. Watson and Francis Crick’s presentation of the double helix of the DNA at the School’s main hall. During their walk, visitors are invited to recognise through the whispers of the rustling leaves notes of the music of Iannis Xenakis, famous student of the School. 

But beyond the juxtaposition of New Technologies and Man, existential anxieties play an equally important role in the work of Nikolas, as feelings and thoughts are perhaps the only things that still cannot be mapped out technologically, being unique for each human. This is fully illustrated in the sculpture Skepsis, where the visual type of the “Thinker” converses with Protocycladic sculpture. Nikolas’s thinker ponders the issues of our time in a rather philosophical mood, searching nevertheless for viable solutions, as the figure is ready to stand up and act. The artist is also very concerned about religion, as depicted in the work Genesis, where the birth of monotheistic religions is presented as a monumental mother-goddess with a baby in its arms. 

These works unfold the full spectrum of Nikolas’s references, which stems from the countries in the four continents where he has lived and travelled. Taking a primitivistic approach, he is inspired by the minimalist aesthetic of Protocycladic figurines (see Cyclops and Janus)as well as the dynamic movement of Minoan sculpture and the art of indigenous peoples. Moreover, his stay at the cradle of ancient civilizations, Middle East, has enriched his artistic vocabulary with new elements, as it can be seen in the figure of Genesis, the head of which relates to the eye idols of Tell Brak.

In the exhibition SKEPSIS Nikolas’s sculptures invite the visitor in an intellectual walk around the gardens of Anargyrios and Korgialenios School of Spetses, triggering sensual and mental ventures that aim at a different contemplation of oneself in the future, in this historical space that in the past was a hive for many of our country’s scientists. 

Annita Apostolaki – Anastasia Manioudaki, Art Historians

[1] Main character of the novel Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley. 

 Artists of KAUST 2020
KAUST, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 03.2020
NWA Gallery
 Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 10.2019
Artists of KAUST 2019
KAUST, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 03.2019

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